Last Summer, I was invited, along with Canton founder Jennifer Wood, by The Japan Society and Japan House, to give a Genmaicha tasting at the Tanabata Festival. The event was hosted at Kew Gardens, and celebrated Japan's ancient summer star festival. Amongst the origami workshops, traditional tea ceremonies and vibrant theatrical performances stood a beautiful installation of an open weave tea room designed by renowned Japanese architect, Shinichiro Hashiguchi.
Shinichiro Hashiguchi is a Japanese born architect who places his focus on traditional Japanese crafts, whilst continuing to present the universally admired Japanese tea ceremony rooms. He has a number of great masterpieces, which reimagine Japanese traditions amongst contemporary technologies and sensibilities.
Catching the eye of many admirers was the architect's Open Weave Tea House, a beautiful tea ceremony room made using fine twisted thread strings. These strings are used in making fusuma (Japanese paper screens traditionally used in homes), and require a delicate craft, which has been carefully perfected over past centuries.
To make the tea room, a single thread has been strategically woven hundreds of times around a stainless steel frame. Not only is the structure admired for its intricacy and tension, but for its representation of the dedicated handwork and elegant craftsmanship that is present in much of Japan. These serene spaces, Hashiguchi states, also mirror the calming nature of tea.
At the Tanabata Festival, Canton's Genmaicha tea tastings accompanied Japanese tea ceremonies that ran throughout the day. Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese tea, with unique flavour notes of nuts and toasted rice. In the past, Genmaicha was only drunk in Japan by those who could not afford Green tea. However, presently it is enjoyed by all classes in Japanese society and even throughout the world. You can find out more about Genmaicha and the history of Japanese tea on our blog post.
We continue to host a number of tea tasting events across the country, previously working alongside Jo Malone and Petersham Nurseries. Find out more about our events.