Japanese Influence is Global-Part 2-Tea

Japanese Influence is Global-Part 2-Tea

Tea was first brought to Japan by Japanese priests who had been studying Buddhism in China in 593 AD. It wasn’t until 1422- 1502 that Murata Shuko, a Zen priest,  created the first ceremonial tea ritual; elevating it’s status to a spiritual art form, almost a religion. This ceremony is called Cha-no-yu, meaning “hot water tea” and celebrates the mundane aspects of everyday life.

via Fog So Thick You Could Cut It With A Knife An excercise in aesthetic immersion…

According to Spacious Planet, the serving of tea in ceremony requires years of practice. Many traditional skills, besides the knowledge of tea, must be perfected such as incense, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono and shodou (calligraphy). For the host, the process of refining the tea ceremony is continual, one which may never reach perfection. Unfortunately, as with many traditions, the tea ceremony culture is changing in Japan.  

In thinking about Japan this week, and as a tie into the twitter conversation #JapanLife (which allows us bloggers the opportunity to express a passion for Japanese culture, and help raise awareness & aid for the plight of the Japanese people) I chose tea as a point of focus because after water, it is the number one drink in the world! I came across this fact while researching the topic of tea and came across The Meaning of Tea®.

The Meaning of Tea® project is an ongoing, tea-inspired journey that celebrates the history, rituals, spirituality and simple pure enjoyment of tea through the eyes of tea lovers from many places around the world. Their vision is to utilize tea and tea-inspired film, music, books, conversation and ritual to open the hearts and minds of those who seek fresh insight into the art of living authentically in today’s increasingly virtual society.

photo courtesy the Meaning of Tea web site

I purchased the movie. Just watching the sweet clips from the film inspired me to make myself a lovely cup of tea! It is these rituals, the ability to pause in life and enjoy simplicity and the mundane that has served the Japanese people well and allowed them to face this tragedy with more grace and generosity to their fellow man then we are used to here in the west.

Enjoy a Beauty Break with a cup of tea today!

I live in the middle of wine country. We are fortunate that in my small town of Graton, literally one block and a corner long, we have a fabulous tea bar called Far West Trading Co. I always recommend it to visitors who need a break from, or are looking for an alternative to wine, but still enjoy the ritual of tasting, learning and experiencing the many different flavors of tea.

To be able to stop in the midst of a busy day to enjoy a cup of tea is a Little Bit of Beauty™, a way to slow down, focus on the here and now and just relax!

Are you a tea lover? What do you do that is ritualistic and helps you to slow down in your busy world?  Leave a comment below, I always love to hear what works for you.

In the meantime,

click on the photo to add your candle for prayers for Japan

Click here to donate

Thanks for stopping by!




  1. quintessence 9 years ago

    What a lovely end to to #JapanLife. I love the concept and history of the tea ceremony and will be sure to visit The Meaning of Tea. And your shot at the end is lovely – how civilized – a lovely elegant ritual indeed.

  2. What a lovely post. I adore tea and have for years. I love it all oolong to white tea to earl grey, but the one tea I just can’t seem to get used to is lapsong souchong (forgive spelling if incorrect). It tastes of smoke and no matter the amount of honey it still is distasteful. I tend to drink black in the morning, green or white all day and end with herbal in the evening. I put on the kettle first thing in the morning…it’s a ritual for me as well!

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Lovely Danielle, you might really enjoy the movie The Meaning of Tea. I watched again last night with my husband and coming from wine country I have such an appreciation of the many different types of teas there are, the process of “tasting” them and the ritual of serving and drinking them! simply moving and very beautiful. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Alara Castell 9 years ago

    Wonderful post! I love tea. It really is my one getaway that I just adore. When I journal I make sure to have a warm cup close by. When I meet with friends I usually go to a tea place. I love visiting different tea houses. Love the photos. Beautiful! <3

    Alara K. Castell
    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide

  4. Kerry Hargraves 9 years ago

    I forget about tea for long periods. Then something will happen; we run out of coffee, I get sick, and I rediscover it. It’s been a while but as soon as I finish this comment I’m headed for the kitchen to see what I have tucked away and brew myself a cup of tea. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. A calming post, just like a cup of tea! I’m drinking nettle tea as I sit here reading blog posts. I don’t know how the Japanese tea ceremony corresponds to the Chinese tea ceremony, but I’ll be part of a Chinese tea ceremony at a wedding this summer. This post is a good reminder to learn more about this before the event.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    “My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me. Word maven loves—and learns from—ordinary life.”

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Isn’t it amazing Judy how we sometimes need to be reminded to slow it down? And yes, tea is a great way to do so!

