KYOTO • Visiting Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, were yesterday hosted to a traditional tea ceremony by a Japanese grand master.
Dr Genshitsu Sen of the Urasenke Konnichian tea school in Kyoto gave Dr Tan a demonstration in the "chado", or the way of tea, during an hour-long ceremony.
The 93-year-old is the 15th grand tea master of the Urasenke, which is the biggest of the "schools" of tea in Japan, and is a direct descendant of the first Urasenke practitioner.
Dr Sen visited Singapore this April and held a tea ceremony at the Istana for Dr Tan and his wife to celebrate 50 years of ties between Singapore and Japan.
While in Singapore, he had invited Dr Tan and his wife to visit the headquarters of the Urasenke school of tea in Kyoto.
Dr Sen has, for the past 60 years, been promoting the chado by holding tea ceremonies around the world. He has described the chado as encompassing the values of harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity, which will lead to the attainment of "peacefulness through a bowl of tea".
Dr Tan, who is on a nine-day state visit to Japan ending on Tuesday, also visited the Kinkakuji Golden Temple yesterday afternoon.
The Kinkakuji, with its top two floors completely covered in gold leaf, is one of Kyoto's top tourist attractions. While the history of the Zen Buddhist temple dates back to 1397, the present structure was built only in 1955 after the original pavilion was razed to the ground by a novice monk.
Dr Tan returns to Tokyo today via the shinkansen bullet train to attend a reception for Singaporeans in Japan tonight.