Day 7. I was honored to be an invited guest to Yoshinoen’s monthly Cha-no-yu. All the guests are teachers of tea ceremony. The average age was probably 72. I was seated next to woman running the show. It was a little nerve wracking. Koicha, or thick matcha, was served with wagashi (tea sweets). Koicha uses the finest matcha made from the oldest tea plants and is made to the consistency of paint.   The bowl that the tea came in was then inspected and admired by everyone attending. It’s great to see the high level of interest in and knowledge in ceramics. Next, we were served usucha, or the popular thin and frothy style of matcha. More sweets were consumed. There was a running dialogue between the host and the main guest (the woman I was seated next to). The relaxed and social atmosphere made it easier to feel comfortable. I needed it as I was the only man wearing a kimono. After the ceremony we headed north to the Kyushu national museum to check out a little history of Kyushu island. Instead of showing you priceless artifacts from the beginnings of Japanese culture, I have included a picture of the coolest Starbucks I have ever seen. I love Japan.

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