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A mini slice of Japan

By DeVERA HENDERSON, Staff Writer

MMCC’s Japanese Cultural Club’s trip to Saginaw’s Cultural Center and Tea House Sept. 22 was more than an education. It was a gastronomic delight and a shopping adventure as well,  with a visit to Hello Sushi Japanese restaurant, and a side trip to the East Side Oriental Market in Saginaw.

The conclusion of the Tea Ceremony presentation. From left to right, the Japanese chestnut cookie and sweet azuki (red bean) cake, and authentic hand-whisked green matcha tea. Photo by DeVera Henderson.

The Tea House offers a variety of services including an authentic tea ceremony presentation, which is served alongside a delicious sweet Japanese green matcha tea. Origami-making sessions also are available, and their annual festival attracts attendees from all around the state.

The presentations can be scheduled or attended on the second Saturday of every month, except in December due to the weather. The center is absolutely gorgeous and handcrafted by Japanese artisans. After enjoying the beautiful decorative building, take a tour of the stunning garden free of charge.

Only good things can be said from those who had the opportunity to go this year! According to Japanese Cultural Club vice president Trisha Cook, a great time was had by all, and she can’t wait for the next event.

“It was a great experience, the tea ceremony was amazing to watch,” Cook said. “I felt honored to have the chance to be present during such an event, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to go because I know that we wouldn’t be able to get the experience in Mt. Pleasant. I especially enjoyed learning about the history of the Tea House and about our sister city in Tokoshima, Japan.”

Cook noted that there will be other events that the Japanese Cultural Club will have open to the public throughout the semester. “Unfortunately this is the final group trip to the Tea House this semester, but there are a few more big events scheduled for this year, along with our regular meetings that are open to everyone,” Cook said.

Central Michigan University student (left) and Japanese Cultural Club PR Chair gazing at each other through Japanese-style statue.

This year the Japanese club also had some attendees from Central Michigan University.

“It’s a real treat to have such a relaxing experience of Japan so close to home, and it’s definitely something everyone should have the opportunity to experience,” said Ebony Harris, a visiting Central Michigan University student. “I will definitely go next year and am really looking forward to attending the festival next year!”

All in all, with the great weather, inspiring ceremony, fantastic lunch, and a shopping trip with a Japanese theme, the trip was a hit and many are looking forward to the next.

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