London Japanese Tea Party – 26th September, 2013

Obubu is finally in Europe! Year by year Matsu-san used to go to the US. This year we have the UK, Hungary, Germany and France in the plan with London as the first stop.  A trip across the world in 14 hours with luggage full of tea and tea ware and we got to London.  London`s first gift, though, was thousands of stairs in the underground for tea to travel up and down. But hey can there be too much of good exercise?

As an opening of our Euro Tour we had a Tea Party in London. Hosted by the Japan foundation the event took place in the Russell Square right in the centre of London. Having been told that the conference room can have 100 guests, we thought it may be too spacious. It turned out to be exactly the right size, to accommodate 35 guests and create a cozy atmosphere. With student helpers Michie and Saya from Universities of London Japan Society all the set up was finished well in time and we were ready to start as scheduled at 6pm. It was very fun to see that the event brought together a wide range of audience: from academics and students to writers and tea industry professionals, everyone curious to learn more about Japanese tea culture.

Say, why Japanese masters are only men, we got asked. Lately the situation is changing and more woman take on mastering the art of tea.  The number may still be small and looking historically it can be well seen, because traditionally Japan was quite hierarchical society with samurai class at the top. Tea ceremony was an important ritual for the higher classes, and tea master was considered a very responsible role limited to men.
Also what about water in the UK we got asked. To us it seemed that the tap water in the UK is not too hard and fine to drink, so we used it for making the tea during the event. If you want softer water you can filter it. If you have a moment of time and a creative spirit you can even make your own filter. All you need is ion exchange resins that collect calcium and magnesium from water.

Two hours of presentations and casual chat went without noticing. A lot of tea, many questions as well as meeting old and new friends made the event memorable.  The guests seemed to have enjoyed the event too. Michie, ULJS committee member said: ‘We completely fell in love with Obubu’s ethos and vision’.

A big thank you to Junko-san, Paul an Yui-san from the Japan Foundation for helping in organizing the event, as well as to Michie and Saya from the ULJS for translating and helping to serve tea during the event. Now off to the next place. Keep an eye for updates.

Posted in World Tours.