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Tea, the national beverage of Japan, is enjoyed in many ways, either as a casual drink at home or within the special atmosphere of the tea ceremony.
The home of tea cultivation in Japan is Uji, near Kyoto, but the majority of the crop (about 60%) now comes from Shizuoka Prefecture. There are many grades of Japanese tea, depending on the size and quality of the leaf: Bancha made from large, coarse leaves is the everyday variety. Sencha is a medium-grade tea with delicate flavour and attractive colouring. Tea for the tea ceremony is made from finely powdered leaves of the very highest quality and delicacy.
The tea ceremony (S-8-1), is a formal occasion based upon deep spiritual values: harmony, tranquillity and purity of spirit. These values are achieved by devoting one's whole attention to the simple act of making tea.
The procedures involved in various types of tea ceremony have been laid down over the centuries by great tea masters such as Murata Shuko (1422-1502) and Sen no Rikyu (1520-1591). Nodete, for which the utensils in the capsule are intended, is an open-air tea ceremony characterized by relative informality.
The making of everyday tea (S-8-2) is informal but it is still done with care. The water is allowed to rest after boiling; the tea is allowed to brew for only a short time (compared to Indian teas) otherwise it becomes bitter. Japanese tea is a refreshing drink with a pleasing colour and it is an important source of vitamins A and C.
The contents of this site are excerpted from THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF TIME CAPSULE EXPO'70(March 1975). Please note that company and organization names may differ from those of the current ones.
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