Scientific research is increasingly pointing toward the health benefits of drinking green tea but this beautiful little book by Noriko Morishita (translated by Eleanor Goldsmith) is not about that, it is about the lessons the author learned from studying the Japanese tea ceremony for more than 25 years, since she was twenty years old.
It was surprising to me that learning a traditional ritual of brewing and serving tea that for the untrained eye may not look complicated is so nuanced that even after 25 years of study, Morishita considers she still has more to learn.
Morishita says, “I enter a quiet room overlooking that garden to kneel on the tatami-covered floor, boil water, whisk tea, and drink it. And I simply repeat that process – again and again.” As she learns more about the art of the tea ceremony including every tiny detail like how to wipe the utensils and the exact hand movements, we see how the lessons play into Morishita’s life and that really is the delight of the book.
Practising the tea ceremony is akin to living mindfully, to noticing the natural world around you, to meditation and self-acceptance, it teaches perseverance, slowing down in our fast-paced modern world, always striving for excellence and humility.
This is a little gem of a book and I recommend it if you feel like a gentle but entertaining read.