KYOTO - A Japanese tea grand master hosted a traditional tea ceremony for visiting President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, on Saturday (Dec 3).
Dr Genshitsu Sen, of the Urasenke Konnichian tea school in Kyoto, gave Dr Tan a demonstration of the 'chado' - or the 'way of tea' - during the hour-long ceremony.
Dr Sen, 93, is the 15th grand tea master of the Kyoto school - the biggest of the 'schools' of tea in Japan - and is a direct descendant of the first Urasenke practitioner.
He visited Singapore in April this year, where he held a tea ceremony at the Istana for Dr Tan and his wife to celebrate 50 years of bilateral ties between Singapore and Japan.
While in Singapore, he invited Dr and Mrs Tan to visit the Urasenke Konnichian, which is the headquarters of the Urasenke school of tea.
Dr Sen has for the past 60 years been promoting tea through holding ceremonies around the world, so as to impart the spirit of the 'chado' way - encompassing the values of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility - of attaining "peacefulness through a bowl of tea".
Dr Tan, who is on a nine-day state visit to Japan, will visit the Kinkakuji Golden Temple later Saturday afternoon.
The Zen Buddhist temple's top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf and is one of Kyoto's top tourist attractions. It dates back to 1397, though the present structure was built in 1955 after the original pavilion was burnt down by an arsonist.
Dr Tan will return to Tokyo on Sunday via the Shinkansen bullet train to attend a reception for Singaporeans in Japan.