  6. Laurie Hurley 9 years ago

    I drink green tea cold – go figure, no sweetener or ice. When we visited Kazahkstan, we had tea at every meal and it was a production! Not as beautiful as the Japanese tea ceremony you describe. My Chinese daughter loves tea and has the palette to distinguish all different flavors, must be genetic. Funny, but warm tea only appeals to me when I am sick. I’m not a coffee drinker, either. Hmm!

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      I don’t think it really matters what we do to slow down Laurie, as long as we find a way to pause through out our day. I am fascinated by the idea that your taste palette may be genetic. Hmmmmmm….lovely to contemplate

  7. Robbie Schlosser 9 years ago

    Hi Irene,

    Lovely! I seldom drink tea — coffee is easier to prepare, and I guess that’s the deciding factor. Something tells me I need to pause more often, take the time to conjure up a cup of tea and let my life become a bit more tranquil.

    My most reliable “slowing down” ritual seems to be getting immersed in the New York Times every Sunday morning.

    I visited London once and enjoyed “high tea” somewhere, but I’ve never experienced a tea ceremony like you described. Sounds wonderful, so now I’ll be on the lookout for one…


    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Robbie, you are exactly right. It doesn’t really matter how you do so, but slowing it down is a GREAT thing to do, many times during the week, even the day! You need a Sunday NYTimes every day.

  8. What an inspirational post Irene! It is a nice reminder that tea is more than just medicine, or a flavored drink.
    The ritual I usually have around tea is waiting for the kettle to boil so I can get going!
    Now I’m inspired to take a little more time with it. A recent purchase of some green tea pearls and loose leaf white tea might be just the start I need into my own tea ritual.

  9. Susan Berland 9 years ago

    What a beautiful reminder (and I need them constantly!) to slow down, to stop, to breathe. The pictures themselves are so calming and peaceful. Just the 90 second video was calming. Thank you for the mini-break in my day. It was lovely.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      I’m glad Susan, and thank you for taking the time to stop by!

  10. Fiona Stolze 9 years ago

    I’m a great tea lover and being a Brit, that’s not hard. I used to drink lots of black tea in earlier years but found as I got older that I couldn’t stomach it any more. For a long time I have just drunk herbals and fruity teas. I occassionally drink jasmine green tea but prepared the proper way.

    I’m always amazed at the way people in the West throw green tea in the pot, cover it with boiling water and brew it up just the normal way.

    Many years ago I was taught the Japanese way. To only heat the water to 80 degrees, put the tea in the water for 1 minute and then take out to remove the tannins. Pour the water away and put the tea in the fresh water, allowing it to brew for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. This produces a tea with not only a delightful taste but also a beautiful colour which is aesthetically pleasing to drink. I love to make tea in the teapot, put out the good cups and some cake and biscuits on a nice plate and serve afternoon tea.

    Thanks for your lovely post Irene.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  11. Louise Edington 9 years ago

    Another brit tea lover here – black and green tea for me. Love tea and think I shall go and make myself some now. My slowing down is my recent uptake of meditation – I wonder why I took so long to start! Lovely post as always Irene.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears Over Fifty

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Meditation is great Louise. I’m a meditator except when I don’t. Sometimes ritual like the tea ceremony become a meditation. What ever works is what I say!

  12. Maridel Bowes 9 years ago

    After a lifetime of being an avid coffee drinker, tea has become very special to me in the last few years. (Though I still have a cup of java in the morning!) I turn to it in mid-afternoon for a soothing lift and refreshing companion. In addition, my younger son is a tea enthusiast and has introduced me to The Tao of Tea here in Portland as well as to some tea ritual in his home. More recently, I’ve been sharing my favorite tea with my young granddaughter and we’ve developed a kind of ritual of our own with her sipping from my tea canister — as well as planning to choose a tea set together to keep at my house for tea parties. Thanks, Irene, for bringing to our attention the far-reaching life and effects of tea emanating from the Japanese culture. I resonate to the idea that a cup of tea, in all its simplicity, celebrates the mundane, but ever so tender, aspects of life.

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Me to Maridel…play with my grand daughter (18 months) tea party with a tea set I gave her for Christmas. She truly loves it! and it’s a wonderful way to spend time together. I think she’s a bit mixed up though because she likes to do “cheers” with her tea cup…very cute!

  13. Pat Zahn 9 years ago

    I love tea and this reminded me of a British friend who no longer lives near me. When our kids were in preschool we carpooled and would end up a lot of days visiting and “taking tea.” There is something so calming and social about the making of and drinking of tea. It’s a more manual process than making coffee and depending on the method takes more time and care (and when you think about it, we don’t have coffee parties as children, we have tea parties.) Also reminds me of the book series, #1 Ladies Detective Agency; I got into Red Bush tea because of that series – the ritual of the tea permeates the stories.

