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Fortunately, most Canadians won’t mind if your Japanese tea party is just a simple afternoon of Japanese-inspired sanctuary. While this party plan we’re suggesting is far from a true replica of an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, there is enough detail to host a beautiful afternoon tea party with your closest friends inspired by the Japanese tradition.
Ideally, this party should be held in your garden surrounded by nature. If you don’t have such lush and expansive natural space, you can easily spruce up a balcony or patio with foliage – plants, flowers, or shrubs – to recreate a natural space.
It is Japanese tradition that your guests purify themselves before the tea ceremony by washing their hands and rinsing their mouths with water from a stone basin. Have a basin or large bowl by the patio or balcony door with floating flowers inside it. Either encourage your guests to dip a few fingers in or leave a noticeable instruction card. They’ll love this fun detail.
Traditionally guests then proceed through a flowerless, simple garden called a roji, or “dewy path”. Collect or purchase some small stones to create a short pathway. You can accent this path with simple mosses or herbs if you wish.
Guests traditionally sit in order of prestige, in seiza (kneeling) style. However, North American legs find kneeling for long highly uncomfortable! Be sure to have chairs with comfy cushions for your guests. If your guests are standing around, encourage prestige seating: the oldest and most accomplished person sits first.