2019-06-16 - Sanno Tea Ceremony

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Title: Sanno Tea Ceremony

A tea ceremony is hosted for the youth of Tokyo during Sanno Festival.


Rei Hino, Usagi Tsukino, Steven Universe, Kasagami Araki


Tokyo Tower

OOC - IC Date:

2019-06-16 - 2015-06-08

.***************************** Yamanote High City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Tokyo Tower +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 This television broadcast tower is also perhaps the most iconic building in
 Japan. A lattice giant inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower looks much
 like the French building, but has a more rounded, modern style, and is
 painted in a red-orange tone. Bright white bands punctuate its height,
 including one for the cylindrical observatory nestled near its peak. At
 night, it lights up brilliantly: a cool white during the summer, a warm
 orange for the cooler months, and various colors for special occasions. Once
 the tallest building in the world, it remains, at 315 meters, the second
 tallest in Japan, and is a popular tourist attraction.

 Tokyo Tower straddles a four-story building aptly named FootTown, containing
 museums, art galleries, and restaurants. Around its middle is the Main
 Observatory, which contains a restaurant, a Shinto shrine, and a club for
 live music. Near its peak is the Special Observatory, accessible for an
 extra fee, which provides a spectacular 360 degree view of the urban

 Whether it be attributed to its iconic nature, its ability to transmit
 long-range signals, or its sheer height, be warned: Tokyo Tower is a
 frequent target for supernatural events.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The morning dawned red -- red like robes, red like phoenixes, red like lanterns. Sanno Festival is really a series of celebrations; some small, some large, in Tokyo's shrines and in festival food on the streets. The gardens arrange flowers, musicians bring out their drums, and priests set up large thatched straw rings on the grounds of their shrines. These are tools of purification -- step through one with a doll, rubbing it on your body as you pass, and it will absorb your sins throughout the last six months.

Somehow, with light hearts, many citizens don't seem to have an an abundance of problems to absolve as they step through. It's been a good year. ("Oh, Gods, forgive me!" A boy in glasses known in Juuban as Umino declares, as he strides through one. "I burned the shrimp I meant to offer to Naru-chan..! ... phew, does this mean I'm forgiven?!")

On even-numbered years, a parade rolls through Hie Shrine on a route through Yamanote to the palace; here, now, in 2015, the mikoshi are not brought out on display. But even if the festivities are lesser than they will be next year, there's still plenty to do. It is an elegant affair, marked by dignity and pageantry in the ceremonial dances and songs sung.

It is a festival which has stood for over three centuries; with all that history, the people behind it know how to bring it forward into the current generation, too. After school, there is an event particularly designed for the youth of Tokyo to enjoy the day: a modified tea ceremony hosted in the venue of Tokyo Tower, not so far from Hie Shrine itself.

(There is a small shrine here, too, on the second floor of the Main Observatory -- particularly popular for its assistance both in love and school exams. The ceremony isn't quite so high up, but many students make the trek up the tower to visit, emboldened by the spiritual strength of the day.)

The venue itself has been transformed, with hanging scrolls, lanterns, and a hundred little chabana flower arrangements -- most consisting of only a single tilted flower. Stone basins called 'tsukubai' have been placed by the entrance, to allow visitors to purify themselves by washing their hands and mouth. There are several groupings of mats, to allow friends to drink together; assistants move through the congregation, instructing younger participants on the particulars of the ceremony. A raised stage hosts traditional drummers, providing a counterpoint to the sound of rain which has begun pattering outside.

Still in her red-and-white shrine maiden's robes from the events of the day, Rei Hino sits attentively at one of the host mats. There is a single hydrangea in a glass vase, tilted away from her, and tea equipment still arranged in its bowl. The guest mat is arranged to allow for her visitors -- and their questions, as is proper.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Snap goes the picture with the flash of Umino. Tap tap go the fingers of the text to Naru. Work work goes the text bubble.

Naru-chan: him burning the fried shrimp in my bento has nothing to do with it! Naru-chan: he knows what he did Naru-chan: So he'd better not bring the gods into it! >:| >:| >:|

Usagi slowly asides to him, "I don't think you scorching her fried shrimp is the problem."

