May 27 2010

Steve Tip 2 – Intentionality and a Japanese Tea House

Intentionality and a Japanese Tea House

The tea ceremony is the highest expression of hospitality. Kaiseki, its dining extension, is the most aesthetically refined dining there is. The aesthetic of the tea ceremony rests on Shinto’s pantheism, connecting man to nature and the seasons, pared to an essential Zen simplicity. Each element is highly symbolic. Life’s fleetingness is found in the delicate cherry blossom that bursts open in early spring and is gone in a few days. Tenacity is in the bamboo, which will bend, but not break. Life’s happenstance is held in the imperfectly fired tea bowl. In an aesthetic that celebrates serendipity, little is left to chance. The aesthetics of hospitality and dining are not the result of accident. At its best, hospitality is thoughtful and intentional.