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Japanese Tea Ceremony

Lego is an opportunity to learn about different cultures.
Some famous architectural structures I first learned about through other people's Lego.
This time I also used Lego to express the culture I want to convey.

I invite you to the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

About the Tea Ceremony

One of the main purposes of the tea ceremony is to provide guests with a taste of hospitality in an atmosphere different from that of everyday life.
And the place for this hospitality is a tearoom called "chashitsu (茶室)".

The Japanese tea ceremony has a long history, and Sen no Rikyu (千利休) was one of its leading figures.
He limited its size, the number of decorative objects, utensils and floral elements, and used simple materials. This new style of tea ceremony was named "wabi cha (詫び茶)", as it embodied the ideals of "wabi sabi (詫び寂び)" in the practice of tea.

Designing a Tea Ceremony with Lego

I have recreated the following elements of the tea ceremony in Lego and represented them in some pictures.

The tearoom is completed not only with a room for entertaining guests, but also with a path leading to the tearoom and a garden.

Guests entering through the gate are guided along a stone-paved path.
To prevent guests from going the wrong way, a lovely stone is placed on a stepping stone on the impassable path.

Further on, there is a sitting area where visitors can wait while gazing at the garden until they are greeted.
In front of you, trees, moss, stones, and stone lanterns are decorated, leading your mind to tranquility.

Finally, we approached the tea room.
There is a water bowl made of stone and ladle , and the guests purify their hands and mouth there before entering the tea room through a small entrance. This small, low entrance signifies equality and humility. This is because all people, regardless of social status or position, must bend and crawl equally to enter.

The first thing you see when you enter a tea room is an alcove called a "tokonoma (床の間)". There, hanging scrolls called "kakejiku (掛け軸)" with calligraphy and pictures are hung. There are also a flower arrangement.
The flowers are arranged in simple bamboo or unglazed vases, but the lack of flamboyant flowers in the garden outside makes them stand out as an eye-catching and chic presentation.

The guests sit beside the tokonoma.
A sunken hearth is placed in the "tatami (畳)" mat adjacent to the host's tatami, and the host prepares tea using water boiled in it.

The tea room has a door for the host to enter and exit, leading to the room, where the tea ceremony is prepared.
Utensils are also organized here.

Guests enjoy tea and tea-enhancing dishes and receive the best hospitality.

The process of my challenge

I wanted to reproduce as much as possible the important elements of a tea room, yet make it something that could be seen and played with.

Another challenge was to design a size that would fit the minifigure and fit on a 32 x 32 plate.
I began by determining the size of the tatami.
I was not satisfied with the size of the first tea room I built, so I went through a lot of trial and error to make it smaller.
Since traditional Japanese buildings have sliding doors for all entrances and exits, it was a challenge to incorporate them into a small tea room using Lego rail parts.

Once the building was completed, the garden was next.
There were many elements we wanted to place, but there was not much space left.
This problem was solved by lengthening the path from the gate to the high ground by adding a height difference from the gate. We also focused on the view from inside the tea house, resulting in a very nice garden.
We were also able to place stone lanterns of four different designs. Please look for them.

The tea master is dressed in a traditional dress "kimono (着物)". A way of sitting called "seiza (正座)" is also essential.
This time, I tried to reproduce its design with bricks as well.
I would be happy if such a minifigure is commercialized someday (lol).

In the end, I was able to complete this piece with 1969 parts.
When this work is commercialized, I would like you to invite your friends and family to play tea party.
Please become a supporter for this purpose.

And since there are many facilities where you can actually experience a tea ceremony at tourist spots in Japan, please incorporate it into your travel schedule if you have a chance to come to Japan. It will surely be a great memory for you!

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