Spreading cultural awareness through tea

Pi Delta Psi and JSA held a joint tea ceremony last Friday to inform and educate students.

Secretary of the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Yengcha Lee, teaches Social Chair of the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Zachary Keo, how to make tea at Bruininks Hall on Friday, Oct. 6. This was a tea ceremony event between the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and the Japanese Student Association.

Ananya Mishra

Secretary of the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Yengcha Lee, teaches Social Chair of the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Zachary Keo, how to make tea at Bruininks Hall on Friday, Oct. 6. This was a tea ceremony event between the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and the Japanese Student Association.

Kayla Song

Using traditional Japanese tea-making techniques, Pi Delta Psi carried out their mission to spread Asian-American cultural awareness to the University of Minnesota Friday.

The multicultural fraternity hosted a collaboration event in Bruininks Hall with the Japan Student Association to showcase the delicacy of making tea in the Japanese culture.

Over 40 people attended the ceremony to watch Pi Delta Psi Secretary and Cultural Chair Yengcha Lee demonstrate how to purify the tools, scoop the green tea powder into the bowl of hot water, whisk the tea and serve.

Pi Delta Psi reached out to JSA with the idea for the tea ceremony in mid-August, said Tuan Pham, President of Pi Delta Psi.

 Though he said he is in no way an expert on the process, Lee made sure to do research so his demonstration was as accurate as possible with the available equipment. 

“Tea ceremonies, they’re not really about drinking tea,” Lee said. “It’s about the aesthetics of it… The person putting his heart into the tea and making it for his guests.”

Making and serving tea is an art form, said Japan Student Association secretary Shinichiro Mikawa, an elementary education sophomore. 

Mikawa came to the U.S. for college from Japan, not sure what to expect in a new country. Since becoming a member of the board this year, he has found a community within the student group and a space to be himself.

“When I’m out here … I’m able to express myself,” Mikawa said. “Knowing that I’m unique and that I bring a difference every single day, and being able to be an enthusiastic individual, is a really big thing.”

He said the event gave a platform for the student group and Pi Delta Psi — a historically East Asian-based fraternity — to introduce the craft of making tea and showcase Japanese culture.

Pham said he has plans to work with more student groups to promote other cultures throughout the year.

Mikawa said he hopes the enactment helps people have a basic understanding of a tea ceremony seen in Japan.

“We’re just here to be a presence,” he said. “We’re just here to represent Japanese culture. It was a great way to be able to interact with [Pi Delta Psi].”