Hospitality remains one of Japan’s most chief cultural treasures that is given each day to guests across all service industries.
Renown worldwide for the warmness of their reception, many ponder what are the contributing factors that can permeate to construct such a society?
Hospitality like this, where one renders themselves so expressively for another, gained its start in the heyday of Tea preparation.
Rooted in ancient Zen philosophy, the principles of the intricate Art of Tea Ceremony have had an impact in shaping Japan’s warm guest catering culture with its niceties.
Pioneered by the 15th century Tea Master Sen No Rikyu, the Tea Ceremony is considered by the Japanese to have had the most profound influence on how to care for guests through a variety of philosophy learning, practiced behaviors, and diligent catering. The primary purpose of the Tea ceremony was to take care of and entertain guests that visited the castles of powerful politicians and samurai.
Incorporated into the act of Tea Ceremony, the philosophies of Wabi-Sabi represent the keys to the kingdom.
Wabi emphasizes simplicity which uses undecorated objects and architectural space to celebrate the mellow beauty that time imparts upon materials. In essence, Wabi represents the serene beauty of spirituality. And on the other hand, Sabi represents the outer or material side of life.
With each other, these two philosophies serve as a foundation for your intentions that you offer to guests – a literal porthole to spiritual acceptance between others through concepts of asymmetry, simplicity, modesty, intimacy – to make the guest feel comfortable. Wabi-sabi is a homage to the ideals that traditional Japanese beauty stands for that were served through poetic or subtle ways through the performance to guests.
The greatest touchstone of humility that the Tea Ceremony offered to nobility aided in developing an understanding who lost touch with the lives of the lower class, their own personal being, and other vast ideas that the Tea Master is responsible for imparting onto them.
Over time, the Tea Ceremony practice would grow and be available to families of the Samurai class which increased its popularity as a cultural entity among Japanese. And as time moved forward, the Tea Ceremony practices would become an accessible practice by the 19th century for the common folk, leading to the identity which we know Japan for today as a place of excellent guest catering.