The rite of Tea is perhaps the most compact microcosm of what makes Japan’s cultural traditions some among the world’s most extraordinarily refined ways of doing things – refined in the sense having shed values that cannot make sense to any outsider, once the function of those traditions has been briefly pointed out.
Japan’s culture is one that had, by the eighteenth century, acquired the world’s highest rate of literacy among women, developed the world’s most eco-friendly recycling-system, its best printing and lending-library industry, and its most health-supportive basic cuisine.
And, of the revolutions caused by any of the accession to total hegemony by the Tokugawa military dictators, the mid-nineteenth-century Westernization of Japan, or even the Allies’ post-World-War-Two Occupation, none has ousted the rite of Tea from its central place in the maintenance of traditional culture:
Buddhist priests (of both genders) and nuns practice it, geisha practice it, famous Japanese sportsmen practice it, desperately-lonely housewives practice it, LGTB participants practice it, little schoolchildren practice it – and all of these practicants unfailingly exhibit astonishing health and vitality.
It is an astounding thing with which to engage; and from its beneficent powers have we ourselves both gained massive psychological and physical support.
And we that, with both love for our guests and passion for what we thereby share, day after day run this Workshop, as our greatest hope sustain the wish that at least a little of so healing an effect may in turn reach you, our visitors to Kyoto.
Please come; and let us together share serious fun.