Glenwood Landing Students Participate in Japanese Tea Ceremony
By Shelly Newman
North Shore Schools, Glen Head, November 1 - On October 25th, Principal Bridget Finder and her students, faculty and staff of Glenwood Landing School participated in a special Japanese Tea Ceremony led by presenters Mrs. Toyomi Shibahara and Mrs. Hiroko Katsuyama, parent organizer Mrs. Hiya Fellows, and narration by Mrs. Lori Ikawa. This authentic, hands-on learning experience was held outside in the beautiful GWL Japanese Garden which was constructed over a year ago by the GWL Garden Club (and design team) under the direction of School-wide Enrichment Teacher Audra Marcantonio. She stated “Many North Shore parents and businesses also generously reached out to us by volunteering their time, expertise, money and services.”
“The Japanese Tea Ceremony is the harmony of nature and culture,” began Mrs. Ikawa. “It is a way to enjoy drinking tea while using customs from long ago. While traditional tea ceremonies are held in a special tearoom or teahouse; today we will demonstrate using a picnic style setting called NODATE. It is very important that you each remain calm and quiet, feel nature, and listen to the sounds around you.” The students were made aware of the sounds heard in the GWL Japanese Garden including the rustling of the trees and the water circulating in the pond.” The presenters and formal guests were dressed in traditional Japanese “kimonos” (着物).
Mrs. Ikawa added, “The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a fascinating and intimate custom. It is also an excellent way to examine different parts of Japanese culture such as calligraphy, flower arrangement, gardening, and authentic foods. The spirit of the tea ceremony is based upon four special ideas. Wa(和)”harmony” Kei(敬)”respect”, Sei(清)”purity” or cleanliness, Jaku(寂)tranquility. When we include all four elements, we can fully enjoy the beauty of simply drinking a bowl of tea.”
Mrs. Ikawa concluded by saying, “We hope all of you enjoyed the tea ceremony and learned something new about Japanese culture today. The Japanese Tea Ceremony teaches us something called “ichigo ichie” (一期一会), which means ‘try your best every moment’ and remember to enjoy your bowl of tea!”
Many thanks to Mrs. Toyomi Shibahara, Mrs. Hiroko Katsuyama, Mrs. Hiya Fellows, and Mrs. Lori Ikawa who made this such an authentic and wonderful learning experience for all of the students, faculty and staff who participated in the Japanese Tea Ceremony at Glenwood Landing School.
Photo Caption: Article by Shelly Newman with the assistance of Mrs. Marcantonio and Mrs. Ikawa. Photos by Deborah Leddy, Mrs. Fellows, and Shelly Newman