Masujo Groening (left) and Masae Markmann, two Japanese women who have lived many years in Germany
Mrs. Groening (left) and Mrs. Markmann demonstrate the traditional tea ceremony.
Azuma Groening wears a traditional Japanese kimono.
Masujo Groening (left) explains the tradition of the Star Festival.
Mikiko Eder hangs a piece of paper on a bamboo branch in the traditional Tanabata style.
Azuma Groening, Masae Markmann and Masujo Groening demonstrate how to create crafts by cutting paper.
The participants try their hand at traditional paper cutting.
Admiration of Japanese culture transcends age and nationality.
The performance of a Japanese song
A double rainbow appears just as the program is ending.

Hamburg, Germany—A tea ceremony and other traditions were part of the third annual Japanese cultural program presented by the Hamburg branch of UPF.

Short video presentations gave the audience insights into Japanese customs and handicrafts, and allowed us to experience this charming country in East Asia.

Masae Markmann, who has lived in Germany more than 30 years, opened the event with a traditional tea ceremony. She and Masujo Groening, dressed in colorful kimonos, performed the meditative ritual in which respect, harmony and purity are represented. Its origin dates back many centuries and is based on Zen Buddhism. It is intended to promote harmonious coexistence between the people living in the Japanese islands.

Masujo’s daughter Azuma Groening, with the help of a short video, then presented the story of Tanabata, the star festival which is held in the summer. On the evening before the festival, people set up bamboo trees and decorate the branches with pieces of paper on which they write their wishes.

Azuma’s father, Manuel Groening, had provided big bamboo branches, and we could write our wishes on colored papers and hang them on the branches.

Masujo Groening had brought along more materials and showed other creative ways to use scissors and glue to make, for example, paper lanterns and other works of art.

After a song presented by five Japanese women dressed in kimonos, all sorts of delicacies from the Japanese cuisine, lovingly prepared by Mikiko Eder and her daughter-in-law, Kathi Nandkisore, were served. The 26 participants of different nationalities, cultures and age groups enjoyed lively conversations amid a real family atmosphere.

Then we noticed a double rainbow outside in the sky, as if Heaven was giving us full approval!

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