I swallow nervously. It’ll be my turn soon and I can’t remember whether I should turn the bowl clockwise or anti-clockwise. I’ve also forgotten the phrase I’m supposed to repeat back to the pourer and exactly how and when I have to bow. The expectant eyes of our hosts – two immaculately dressed Japanese women are following the bowl around the room and I’m starting to sweat.
Supposedly, samurai warriors would sit down to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony to relax before going into battle. The precise movements and etiquette of this highly ritualised process would help them focus their thoughts and calm their minds.
When the bowl reaches me, I’m feeling about as relaxed as a cornered meerkat.
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