Then in an attempt to console him raises a finger, "It's your sacred duty as Naru-chan's boyfriend to figure out why she's upset with you. If you can't figure it out then it means you probably haven't been listening to her closely enough. A doll cannot save you from your sins when it's between two people in love. Take responsibility for them - rather than trying to shove them on someone else!"

Cue Umino's dramatic tears behind his glasses.


Usagi is wearing a pink sleeveless top and a teal mini-skirt as she lowers herself down in front of Rei's host mat onto her knees. At first she kneels properly, but then her pose shifts, her legs drifting out beneath her. Her expression taking on this jittery thoughtfulness, like she's working herself up to whatever she's thinking. Tapping her fingers on a thigh, her palm against her chin, looking away.


"Okay Rei-chan I'm just going to ask."

Usagi shifts into a cross-legged position, putting a hand on either thigh.

"Do you think the gods feel left out on the years when there's no parade? I'd feel pretty left out."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Steven... absolutely loves these traditional events like this!

Don't get him wrong. He misses the community Fourth of July and Saint Patrick's Day celebrations. But those were casual parties and get-togethers. This type of festival was a whole different kind of beast. There is something about the quiet, the pleasant, the meditative styling that is quite remniscent of the interior of Rose's room. Where everything can bleed away and you are free to shape your thoughts proper.

More metaphorically at the festival, of course.

The child is at the festival, and is actually wearing a hakama sized for his little portly self! It is white that bleeds into light, slightly reflective silver as it follows gravity, with a swirl of pink petals and yellow star-like shapes. To heck if he didn't need to wear it, these outfits are fun and comfy! He will take any loose excuse to wear one.

The boy has been running about at Tokyo Tower, taking photos of practically everything. This ends him at his destination, a tea ceremony spot where he was told to partake, though is surprised to see some folks he recognizes! "...!" Excitement crosses his face as he nearly hustles past them, but quickly backs up, looking toward Rei. "H... Hey! What's up, Rei? Is this the right place for the tea thingy?" he asks, eyes full of wonder as he looks about the room at the decorum. But he feels like he forgot to do something before he sits down. What could it have been? Someone told him to do something before sitting down...

He seems lost in thought, but not before Usagi also gets a wave. Now what was it...

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kasagami Araki doesn't participate in the ritual to absorb all of her sins. Is it because she thinks she's without any wrongdoings to repent for?

Nah, she's going to own those sins. Some of them are too precious to let go of. Or so she tells herself anyway. Thus, she leaves the little strawman nicely in front of a gate, with a little note attached.

"To another year of love and beautiful mistakes" Beneath? A 'KA <3 SM' is scribbled. The one it's addressed to might not find it, but maybe the gods will send it her way.

The text with a picture five seconds later might help that.

And so after the parade, she finds herself at Tokyo Tower and this youth event. Someone from the Student Council has to show up, and rather than the man that probably knows something about proper tea ceremonies, Kasagami Araki has shown up. Mostly to show off her reinstated state, and maybe because she heard something about one of Ohtori's own miko were having something to do with the event.

Thus, her gaze is scanning the crowd for reds and whites. The Duelist hasn't taken off her coat. Surely because she doesn't need to, being a well respected member of the Council. It definitely isn't because she's not sure of protocol here!

"Look at all of this! You really did put some effort into this ceremony, Hino-san! I'll bet your Father must be proud." Yeah, sorry Rei, sorry Usagi, she's sitting down. You can't escape.

A brow rises and she's grinning. "Feel better? Ready to face the rest of the year, sin free? Tabula rasa, and all. ....Though I hope you've both been working hard on your academics, the gods and Jesus both can't help you there." She looks like she's about to say more, but up comes Steven. Kassie gives a wave. "Steve-kun! Soaking in some culture today I see! Come on, this will help. I'm sure Hino-san here, as a member of the most prestigious Ohtori Academy, will have you performing tea ceremonies like an expert in no time flat!" No pressure, Rei-chan!

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Traditionally, Rei would expect to answer questions about the tea set, the flower arrangement, the scrolls hanging on the walls. But this is an event designed to draw in the youth of Tokyo, and with the pressures of exams and love, not everyone knows the protocol of a tea ceremony.

