Chanoyu Workshop at The German University in Cairo

After the move from Jordan to Egypt last September, it took a few months to start Chanoyu Arabia’s activities in Cairo.

The Applied Arts Activity Week at the GUC, was a great chance to introduce Chanoyu to the students.

With great help from my dear tea friends whom I met in Cairo, we were able to set up a tea room, suitable for the activity.

Colleagues and students were happy to get a taste of this inspiring culture.

The activity was held over two days, with people mostly sitting in as guests, and one student was eager to learn how to make tea by herself.

It was very rewarding to see the enthusiasm, and the keenness to learn precisely how to hold each utensil and handle it properly.

The student was able to learn bonryaku temae, and also the hirademae usucha.

It was great using both Japanese and Egyptian utensils in our first official event in Egypt.

“Sen Ri Dou Fu” meaning Same wind blows, even at a thousand miles, was the theme of our gathering, for it was the same wind that set sailed me from Japan to Jordan, and now even further to Egypt.

Our kind tea friends, with the keen student.

The guests enjoyed the sweets, the tea, and looking at the gorgeous kimonos.

Starting with the basic steps of learning chanoyu, such as folding the chakin, fukusa, and wiping the natsume and chashaku.

The first tea bowl.

One of our Japanese enthusiast colleagues enjoying his tea.

Thanks to all of those who came and enjoyed their time, and to all the friends who went out of their way to help out in this memorable event, that even after several months, some students express their desire in taking part in any future similar events.


“Handcrafted Form” at The Jordan Museum

Three months ago, we had the pleasure of concluding our tea events in Jordan, by taking part in a Japanese Handicrafts Exhibition, named “Handcrafted Form”.

The Exhibition was part of the inauguration of the Museum, which is part of the Tourism Development Project that is supported by Japan.

The tea event lasted for two days, with several sessions, where the guests learned a little bit about Chanoyu, and experienced a simple tea gathering.

The exhibition featured great examples of Japanese Handicrafts, which most of them were influenced by Chanoyu.

You can see the stages of creating an Oni Hagi Chawan, which was developed in Yamaguchi prefecture, the nearest to South Korea, by Korean potters who then taught Yamaguchi potters their technique.

The Mizusashi with the lacquered wooden lid is another example of Chanoyu utensils that were at the exhibition.

The tea room was right next to the exhibition hall, but in a more secluded and private setting, which enhanced the whole experience for the guests.

It was a great chance to experience hosting different numbers of guests at each session. From one guest to a full house. Each had its unique atmosphere.

Sharing tea with various people of different cultural backgrounds is always a muse to me. It gives Chanoyu great credibility in spreading harmony among different people.

A German group of friends enjoying their tea time.

One of the guests inspecting the Natsume which holds the powdered green tea.

People of all age groups were served a bowl of tea, with a little bit of info about Japanese Tea Culture.

It was very rewarding to see how people were eager to learn more, and make the best of this experience.

Having Japanese guests among the different nationalities, always provides a unique experience to the Japanese people, for they get the chance to see their culture reflected on other people, in a unique setting.

“The Cup of Humanity”

Friends of Chanoyu Arabia, who have taken part in many events, were happy to be there as well.

Those who had tea from a previous session, were still curious to sit and watch other guests have their tea.

The long black board “Nagai ita 長い板” is very convenient in such events, where the host can keep the Mizuashi displayed all the time, in the simplest way, without the addition of a display shelf.

Having an assistant host is very important when serving big number of guests, in a relatively comfortable time frame.

One of our special sessions hosted a big family of a Jordanian man married to a Japanese lady, who brought all their kids to take part in this experience.

Everyone enjoyed the tea, even the little ones.

Friends from the Japanese language course, as well from the Japanese Embassy were also present.

Some of the guests were keen to learn more about Chanoyu, and actually wanted to join the group, but unfortunately, this was the last event for the group before we moved to Egypt, where we will start a new chapter in Cairo.

The main guest has just had his bowl of tea, and passed the sweets to the second guest.

One of Chanoyu Arabia friends joined one of the sessions, and was very kind in helping the other guests. She had her small greeting fan, along with her utensils that each guest is expected to carry to any tea gathering.

Five people from five different countries, none of them is Japanese, yet all were sharing Japanese tea in Jordan.

Those who didn’t mind sitting on the tatami mats, were able to not just taste the tea, but also take part in the gathering.

Some of our guests came all the way from America.

Behind every successful tea event, there is a great team working in the Mizuya (preparation room).

It is vert important to keep the Mizuya clean and clear, for a smooth flow.

There was also some tea time for the Mizuya.

After the tea sessions, we concluded the day with a presentation on “Teaism & Japanese Crafts”, where the guests got to learn in detail about the relation between Chanoyu and the development of Japanese Handicrafts.

The main subject was about the ten craftsmen families in Japan, who have been working over several generations for the three Sen families of tea schools.

The first day closed on a high celebratory note, while the second day’s conclusion was more reflective and solemn, for it was the end of a year, full of great memories and events, that allowed us to share tea with many people, and hopefully left a lasting good impression.

