At the beginning of the new year we use to add a celebration to our first making of the tea. We like to add meaning to it, to put our hopes for the future, so we display in the alcove a special arrangement with symbols of long life, good fortune, and other things that invoke the protection of gods. The willow, the rice, the figs, ... and our scroll for today "Hon Rai Mu Ichi Butsu" - "At the origins there was the body of nothingness". We had attended a full "Chaji" (the meeting for the tea) with Kaiseki (special meal), sweets (sweets, Hanabira mochi, made by our special friend, honoured patissier Miyuki Do), and finally the green tea, matcha. Five people tried to prepare everything in the kitchen, although sensei did the whole job, six people enjoyed the meal, and everyone drank tea. Here is our story in images:
Hanabira mochi are one of the most interesting experience in the Japanese sweets, on my opinion. They are sweet, but in the middle sour. It gives a very good, whole taste. One of our students expressed it more intense: "The first bit was awful, the second one was absolutely divine, like nothing else in the world". It was her first time to experience a Japanese sweet.