Enter: Usagi Tsukino, who, give her credit, at least lasts a few moments in proper seiza before she shifts out of it.

Rei raises a finger, a quizzical expression crossing her face. This is how Kasagami, whose coat is surely a fashion statement, finds her; Rei laughs, the gesture turning into a wave of her hand as Kasagami sits. (Of course she'd mention her father.) "Araki-san, please," because she is very polite to her Ohtori seniors, "I had only a small hand in these arrangements! This is the effort of many representatives!" With something this large, of course, anyone would be expected to defer their contributions to the group.

(If it had been Usagi, she might have been much more boastful.)

Steven, too, is here, in a delightful starry hakama. "Steven-kun! Yes, this is the right place," she gestures him to sit. "You look great."

She looks around, but finding no one else to save her from the philosophical questions of a novice, Rei puffs out a breath. "Don't worry, Usagi," she comes back to her question, "the gods wouldn't feel left out! We celebrate by the shrines because that is where they live. The parade is for us, to bring them out into the city they're protecting." Well, for the imperial family, particularly, but that's beside the point.

"As for my academics," she adds, quite proper, "I always strive for greater excellence." And not being held after class to clean erasers because she fell asleep. Look, it only happened the one time! "... but Usagi, you might want to visit the shrine here."

With precise motions, she arranges the tea set out of the pot it's held in, and sets to brewing a pot. "What about you, Araki-san? Is your new position helping you with your classwork?" As Secretary, of course. "And Steven-kun," she smiles to him, less removed, "how have you found things so far? Is this your first Sanno festival?"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kasagami shows up, and there's a moment where Usagi looks at Kasagami in surprise, then looks thoughtful. You see. Usagi Tsukino hadn't know the idea of parents being proud of her in a long time. Yet Rei Hino's father never shows up, and Usagi is around her all the time.

"I don't know what Rei-chan's father has to do with anything." It's not adversarial. In fact if anything it's said with a sort of gentle confusion. "Rei-chan is just a really hard worker."

She says that as if she feels the idea of Rei being a hard worker is completely disconnected from her father.

Then crossing her arms, she leans back, "Hmmmm-! I'd rather not be a blank slate though. I'd like to have a lot written on mine." There's a sort of cheerfulness to that, "Even the bad things." Before Kasagami mentions the academics, "Well maybe not all of the bad things..." She murmurs in reply.

Before she then takes a quick look at Steven, "Oh! You're really getting into living here Steven!" And she offers a high five to him for his attire.

"Step right up and accept some of Rei-chan's hospitality! She's got more than enough for everyone!"

Fortunately Rei lays out that the gods wouldn't feel left out, and Usagi nods thoughtfully, "Oh sorta keeping them - down to Earth." And it's like all confusion melts away, and understanding dawns. "That's a really good tradition."

Perhaps some part of her instinctively wonders if such traditions were inspired by other former kingdoms.

"New position? She's still on the Student Council?" Usagi sounds pleasantly surprised, "Wow I thought she lost that election but I guess I heard completely wrong!"

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Oh my god I forgot to wash my hands at the thing!" the boy says, tearing off to the stone bowls. He comes back shortly thereafter. His hakama glints in the light given off by the hanging lanterns. "Okay, better."

"Hey Kasagami! How are you?" he asks nicely. He hasn't got to catch up with the young lady in some time since everything, but is good to see her in higher spirits! As goes for everyone. A weight upon the heart lifts a little more. "I have! It looked really fun from the flyers and stuff, and I don't know a bunch about my new home's culture, so I wanted to get in on the business!"

"Thanks a bunch! I like your shrine outfit! Ah, do they have a special name or is 'shrine outfit' okay?" he asks her nicely, finding a small sitting mat to place himself on, like a cute little dumpling on a grape leaf. "I have! I been taking pictures of all the streamers and bells and lanterns... they are everywhere!" A pause. "Yeah, I dunno what it is about just yet except for one piece, which is that shrines are there to help with academics and romance."

"While I am sure I am quite the eligible bachelor," he says matter-of-factly, with a hint of his usual joking demeanor. "...I need help with something important with school and language use."

