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Japanese-inspired afternoon tea party

Invite your favourite friends for an afternoon of simple sanctuary with our Japanese-inspired tea party.

Hosting an authentic Japanese tea ceremony takes years of study and dedication, and even to participate as a guest you must be knowledgeable of the prescribed gestures and phrases expected of you.

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

Equipment for an authentic Japanese tea ceremony is a long and expansive list. Instead, opt for some readily available items to place on your table:

Japanese-style teapot and cups. Note these sets will contain three or five cups, so be sure you have enough for your guests.

• A small lacquered tray for each guest containing an individual rice bowl soup bowl, small food plate, and chopsticks placed parallel with the table’s edge.

Page 1 of 3 — Learn how to set up the music and menu for your Japanese-themed afternoon tea party on page 2

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