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  • Elisse Carma

Ajisai Tea Ceremony

Woman dressed in Kimono

This summer I had the opportunity to shoot a new kind of Day In The Life session.

Woman getting a Kimono tied

My good friend Brittney, who was also my next door neighbor in Nagoya, asked me to document her day as she performed her last tea ceremony in Japan before moving home to the states.

Woman getting her kimono tied by another woman

(This is Brittney above^^).

Woman in a tatami room dressing in Kimono

I was really excited about this opportunity, even though it would be in the middle of our moving madness, just two weeks before our departure from Japan.

Brittney preparing tea materials

I was thrilled to try something new, something uniquely Japan, something important to a few good friends of mine.

Hot pot of water

Tea ceremony is a very important and unique experience in Japan, a tradition held dear to them which has lasted for many many years.

Brittney preparing for tea ceremony

Japanese women study for their whole lives to perform tea ceremony.

Erinn walking with her tray of tea

My expat friends had the opportunity to study with their wonderful sensei, Noriko, to learn tea ceremony performance.

Woman waiting to serve tea

Many of these expat ladies are friends of mine, and they all helped serve tea ceremony and most dressed in kimonos they made themselves. Or, I should say, many of these expats were dressed by Japanese women in the kimonos made with Noriko's help.

Woman serving tea at Ajisai

Three of my friends were able to perform in the June Ajisai tea ceremony. They had reached the point in their study where Noriko felt they were ready to perform--a huge honor.

Two women outside in kimono

I absolutely loved documenting them dress in kimono, serve tea, perform tea, and interact with the guests and each other.

Woman serving tea for Ajisai tea ceremony

The ambiance was so unique and beautiful. From the ajisai (hydrangeas) to the old tea house to the calm water and lily pads to the koto music... It couldn't be more beautiful.

Sensei smiling about her students' performances

Erinn smiling after tea ceremony

Lunch time, Brittney opens a gift

Brittney and her friend laugh together

Brittney displays the tea cup

Brittney and her sensei bow

Erinn emotional after her ceremony

Erinn and her friend in kimonos

Carissa stirs matcha tea

Carissa smiling

Brittney performing tea ceremony

Brittney gets emotional during her speech

Erinn and Carissa smile at each other

After tea ceremonies, the women give gifts

The performers give gifts to their teacher

I hope to return to Japan to document more tea ceremonies in the future, and I'm so grateful that Brittney and the others wanted this beautiful day documented!

Brittney and her sensei

Here's the slideshow:

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