OOHHHH HIGH FIVE. Steven totally takes the chance! "Thank you Usagi! I just really like these hakamas...?" 'Hakama' is said in that typical questioning inflection, as if he is unsure if he said it right. "I really like tea! With honey and uh, these things at the store that have something sweet on these stirrer things. But I have been meaning to try tea events now. They seem very refined!"

A look to Rei "It okay if I do join?" Best to ask the actual server as well! "What kind of tea is it?" he asks, curiosity overtaking him.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The 'humility' of Rei and her grades, Kasagami gives several firm nods of approval. "Good, good! Now that's what I want to hear out of an Ohtori student! Constantly striving for self improvement, while respecting the work of those around them. ...Though!"

Kassie leans in, staring right in Rei's eyes. "There's nothing wrong with celebrating your own accomplishments. Looking down from where you've climbed by your own two hands and seeing how far you've come? I say enjoy the view." Then she's leaning back into the mat, taking up the seiza pose herself. This, at least, the kendo artist knows how to do perfectly.

That intensity is broken by a laugh. She makes a motion with her hand. "Well, my penmanship isn't as good as my hand with a blade, but it's improving! So that's something. I am, as ever, striving to be an example of grace, academic excellence, and athletic perfection in my field! And as such, I'll be happy to help you with anything you need. I'm sure you can learn much from my example, Hino-san!" Smiiiile! Ignore the fact about her quitting kendo club.

Kassie does blink, eyeing Usagi briefly.

"I'm not teasing. She's taking the time to show us all how a miko properly does a tea ceremony. That shows hard work and a willingness to teach others. It's something any parent would be proud of." Offers the Duelist firmly to Usagi. There's a light frown to her face, and then she looks away from the blonde haired girl. For a few moments, she's ignoring the ceremony at hand, gaze latched onto a teacup.

At least, until Usagi mentions the election. A brow twitches. She looks like she's bitten into something rotten. She tries to look pleasant. "Don't worry about it so much. Ohtori politics is complicated, and I assure you, I was fairly elected to the position." 'Elected' is a stretch here. More like appointed.

Tamping down the urge to give Usagi an involuntary pixie cut with the nearest sharp object, she's peering over to Steven.

The smile he gets is a softer one. "Better. Better than they've been for a while." Is her sudden, honest answer. With a little sigh, she listens to the young man's questions, gaze flitting between newcomer, miko, and Usagi.

"Yes, show us all the beauty of a proper tea ceremony, Hino-san!" Encourages Kassie, making a mic tossing motion.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Don't worry, Steven," Rei assures the boy as he scrambles back in. "Now you're all set." She's not about to blame him for forgetting -- he's a kid, and he's not even from Japan. He remembered eventually!

It's certainly true that Takashi Hino is absent in Rei's life, and equally true that Rei finds little occasion to mention him. Knowing that, Rei shouldn't be surprised to hear Usagi catching onto the discomfort in her dismissal. Her confusion might be gentle, but it still loosens any tightness in Rei's smile as it comes, leaving something more genuine, if a little embarrassed for it.

Even Kasagami, in the typical Ohtori dance of one-upmanship, seems to appreciate that it's Rei's work which got her here. "If I need anything, I will be sure to come to you," she says, meeting her eyes. "I am sure we can learn from each other." Diplomacy!

She smiles to Steven, with his honest questions. "I'm wearing a hakama and a kosode," she tells him. "And this festival celebrates the spirits from the Hie shrine who protect Tokyo. It's been going on for hundreds of years. Different shrines can help with all sorts of things... for instance, visitors often visit Hikawa shrine for help with their romance!" Takashi Hino might not be involved in Rei's life, but her Grandpa certainly is. "It's okay to join," she encourages him, "and we'll help you with any of your questions!"

Kasagami announces her, and Rei smiles, before she looks to her blonde friend. "Usagi, you really should learn how to do this," She points out, evasive in her own praise. "You have talent in making people feel welcome, if only you'd learn the tradition... here, let me show you. We bow," she demonstrates, and pauses to let the others try too, before continuing: "And I hand you this bowl of tea -- don't drink from the front -- and you take a sip, and wipe the rim, and hand it to the next guest, and we go around like that..."

