This post is by Maggie Appel-Schumacher, a student in the International Education Program.
Sunday, May 25, 2014 was certainly the day to celebrate some of Japan’s remarkable traditions. Kyoto’s uniquely traditional atmosphere provided our group with a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and tradition beyond Sake making and the like. Today we learned the intricacies of dyeing cloth and serving Japanese tea in a Tea Ceremony.
But first, we visited one of Kyoto’s most noteworthy Zen Buddhist temples- Kinkakuji Temple. The Golden Pavillion with its surrounding gardens and tranquil pathways are representative of the pure lands of Buddha.
After our delightful walk through the temple grounds, we were introduced to a lovely form of Japanese art, traditional dyeing of cloth. Each group received directions on how to successfully create the pattern outlined for us. Through paints and brushes, we created our own souvenir to take home!
Next step, tea ceremony! Our groups were invited to the Kokoan Tea Room, where a wonderful woman (a tea master) guided us through the steps to successfully make and serve Maca Green Tea! Rachel was even allowed to make and serve tea to other group members, allowing us to dive into the tradition first hand!
After a day of experiencing traditional Kyoto we were back on the Shinkansen to Tokyo. Dinner was a first experience for most of us, we were guided into the basement of a shopping mall to find an “all you can eat in one hour” Korean BBQ place. Albeit untraditional, it was a unique experience to say the least. All of us ate enough to last us for the rest of the trip.
Our Sunday night ended on a perfect note after a smaller group of us decided to explore the region of Roppongi after dinner to find ourselves in front of the brilliant Tokyo skyline! Reality set in that this country filled with wonderful traditions alongside its contemporary innovative spirit.
To experience some of Japan’s most traditional cultural elements was a treat- we thank our Kakehashi guides and all who made this trip possible!