The first time I lived in Japan, I took classes in flower arrangement and Japanese dance. Upon hearing this, people would always ask me, “Are you going to take up tea ceremony, too?” Apparently these are the three Traditional Japanese Things young women learn.
Since I never learned to sit with proper posture and make polite conversation, the highly regimented tea ceremony never appealed to me. Then, after I returned to the Church, a Japanese Catholic friend asked me, “Did you know that the tea ceremony ritual was actually copied from the Consecration at Mass?”
“What?!” I said. That was a pretty wild claim to make about one of the quintessential Japanese arts, so after I got home I looked it up. Turns out, she was right, and you can read all about it here:
Francis Xavier’s feast day is December 3. For those of us who love our afternoon tea, it is a feast we should well note. For the world’s most civilized habit owes a huge debt of gratitude to Xavier and his Jesuit missionaries who traveled to Japan in 1549. Now, to properly appreciate this story, you …