It's kind of skipping a few steps, but don't tell anyone: Rei didn't always pay attention during tea ceremony classes, either. Children are easily-distracted, especially a child like Rei in an academy like Ohtori.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Oh hey cool!" the boy says, looking at the teacups and teapot. Such lovely designs on them! He watches as Kasagami picks up a cup. "Thats... really good to hear," he comments toward the Duelist. It has been a bit of an adjustment, but it was nice to not hav badguys and evils baring down everyone's back. "Come by the beach house sometime and we can catch up, yknow? I'm all the way out there on a beachfront begging to do picnics on it!"

He would also love to ask her how Sailor Pluto was, but he can't in good conscience ask that in public.

The boy claps his hands excitedly, knowing he managed to get everything right! At least he thinks he did. Rei seems to think so, and she is a shrine lady! If she didn't know, who would?!

The boy listens intently to Rei's explanation as though she we describing the meaning of life itself. Eyes are fixated on her, and more than once he has to force himself to pull his elbows off the table. "Yeah! I came to get help with my academics as there's a thing I needa get according to my teacher. I gotta get the honorifics right." He purses his lips. "Fuu was helping me but, like, I found out that if you use them wrong you insult people! So I am kinda scared to use them..." He looks down for a moment, but perks badk up. "I was hoping the shrines could help somehow!"

Rei shows Usagi how the art of the ceremony is done, and the boy takes any queues to try it out! Even the bowing! Sampling the tea and sharing it seems to be quite the joy as well! He has a bit of trouble tasting the tea from the correct side and holding it right but there is earnest trying there.

"Such a cool tradition..."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Too young to date makes you the most eligible bachelor." Usagi beams with a sort of wisdom that only an adolescent girl can offer. Like that of a big sister to a little brother. "Mmm-mmm! I'm a little too casual for this right now." As she puts a hand next to her face and whispers, "Don't take from your senpai's example."

Normally she'd put on her Kimono for this but she's not any good at that unless Ikuko is helping her - and Ikuko was out for the day.

"I didn't say you were teasing - it's just - you keep saying that." Before she prompts, "About whether her father would be proud of her. And I just don't think of Rei-chan as working to make him proud." There's this tiny shrug, and a cheerful little smile, "Rei-chan is just Rei-chan on her own."

Before she then taps a finger to her temple, "Hmmm - if you say so!" Because she has no reason at all to disbelieve her.

Before Rei mentions that she needs to learn how to do this, and Usagi actually has something glimmer in her eyes, "I'll try my best Rei-chan!" Before then bowing. However as Rei starts to hand her the bowl of tea.

And Usagi reaches out - and then hesitates.

Then glances up, and looks Rei Hino in the eyes as she asks anxiously, "You're sure it's okay right? I once got told these bowls can be really expensive and I don't want to end up breaking it and working to pay off a debt at Ohtori for the next twenty years..."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Usagi continues to defend her, and really, it's kind of touching how much she's noticed. So, of course, Rei insists: "Rei-chan is the best Rei-chan!" With all the bravado of someone who doesn't really care. (She cares a lot.)

To Steven, Rei smiles. "Cool, huh? Yeah, festivals are pretty cool." It's something of an odd turn of phrase to describe ancient traditions with, but there's nothing wrong with blending the modern and the traditional.

Or, in fact, with local tradition and people abroad. Rei presses the bowl into Usagi's hands, though she'll make sure she's holding it before she lets go. "Don't worry," she assures her. "You'll be okay, Usagi." Even if she did break the expensive bowl, there's no way Rei would let Usagi Tsukino be indebted to Ohtori. Her father is useless, but she'd still exploit his wealth to get one of her best friends out of that.

Once everyone is done tasting the tea, Rei begins the process of cleansing the equipment. "You could pray to a shrine for courage," she suggests, "or for politeness. You could buy a charm to carry with you, to help you remember. But the most important thing is to practice!" She insists, bold. "Getting things wrong is the first step to getting them right, and each success is built on five mistakes!"

Well, maybe she listens to Kasagami's speeches more than she lets on.