Saturday, 13 August 2011

tippling at the Japanese Teahouse

Finally did something today which I'd been planning for months. See, the Japanese Teahouse in the Englischer Garten in the heart of Munich has very limited opening hours. It's not a teashop actually, so I guess it's not so odd. Nevertheless, they're only open on the second weekend of each month (and I'm doubtful that they open through the winter).

I kept intending to go, and then promptly forgetting that it was the second weekend of the month till Monday morning. Too late. So each time this happened, I had to wait roughly another four weeks.

Before I go into my impressions, here's what Wikipedia has to say about it in the middle of their article about the Englischer Garten:

Japanese teahouse/Japanisches Teehaus KanShoAn

In April 1972, to celebrate the Summer Olympics of that year, which were held in Munich, a Japanese teahouse and a Japanese garden were created on a small island at the south end of the Englischer Garten, behind the Haus der Kunst. The pond in which the island is set had been created only a few years earlier, in 1969. The teahouse was a gift to Bavaria by Soshitsu Sen, head of the Urasenke tea school in Kyoto. Its designers were Soshitsu Sen and Mitsuo Nomura. A traditional Japanese tea ceremony takes place here regularly.

Here's what it looked like inside. My experiences in Japan were so intriguing. I only wish I'd been more into tea back then.

The overall sparseness and simplicity of everything is appealing to me. It's no accident. It's a crucial aspect of the tea ceremony in general.

The four principles of the tea ceremony are: wa-kei-sei-jaku, or harmony, respect, purity and tranquility respectively.

The tea we were served was a simple Matcha (what else?) and as much as I enjoyed it, I got the impression that some of the others there weren't terribly impressed.

The whole experience was like being magically transported to Japan. Although there was a German introduction and explanation about what we were soon to witness, the actual tea ceremony was entirely in Japanese. It was exotic as well as somehow calming.

As much as I'm a Westerner on the outside looking in at this, I'm undeniably intrigued and would like to know much more about tea ceremony. It's something I thought I'd get around to blogging about much earlier back when I started blogging about tea. Instead I was preoccupied with such important topics such as which tea I might drink with former French leaders like I did in Tea with Charles de Gaulle or even better what tea the infamous drink in Celebrity tea drinkers.

But here I am buckling down and attempting some serious tea blogging topics. Don't worry loyal readers. I'll get back to the frivolous soon enough.


  1. Very beautiful. I think this should be my introduction to serious contemplation of tea. Perhaps there is something similar nearby. *searching*

  2. I thought of you Shirley and your Ikebana when the woman explained the careful thought that goes into choosing the flowers in the room during the tea ceremony.