6 Japanese Culture

Reiko talks a little about Ikebana and the Japanese tea ceremony.

Reiko: Ikebana, it's an art of flowers. It's quite different from Western style flower arrangement because in Ikebana's theory you can decorate one flower, only with one flower.

Anili: Oh, really?

Reiko: The flower arrangement in Japan is not only decorating flowers but it's an art with flowers and space.

Anili: I see.

Reiko: The air between the flowers and also the room and everything, it shows the space or even the universe in it.

Anili: What's another Japanese art?

Reiko: Japanese art? Ikebana...tea ceremony!

Anili: Tea ceremony?

Reiko: Tea ceremony!

Anili: Tea ceremony. Tell me about tea ceremony.

Reiko: Tea ceremony. There's certain ways you have to make tea. Not only make tea, there's a certain way to for example wipe a bowl.

Anili: I see.

Reiko: Yes, with one piece of cloth and you need to learn how to fold the cloth so that you use each part of the cloth only once to wipe the bowl.

Anili: OK.

Reiko: Yeah, so it's a complicated traditional procedure in a sense but..

Anili: How do you learn that? Is that something that your mother would teach you? How do people learn that?

Reiko: There's some professionals for both flower arrangement and tea ceremony. So you need to go to a school, yes, and learn from your teacher and their heirarchy and the organization. You need to pass each test to go climb up the ladder in the heirarchy.

Anili: I see. Fantastic. Thank you.

Reiko: You're welcome.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

flower arrangement

Ikebana is an art of flowers different from Western-style flower arrangement.

A 'flower arrangement' is a combination of cut flowers put together to make a house decoration.  Notice the following:

  1. The flower arrangements for the wedding are beautiful.
  2. She has always been talented in the art of flowers.


Ikebana is about the air between the flowers and the room, and the space.

In this case 'space' describes the free area in a room.  Notice the following:

  1. Part of inner peace is being comfortable with the space around you.
  2. They use the space in the house really well.

certain way

In the tea ceremony, there's a certain way you have to make tea.

A 'certain way' is a specific and particular way of doing something.  Notice the following:

  1. Is there a certain way you want me to do this?
  2. Bread must be made in a certain way or it won't turn out well.

complicated (procedure)

The tea ceremony seems to be a complicated traditional procedure.

If something is 'complicated' it is difficult and usually includes lot of details or specific actions.  Notice the following:

  1. Is the surgery a complicated procedure?
  2. I hate this phone because it is really complicated.

climb up the ladder

You need to pass each test to climb up the ladder in the hierarchy.

To 'climb up the ladder' means to rise to a higher social position.  Notice the following:

  1. You are really climbing up the ladder at your company.
  2. She climbed up the ladder by marrying him.


Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
arrangements • space • certain way
tea ceremony • complicated • ladder
  1. Is this meal really ?
  2. He is working his way up the social in the neighborhood.
  3. Do you feel comfortable in your new ?
  4. Did you go to a in Japan?
  5. We have been busy with flower for Mother's Day.
  6. He has a that he likes to do things.