My Graduate Career At Florida State University

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On September 24, 2014, I attended the first multicultural event of my graduate career at Florida State University. The Japanese Tea Ceremony was held in the Center for Global Engagement Auditorium from 5-7pm on a Wednesday. Upon entering the auditorium, I was handed a program detailing the ceremony format (Usu-cha Tana-temae). The program had three different types of languages displayed: English, Hiragana/ Katakana and Kanji. Having no prior knowledge of what a tea ceremony entails, I was excited to be a part of the experience. Prior to the formal ceremony beginning, the auditorium was alive with quiet chattering amongst the 50 patrons in attendance. The entire theater went quiet upon the dimming of the lights. The hostess, Mikiko Tanaka, entered the stage with a silent gentleness I have never seen before. Her stature was proper and she was dressed in authentic Japanese attire. Her formal guest, Genzo Tanaka was seated at a table on the left of the stage. For the next 30 minutes I watched, in complete silence save for a few short dialogue responses in Japanese between the hostess and guest, amazed at the grace and preciseness of the ritual. That silence, grace and preciseness was the first step outside of my cultural comfort zone during this experience. In American culture, rarely is anything quiet, delicate and precise. Observing Mikiko’s defined movements whilst folding her napkin, wiping the edges of the bowl, stirring the tea and turning it the three required
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