My flatmate had been studying Tea Ceremony for 10 years. I went with her to one of her lessons. On the way, we visited a tea ceremony shop, where she needed to purchase something  essential to her learning.

I was put well in my place by the shop owner. I observed the beauty of a drinking bowl and commented on it. He rolled his eyes and made it very plain I could not possibly know what I was talking about, as here, in his right hand, was a supreme example–smooth, delicate, pristine. The earthy irregularities of the heavier bowl I had found attractive. I saw and appreciated the qualities of both, but it was quite clear I was not even allowed to know. It was quite good, with my very limited capacity to speak Japanese, to be forced to not argue, but just observe.

The tea ceremony itself, however, was a very particular experience.