Take It Slow
So I just returned from the tea ceremony room of my dormitory. I was spending almost an hour for drinking two cups of tea. When I was sipping at my first cup, I was thinking, “Seriously, one hour for thing that I usually do in a minute or two?” But then, seeing the patience and genuine acts of the two Japanese women who demonstrated the tea ceremony, I slowly changed my mind. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to emphasize here: slowness. (Since I didn’t want to disrupt such elegant ceremony by doing casual things such as taking pictures, you can read about the details of the ceremony here)
Japan is not a strange country, especially for Indonesia. Some say Japan is one of Indonesian’s ex colonizers, some say they helped Indonesia achieving liberty, being released from another colonizer country, Netherlands. (Click here for details) But most Indonesians’ jargon about Japan are quite positive: “discipline”, “advanced technology”, “keen”, “polite”, and off course: “punctual”.
When we talk about punctual, we refer to the time. And one of the images I had in my mind for years about Japanese people was the fact that they were always in a hurry. I saw it on the news, movies, dramas, anime, and heard it from my teachers. Once I got here last month, it appeared to be true, they’re really in a hurry. But off course, I observed them in places like airport, train station, bus station, and campus street corner.
Now, after participating in the tea ceremony, my conclusion’s rather simple : Japanese people are not always in hurry. They can take it slow, really slow, for example: during a tea ceremony.
It seems like when we take things slow, we begin to appreciate it more. The tea somehow taste different (good different), the atmosphere in the room is relaxing, the aura of the host is beaming, the guests look appealing, even the casual sweets (和菓子) served tasted sweeter. And off course, we begin to see Japan in quite different perspective. Sometimes they take it slow.
Somehow slowness has correlation with patience. For example if somebody is slow to get angry, they’re considered a patient man.
I myself is not a very patient person. I talk fast (except the time when I speak in Japanese language, 日本語 or when I cycled on new route), walk fast, eat fast, and even teach fast. And I’m not alone. The world is demanding fastness if not instant or rapid change in many aspects: technology, transportation, growing up (once I talked to an 8-year-old claiming he dumped his girlfriend), science, skills (yes, including 日本語 skills), etc.
But maybe, it’s time to take it slow.
I once thought my time’s way too precious to spend more than 5 minutes just for a meal, and I ended up gaining weight by time (check here for more information). My other teacher trainee friend and I were worried that our progress in 日本語 class was too slow, but then maybe, we need to do it one step at a time. Some of my girlfriends are worried for not getting married yet, then again, maybe we need to exhale and enjoy our single moments for a little more while.
Many believers worry about how slow they are heading for state of mature in faith they have, but if they go too fast, they’ll probably become one of those indecisive persons. I’m not suggesting that we should be a slow person. Just take it slow for something we really want to enjoy, understand, and need to hold on to for quite a long time.
As for me, I will eat more slowly this time.
(such a weird closure I know, but I’m really in a hurry.)