Today was all about tea ceremony. The first thing we did was carry spring water from a shrine well. Dairik talked about how the ability to access clean water is an often forgotten blessing. I really enjoyed starting the morning on this note. He was very right in that collecting your own water or other resources can really make you appreciate their value more. I really like how Kyoto has access to such fresh water, because some of the “best” cities in the world can’t say the same.
My favorite part was visiting the sweets shop. It drew my attention to the fact that Kyoto is lacking in superstores like Walmart or Targets, but this is an amazing thing. It means that when you need something, you can go to a store where it’s produced by someone who specializes in it. This means that not only do you get to give your money to a local hardworking business instead of a massive company, but you can be sure that the product was made my someone who cares. Going to different stores for goods may seem tedious at times, but just like going to the well for water, it gives you a higher appreciation of what you consume.
Sweeping the tatami mats and wiping them down was also an eye opening experience for me. Kyoto is unbelievably clean, and the longer I spend here, the more I noticed the labor that goes into it. I’ve never really seen anyone wash a sidewalk until I came here. It makes a lot of sense and it’s made me appreciate the act of cleaning a lot more. It’s not about doing something because it needs to be done, but it’s the act of putting time and care into something so it can flourish. Cleaning the house is no different than caring after a child or a pet, because you should naturally want to care for something loved and valuable. I will definitely take this mentality back home with me and try to incorporate a higher attention to detail than I had before.
Overall, I’d say today was very eye-opening and introduced me to a mentality that I’ve rarely seen in America. It’s a mentality that goes well with my religious beliefs, which is fundamentally to appreciate and be grateful. I’m very glad I went on this trip and it really is surpassing anything I expected.