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      I LOVED the “1 Ladies Detective Agency book series Pat…and the TV series was really well done. Now that I’m thinking about it I may have to do a blog post on it. GREAT color usage in the shows and as lovely as the books! Thank you for the reminder

  14. Donna McCord 9 years ago

    So much beauty in the Japanese culture and I have always loved the ceremony of tea time and all that goes with that ritual. I tend to go through periods of time when I drink coffee and then get drawn back into drinking tea…when my daughter was little we started the tradition of going to Lisa’s Tea Treasures for an afternoon of tea and tea sandwiches before the beginning of each school year, and we have done it even throughout her college years. Now that she is graduating, we will have to decide on another way to continue our tradition. I have a lovely collection of tea pots and tea caddies that has grown over the years; one of my favorite possessions is a set of tea cups that I inherited from my grandmother. Thank you for your post and the gentle video that brought back such nice memories for me!

  15. CARRIE HANSEN 9 years ago


    Such a beautiful post. Thank you so much for putting so much time and effort into the #JapanLife initiative!

    Carrie Hansen

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      It was my pleasure Carrie, and a great initiative it was!

  16. Darcie Newton 9 years ago

    The moment in the video when you see the calligrapher writing from afar and see the koi swimming so gracefully by will be the picture that pops in my head every time I slow down and enjoy a cup of tea.

    A thoughtful and calming post…thank you.

    Darcie Newton
    Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins and memorable necklaces

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      yes Darcie, the video works for me to remind me to slow it down™ too. I love the man who talks about the beauty of the sunset, and notes that dusk is now approaching. I love those analogies!

  17. Truly beautiful culture!! I love that they take the time for such elaborate tea ceremonies

  18. Julie Labes 9 years ago

    They have a Japanese tea ceremony here in WPB at the Morikami museum. i have never been but your post has inspired me to visit

    I take a cup of tea with me to bed every night, It really helps me to wind down and relax and helps me to sleep.

    Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Slow it down™ is my new url and mantra Julie. I’m glad to hear that you already know to do that. thanks for stopping by

  19. Laine D 9 years ago

    Irene – As a tea lover I ‘loved’ your post on Japan, particularly the portion about shodou and the potential passing of the tea ceremony culture. I’m British but was lucky enough to travel with the military to the Orient – Singapore and Hong Kong as a child and to Korea and Japan as an adult. I’d have to say East Indian or Ceylon Tea is my favorite to drink but since every aspect of the Japanese ceremony is taken to an art form imbues it with that certain spiritual and tranquil beauty.

    Thank you for sharing the touching candle lighting link in support of the Japanese people.

    I’m off to warm the teapot for Cha, though not chadō (Cha-no-yu).


    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by Laine, and for signing up. So glad you made your way to the candle lighting link. I love that site and light candles often for our earth and those of us inhabiting her. Have a great week-end

  20. Brandy Mychals 9 years ago

    Love tea…not very ritualized in my practice, but guess it is a bit of a routine…every morning 🙂 Love decaf Chai…makes me feel good!
    Brandy Mychals
    Speaker, Author, Communications Coach
    Creator of the Character Code System

  21. Alicia Dunams 9 years ago

    Thanks for this post and slowing me down a bit! My mom is British and always has her cup of tea in the morning. A few years back, I visited the Darjeeling region of Indian – which was a wonderful experience.
    I’m not a hot tea drinker – I prefer ice tea. Is that an American thing?
    Alicia Dunams
    Speaker, Author, Self-Publishing Expert
    Creator of Bestseller in a Weekend

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      yes, ice tea is primarily an American thing, recently adopted and adapted in Japan as bubble tea which is making it’s way back here! But slowing it down™ is a universal need and it doesn’t really matter how you do it or what you use.
      I can’t wait to go to India myself!

  22. Yvonne Hall 9 years ago

    I reach for coffee before tea — much less healthful. But have en entire tea section in the cupboard as well. But as I sit here reading your blog with a chill in my air and invading my body … I think I’ll go make myself a cup of cinnamon tea … with milk of course;) Thanks for the warmth.
    Yvonne Hall

  23. Molly Perry 9 years ago

    I have been a lover of tea for many years! It helps warm me up on cold MN days. I really enjoyed the beautiful pictures.

  24. Vernell Perkowski 9 years ago

    Howdy blogger, thank you for providing this article.. I found it first-class.

  25. Eswaran 9 years ago

    This article was superb . Im a huge fan of Ceylon Tea . as well as a one of leading manufactures in the country . This article was so interesting for me . I really enjoyed it . Thank You .

  26. kitchen 9 years ago

    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but at last decided to show my admiration of your work!Thumbs up, and keep it going!Cheers.

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by! Glad you like what you see. Cheers!


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