I can’t thank enough all the people that helped us from the very beginning, and made Chanoyu Arabia a reality, my family, friends, great teachers, and all the guests who came and enjoyed their time, thank you very much.

It has been a great debut for an exciting journey, and we all hope to meet again in another time and place, and meet new people along the way, and spread harmony and peace, through this cup of humanity.
See you soon in Cairo.

Tea with “Children Without Borders” – 国境なき子どもたち “KnK”

With great excitement and enthusiasm, the Japan-related event the kids of KnK were waiting for, started with a captivating presentation by Tymoor-sensei, where he shared his experience and knowledge about Japan, and the Japanese language.

The kids were genuinely interested in the event, and were very interactive.

They explored several Japanese arts and games, and had the chance to learn and do many things first hand.

It was a great chance for Chanoyu Arabia to be part of this wonderful event, and share with the kids the unique taste of Japanese Hospitality.

The girls were a bit hesitant at the beginning, but gradually became more interested, and enjoyed the tea.

Some kids were very interested in the procedure of making the tea.

The calligraphy corner wrote the kids’ names in Japanese, which made it possible to call each kid by their name, and made the the atmosphere friendlier.

Some of the KnK staff enjoyed a short tea break.

Some of the kids were more patient and curious than others.

It is always a great pleasure to make Japanese people feel at home by having a bowl of tea with us.

The boys were very curious and eager to learn and try something new.

As with most kids, the cookies are the fun part, but surprisingly, many boys enjoyed the tea a lot.

Thanks to Chanoyu Arabia’s Team (Mariam-san, Jumana-san, Mo Rai-san, Musa-san, and of course our long-time photographer Tymoor-sensei who despite his busy schedule, managed to document this lovely event).

Thanks to all who worked on this event, and made it a memorable experience to all the girls and boys of KnK, whom we wish a bright and exciting future.

“Children Without Borders” Staff Gathering – 国境なき子どもたち “KnK” スタッフ茶会

A few days ago, we have had the great pleasure of hosting the wonderful local staff of the non-profit organisation KnK,  who supports underprivileged youth in Asia, by offering them educational programs and extra curricular activities.

KnK began operation in 2000, from their base in Tokyo, and in 2007 Jordan joined their network, and currently caters to almost 800 kids.

We were very glad Kato-san, the project coordinator, was able to feel the warmth of her home while enjoying her tea.

Our host, Mariam-san, proved to handle her first official Chakai very well.

The staff of KnK consists of teachers and social workers, who besides providing the education and activities to the kids, they also work on reintegrating the underprivileged youth into society.

This event was an introduction to a bigger two-day event, dedicated for all the kids, which Chanoyu Arabia is looking forward to taking part in at the KnK centre in Jabal Amman, on the 27th and 28th of June 2011.

Thanks to Kato-san for coordinating this event and introducing us to the wonderful staff, and thanks to Tymoor-sensei for coming up with the initial idea, and for documenting this event, and thanks to Mariam-san for her efforts and support.

Looking forward to meeting and sharing tea with the kids on the coming big event.

Incentive Tea Gathering for “Sitat Byoot”

“Sitat Byoot” is a group of women that work from their homes, by creating and selling various handmade products.

The founders of this group approached Chanoyu Arabia to host their incentive gathering, and introduce their members to Japanese culture, and the numerous crafts that involve Chanoyu.

It was a great pleasure meeting all those creative and proactive women, and see them absorb this new experience and learn a few new things, that hopefully would help them come up with new ideas for their projects.

After greeting the guests, and introducing Chanoyu to them, everyone was paying attention to the steps of preparing tea.

To our pleasant surprise, the main guest, by mere coincidence, had previously experienced Chanoyu, several years ago. She was very excited to try it for the second time, in this more elaborate setting.

With the great help of Mariam-san, it was possible to serve all the guests in a good pace.

This was the first official event that Mariam-san sat in as the host, and prepared tea for the guests, which made us very proud of her.

The guests got the chance to have a close look at the Natsume and the Chanshaku, which for them meant more than utensils, but rather handmade products, that showed the Japanese craftsmanship.

The guests were interested to learn the stories of the utensils, where and how they were made.

Thanks to “Sitat Byoot” for choosing Chanoyu Arabia for treating their members to this incentive tea gathering, and giving them this chance to explore this part of Japanese culture with us.

TEDxDeadSea CreativiTEA Room

On April 30th, TEDxDeadSea attracted over 800 people to inspire a new generation, by sharing ideas on Education, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

Chanoyu Arabia got the wonderful chance to be part of such a great event, and created the TEDxCreativiTEA Room, where it allowed people to experience Chanoyu, and also witness the complex and inspiring work of our Origami (Art of Folding Paper) prodigy, Musa-san.

While people were buzzing outside, the perfect setting of the Tea Room, allowed us to prepare for the scheduled guests, a nice and quiet experience.

The flower arrangement was made of Common Mallow (Malva) コモンマロ خبيزة, and Snapdragon 金魚草 فم السمكة, in a Bizen-ware vase.

The first session was relatively quiet, with three, but very harmonious guests, who made our start a very encouraging one.

