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Students and faculty entranced by tea ceremony

Veronica Orozco
LV Life Editor

Students and faculty gathered together and joined the Japanese Culture Club to see world famous Kyoko Kageyama perform a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony April 18 in the Campus Center.

The ballroom was filled with curious spectators sitting in seats and some even lined up against the wall trying to catch a glimpse of this symbolic ceremony.

“I knew there were meanings and symbolism behind the ceremony but this just made me want to learn more,” Zandra Wagoner, University chaplain, said.

“I know how special tea can be and that it has a sacred quality in the culture but was never able to watch anything like this,” she said.

The night began with Gloria Montebruno Saller, JCC adviser, presenting a historical slideshow giving a bit of background about the tools used for the ceremony along with some of the meanings behind them and an explanation of some of the different customs and traditions of the ceremony.

“Every tea cup has its own imperfections and that is what makes it beautiful,” Montebruno Saller said.

“This ceremony is exquisite and every aspect means something, may it be the amount of tea or space left in the cup,” she said.

After her presentation, she introduced Kageyama, most recognized for her part in instructing and supervising the tea ceremony scenes in award winning film “The Last Samurai.”

The audience stayed in complete silence as Kageyama began the ceremony and time went on it seemed as if they were entranced by the process.

From the precise delicacy of turning the cups to adding the right amount of water, everything was crafted for perfection.

A translator was provided to help narrate each step of the process.

Former JCC president Erika Lozano volunteered as Kageyama’s guest to demonstrate how to serve tea to a guest.

“I loved learning more about the culture and experiencing it was so great,” Lozano, an international business and language major, said.

Lozano had previously seen a tea ceremony performed by geishas while on her January interterm trip to Japan.

Outside of the ballroom were tables filled with refreshments, beverages and Japanese pastries provided by both the JCC and the Bon Appétit.

The tasty Japanese treats soon ran out due to the audience members returning for seconds and thirds leaving behind the cookies the school provided.

The Department of Modern Languages and the JCC brought this presentation to the University and with the help of Montebruno Saller, they were able to have Kageyama come for the demonstration.

“We wanted to show people how graceful the process is and how meaningful it is in Japan,” Kimberly Navarro, JCC president and sophomore business administration major, said.

Navarro said the club looks forward to having this presentation again and was surprised to see such a turnout.

“I am happy to give another demonstration,” Kageyama said. “The students are really friendly and everyone was so focused and quiet.”

The JCC meets Tuesdays at 5 p.m. in the Chapel and meetings are open to everyone.

Veronica Orozco can be reached at veronica.orozco@laverne.edu.

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