By Ayako Terui
The idea of a tea event was born when I heard from some friends that they like matcha (green tea) flavoured snacks, and introduced them to the Japanese tea ceremony. However, I was also interested in the British afternoon tea, and the diversity of tea cultures which are seen in the world. Therefore, I decided to organize an international tea time event in which people could share selections of tea and snacks from their cultures with Ustinov’s multinational community and learn about each other.
At first, the community room was a bit quiet as many of the participants did not know each other. Yet once the brief presentation of tea and snacks was finished, the conversation never stopped, even after the end of the event. What I was interested in was a Taiwanese tea called ‘Oriental Beauty’, which both girls and boys are obsessed with, and an Indonesian-Dutch snack called ‘Kaasstengels’, a sort of cheese cookie. Also, in addition to matcha-flavoured snacks, one of my friends showed us how to make Japanese green tea in a traditional way using a ‘Chasan’ (茶筌), a bamboo brush, to stir the green tea powder. Some participants tried to make it by themselves and when they tasted it, they realized that genuine matcha is really bitter. Matcha is getting popular because of its health benefits, yet I would say that the matcha latte that you enjoy at a café includes a huge amount of sugar!
This was the second GCP event I have organized. I was particularly pleased to be able to create a communication space with the participants. I have experienced managing projects and events before, but they tended to be individual preparatory tasks. I have now gained new insights into building up communities, which is the key to enable us to support each other, get out from our comfort zones and engage with other people. The event came together thanks to all the support from my friends who kindly prepared tea and snacks, and the participants – (we are all friends now!).