[KHTS] – The seventh grade students at Sierra Vista Junior High School in Canyon Country got a taste of another culture on Thursday, as part of their world history class.
For the last 12 years, Sierra Vista has been hosting a Japanese tea ceremony for it’s students, where they taste traditional Japanese green tea and sweets and learn the culture and meaning surrounding the making and serving of tea.
Tea Master Fumi Akutagawa oversaw the ceremony.
She studied at the Edosenke school of tea in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, Akutagawa has also served as an advisor on Japanese culture in Hollywood, for celebrities like Madonna and films like “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
Julian Ely, advisor at the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, also attended the event.
Carol Hyland, another tea master, narrated the ceremony to students, emphasizing the need for silence and instructing students in the proper way to hold a tea bowl.
She explained that Japanese green tea is made from finely ground tea leaves that are whisked with hot water, unlike the brewed tea commonly drunk in the United States.
Hyland also said that tea was originally brought to Japan from China and that the tea ceremony goes back at least 400 years, a tradition practiced by the samurai, along with martial arts, poetry and flower arranging.
“They felt these things all required discipline and trained them and balanced their life,” she said.