On Nodate: Open-air Tea Ceremony

Tea ceremony instructor reflects on the evolution of the Japanese tea ceremony.

WORDS BY ADAM SŌMU WOJCIŃSKI

TOKYO — PERFORMANCE — Issue 8

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The first Nodate, or open-air tea ceremony, goes back to tea’s origin story. Shennong, the ‘Divine Farmer’ of Chinese mythology, was trialling medicinal plants when leaves on burning twigs of the tea plant were carried up by the hot air of the fire, and landed in his pot of boiling water. Shennong cupped the brew from his kettle and took the first taste of tea: the beverage that would become a common meeting ground for all humanity.


Gathering around a fire to enjoy tea has been a human ‘ritual’ from time immemorial. But nowhere has tea been elevated to a true ritual status like in Japan. By the 15th century, tea...

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Photograph Courtesy of Adam Sōmu Wojcińsk

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