SF State Students share Japanese tradition
November 17, 2006 8:15 PM
More than 30 SF State students took part in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony – a 400-year-old Japanese tradition – in HUM 117 Nov. 17. The tea ceremony was one of the last events held in celebration of the sixth annual International Education Week.
Two master of arts students, who are studying to become professors of Japanese, organized the tea ceremony. One of which was Yafuko Kurioka, 36, who said international education week is the perfect opportunity to share Japanese culture with as many SF State students as possible.
Kurioka also said that when she came to study in the United States, she “sort of” lost her cultural identity. For her, the tea ceremony is a time for reflection and an opportunity to get together with friends.
“The tea ceremony is about sharing,” Kurioka said. “It is a time to talk about Japanese culture with my friends and classmates, and it is very important to us.”
Japanese macha tea is a powdered green tea blended with water. It was served along with Japanese sweets and a short video on the history of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Bhavesh Patel, 33, a philosophy major at SF State, said he decided to come to the tea ceremony because he wanted to experience something new, without having to travel abroad. He also said international education week is important because, although there is a lot of diversity at SF State, there is still prejudice and intolerance.
“Education about other societies and cultures is critical,” Patel said. “Students should come out to experience a culture other than their own. The great thing about the tea ceremony is that it’s just a couple steps away from a classroom or dorm room, and it is really not that expensive.”
The tea ceremony is a spiritual and aesthetic discipline that has had a huge impact on Japanese culture. There are many different schools of tea ceremony, and most have a common theme. Chado ideals, for example, are expressed in four words – harmony, tranquility, purity and respect.
Tomoko Takigawa, 30, one of the hosts in Friday’s tea ceremony and a graduate student studying to become a teacher of Japanese, said she practiced tea ceremony for three years in Japan.
“This college has many international students and it is very diverse,” Takigawa said. “It is great to have the opportunity to share our culture with the campus community.”
Japanese Student Association President Ramon Mislang, 26, an international relations major who is interested in Japanese culture and language, said he is familiar with Japanese culture and knows a little bit about the tea ceremony, although it was the first time he had actually participated in one.
“SF State is an international campus and there are a lot of people from many different places, so it is important to share the culture and experience all of it,” Mislang said. “This aspect of Japanese culture is probably dying for young people to get involved.”
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