Larissa Barth: 茶道 (tea ceremony)

Through my CIP, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn the art of 茶道 (tea ceremony) from Fujimura-sensei, who taught us not only the complex movements of the ceremony but also the spiritual and cultural background behind them, such as wabi-sabi, Shinto and Zen, Shu-Ha-Ri, and yin/yang. Through the ritualistic sequence of the tea ceremony, we learn to let go of our thoughts and pay attention to our senses, and ultimately to approach daily life with a similar attitude of care and mindfulness.

In addition to our regular practice at the beautiful 茶室, Fujimura-sensei was also so kind to take us on various cultural excursions, such as a plum blossom night light-up at Kitano Tenman-gu, seeing the sunrise at Ise Jingu, morning and night meditations, and attending an お茶会 at Heian Jingu while wearing kimono.


Through this CIP, I gained a much deeper understanding of Japanese life and culture and made so many wonderful memories. I am very grateful that I have been able to learn from Fujimura-sensei and really don’t think I could’ve chosen a better CIP! I would recommend it to anyone, particularly if you are interested in traditional arts and philosophy. The only consideration is that because there’s a lot of difficult vocab, it’ll be helpful if you’re fairly proficient in Japanese, especially listening-wise.