Before visiting the Hakone Japanese Tea Gardens, I had never seen a traditional tea ceremony. Everything was really simple and elegant. As you enter the tea house garden, you forget your outside worries and clear your mind. You clean your hands with fresh water from the bamboo pipe, take off your shoes and sit on the mats in the tea house.
There were only six of us, so two people we didn't know joined us. They turned out to be our tea-lady's husband and son, coming to see her work for the first time. They were so cute! Her husband had a little camcorder and her son just made the sweetest little faces as he watched his mama.
The tea is reallllllllly bitter. Before you drink any, they give you sweets to have sugar residue in your mouth, but it doesn't help all that much. Although I'll need a lot of time to get used this kind of tea, the tradition is really beautiful.
Oh yeah... and then we got to wear kimonos!