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Friday, April 8, 2016.
The Cup of Tea in Us

On the 7th of March, outside of the Kinokuniya building located in Shinjuku, I was having a matcha ice cream in the cold windy night. Usually people won't do that but I figured - I was not going to be in Japan all the time, and that was my chance. That was when I read the first few sentences from "The Book of Tea" by Okakura Kakuzō. The Japanese is a reading culture - when I rode the train, they did not talk. They either read or scroll their phones. When I had curry in a restaurant they had a shelf of books for the customer - and for solitary customers the book would be their companion. It is only natural that at the dessert store called Kino-Chaya to have displays of books sold in Kinokuniya itself. I only read a few sentences but I don't feel like I need to have the book. The next day the only thing I thought about was to actually get the book. On my last night in Japan I return and climbed the stairs of the building to the seventh floor to get the book.

This book is very refreshing to read. At first it sounded like a condemnation of the western culture but the clarification on the articulacy of the tea culture by the Japanese is very innovative to one's reading sense. Books like these give you a depth on the why something is meaningful - and will let you evaluate life in more than just one perspective. I have a lot of favourite quotes from this book alone, but I'll just state some :

“People are not taught to be really virtuous, but to behave properly.” 
“It has been said that man at ten is an animal, at twenty a lunatic, at thirty a failure, at forty a    fraud, and at fifty a criminal.”
“Perfection is everywhere if we only choose to recognise it.” 

I purposely got the bilingual copy because personally i find the Japanese kanji neat and pretty. They're not the same as chinese or korean  for sure. There are seven chapters in the book, and my favorite would be the first chapter ; The Cup of Humanity. It's just beautifully written in order as an introduction chapter that gives you a reason to continue reading it. It also connects a lot of the teaism with zen and Taoism and an intricate literature arguments on why certain things in teaism matters more than to the western way of thinking.

The book covers all the aspect in a tea ceremony and the environment - the tea, the flowers, the room, the tea masters and much more. It definitely gives you the in-your-face why a tea ceremony is a sacred ceremony, how the traditional puts more soul in their work compared to the modern, and you just feel like attending one of the tea ceremony!

It's probably one of the rare books that I will most definitely grab just to reread some wonderful things I've read once. Plus, I am a hardcore tea drinker - and I began to appreciate tea much more 
written @ 11:04 PM

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