The small number of guests at first allowed us to have them inspect the Natsume, and learn a few things about Matcha.

A bigger crowd joined in for the next session, and enjoyed taking part in it.

More people got curious to enter the room.They were greeted by the mind-boggling origami works of Musa-san.

The lovely space we were offered at the CreativiTEA Room allowed many people to be seated either on the Tatami mats, or on the fancy leather seats.

This particular group was one of the most memorable ones, for each and every one of them, were fully present with all their senses.

It was a great pleasure hosting them, and interacting with them in such a wonderful occasion.

They had a lot of good questions, and it felt that they all came in together as one big family, although it wasn’t for sure who knew who before the gathering.

Special thanks to each one of them. They really gave us a huge push, and made us enjoy every minute we spent together.

As time progressed, the number of guests grew bigger, which added more excitement for the whole group.

It surely was a great pleasure hosting familiar faces, and also some old friends, by mere coincidence.

It was a great privilege to have had the chance of hosting not only people from the audience, but also from the great speakers, and the helpful volunteers, who played an important role in this big event.

Some of the guests helped lighten up the atmosphere, which made each session a unique one.

The hanging scroll reads 松樹千年翠 (shouju sennen no midori) which talks about the beauty of never changing green colour, of thousand year old pine trees. A note to pay attention to unchangeable beauty, which is harder than appreciating the changing things around us.

12 guests on the Tatatmi, and several others on the seats. The Mizuya (preparation room) was on red alert.

During one of the breaks, our Origami prodigy offered to prepare tea for one of our distinguished guests, who surely gave us the rare chance of enjoying a spiritual and enlightening encounter.

Musa-san, carefully preparing tea from his memory, without any instructions to guide him.

A new session is about to begin.

In any tea gathering, the main guest is expected to entertain the other guests by creating a dialogue with the host, which would reveal some interesting information, and enlighten everyone in the room.

Another memorable session, that ignited several interesting inquiries, and therefore helped in making it a unique experience for everyone.

The previous event that took place recently, gave us the chance as a group, to train on serving big numbers of guests at the same time.

We were all very impressed with the patience and endurance our guests showed while sitting on the floor.

As the day was coming to an end, more and more people were seeking the comfort of drinking tea, in a secluded area.

Everyone made a tremendous effort in keeping the flow go smoothly, even when we were at full capacity.

A full tea day, from 10:30 AM till 8:30 PM, or what we would call a Matcha Marathon. 🙂

A wonderful experience, with magnificent team work, done with much love, dedication, and true friendship.

Thanks to the impeccable team: Eguro-san, Mariam-san, Mo-san, Musa-san, and our hidden knight Tymoor-sensei, for igniting the first spark that made this event possible for all of us. And of course for giving up attending any of the talks, to document with his lens such a memorable and unique event for Chanoyu Arabia, and be there for us, as always.

Thanks to TEDxDeadSea for organising such a great event, and letting us be part of it, in this delightful way.

Thanks to all of the TEDxVolunteers who helped us tremendously. We are very proud of you, and your promising generation.

Finally, special thanks to all who came, and made us feel it was worth all the effort, and hoping the taste of this experience still lingers on in your memories, and would inspire you in one way or another.

Charity Event with Jordan Scholarship Fund

On April 22nd, an outdoor charity event was scheduled to take place at the Japanese Garden in Amman, but due to the unexpected change of weather, the event took place at Chanoyu Arabia’s Tea Room.

It was an unprecedented number of guests to visit the room at the same time, but surely was a great pleasure to everyone.

A lovely mix of Jordanian students and Japanese professionals.

It was great seeing the guests feel comfortable as they were waiting for their tea session.

The Jordan Scholarship Fund is run by Japanese volunteers working in Jordan, who want to support Jordanian university students.

At the end of each session, the guests get to inspect closely the Natsume (tea caddy) and the Chashaku (bamboo scoop).

People enjoyed the warmth of the indoors, while it was cold and rainy outside.

Students from three different universities attended the event.

The main sweet was butter cookies with three flavours, the green was matcha, the beige was kinako (soy bean flour), and the grey had a black seed known as Nigella Sativa. The secondary sweet was Wasanbon that is basically Japanese sugar, moulded into shapes.

The Hanto (Assistant Host), helped in delivering the prepared tea and taking away the finished ones.

The Jordan Scholarship Fund group prepared some Japanese food for the guests.

While the host prepares tea at a normal pace for certain guests, the Hanto delivers the other guests, tea made by another assistant in the Mizuya (back room), so they wont have to wait for a long time.

Managing the flow so that the last guest has his tea, before the first one gets bored is very important.

All guests await the host to purify the Natsume for the second time, so they get to pass it around and look at it closely, along with the Chashaku.

The host makes sure the Natsume is clean from inside as well.

Sitting Seiza (sitting on the mat properly) is never an easy thing to do for an extended period of time, especially after the invention of chairs. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who came and supported this event.
Thanks to Jordan Scholarship Fund for asking Chanoyu Arabia to be part of this great event.
And thanks to our great T-sensei for documenting such wonderful gathering, and giving us the chance to share with other people, our joyous events.