I was a little on the late side to one of the tea ceremony demonstrations. Not so late that I missed any of the actual demonstration, but enough that I got kind of a lousy seat and couldn't see much. Not that there's really a whole lot to see if you don't know the significance of all of the things they do. Still, it was interesting to watch, and the guy MCing did explain some of what the two women were doing. They only did the final segment, the serving of "thin tea"; a full tea ceremony, which includes a small meal, sake drinking (the host shares a cup of sake with each guest—as the MC said, "one should be careful not to invite too many people!"), thick tea, and finally thin tea, takes about four hours! After the demonstraton was over, anyone who wanted to could sit at a table on one side of the room and be served a bowl of thin tea and a Japanese sweet. I tried it, and it was delicious. Tea ceremony tea is made by mixing ground green tea leaves with hot water, rather than steeping. Thin tea is just a more dilute mixture than thick tea, but both are much thicker than, say, genmai-cha. The MC, who was a student of the hostess performing the demonstration, did a Q&A with the audience. Somebody asked about water, and he said that the sites famous for their tea water in Japan are not springs, but places along rivers. He said that it seems water is prized not for its mineral content but for a lack of minerals. Well, I thought it was interesting anyway. On the way out, I saw the tail end of the wu shu demonstration (yeah yeah, wu shu is Chinese, but the group has a place in Japantown so they get a pass as part of the community).
Of course, I had to hit the food stands. Like the last time I went, the food concessions were all fundraisers. I got a teriyaki burger from the senior services group, which wasn't great (teriyaki sauce and mayo is just overdoing it on the glop, frankly) but wasn't terrible. There was a stand selling cold beer and hot sake again this year, and I got a cup of the latter. Mmmm, sake. Passed on the Zen temple's takoyaki. I've tried them before and they're just kinda bland with a sour-ish fishy sauce. Not my bag. The stand selling those little pancake thingies stuffed with bean paste was there again, and I got a couple. It was right next to the booze stand, and they announced last call while I was in line, so as soon as I got my beanie cakes I hopped over and got another cup of sake for half price. Mmmm, sake. Got back up to the peace plaza just in time to see the end of the S.F. Nipponto Society's sword demonstration. They actually did some tameshi-giri!
Browsed around the shops for a bit, and ended up buying a Domo-kun t-shirt and a couple of books from Kinokuniya. I also got tickets for the big taiko festival next Saturday. At the CDs-and-other-stuff store I got my spine mangled by a massage chair before taking off for home. I think I'll be back next Sunday—that's when they have the big parade (and the cosplay parade). Plus there'll be a kendo demonstration, which I'd like to see, because I'm always up for some swordplay. So if anyone in the area wants to meet up, the offer still stands.
Easter dinner was a delicious leg of lamb with roasted potatoes and carrots, and steamed asparagus. Dessert was spice cake with a honey-caramel glaze, and strawberry-rhubarb fool.
Life is good.