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CITY ARTS

Virtues of Tea

April 04, 1993|IRIS YOKOI

The spring season in Japan is typically heralded by Hanamatsuri, or "Flower Festival," and one of the key rituals practiced at this time of year is the tea ceremony, an ancient art that promotes appreciation of nature and beauty.

Licensed expert Sotai Tabe will conduct a demonstration of the tea ceremony at 2 p.m. today in the New Otani Hotel's lobby lounge.

The tea ceremony, with its strict rules of etiquette, epitomizes the politeness that is a means of self-preservation in crowded Japan.

Rules govern how to brew and serve the fine tea, how to hold and admire the tea bowls, and how the guest verbally responds to the server.

The goal of the ceremony is contentment in one's lot and the teaching of the virtues of urbanity, respect, cleanliness and imperturbability, according to one published assessment.

The New Otani ceremony will be conducted in the misono-dana style, in which participants sit in chairs rather than on their knees on tatami mats. Guests will be served tea and small cakes typical of those served at similar traditional celebrations in Japan.

This event, one of the hotel's yearlong series of Sunday cultural programs, is free.

Japanese Tea Ceremony demonstration at the New Otani Hotel, 120 S. Los Angeles St.; (213) 629-1200.

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