Questions of Culture And a Bowl of Noodles

April 17, 2021

This evening I decided to visit one of my favorite restaurants in Limsa Lominsa, The Sleeping Koi. Their ramen is delightful. Sadly it is a bit better when the Xaela prepares it, but ordering from the Miqo’te is a bit less intimidating.

The ramen is still quite delicious however and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I also shared tea with Ayame who happened to visit the Koi as well. I found it quite interesting that she had left the Shroud. I neglected however to ask her what business brought her to Limsa Lominsa for the evening.

We did however discuss the tea ceremony she is hosting on the morrow and the guests she has invited. She is a bit wary however as she knows that as a Hingan the schools of tea ceremony may differ ever so slightly from those of traditional Doman ceremonies. That and each clan or family may have their own traditions regarding the ceremony.

Ayame will be hosting a tea ceremony in the style of her clan. I am not only honored and grateful for an invitation, but it is also a sign of great respect that one is allowed to share in a clan’s traditions.

I only hope that I do nothing to offend as I am only familiar with Hingashi tea ceremonies.

Nervous as I am, I do look forward to the experience. As I enjoy learning more about other cultures and practices I think it will be absolutely fascinating. It is always much easier to service the needs of those around you, as a physician, when you understand their culture. The way a person lives can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

For instance Uncle and I visited a village on a small island off the coast of Kugane. Uncle received a missive from the Daimyo of the island as many of its denizens were becoming ill, some even dying, but they could not determine the cause.

Upon examining the citizens and their environment we could find nothing wrong which meant we had to look further afield. Uncle having spoken to the villagers determined that all who became ill had a similar pattern of bathing in a particular hot spring at the north of the island.

We inspected the spring only to find nothing of issue. I then asked those who visited the hot spring if there might be any ritual or so associated with a visit to the hot spring. An elderly woman told me that before bathing in the hot spring one would purify their hands and mouth in a freshwater spring nearby.

In previous years this spring had been tended by a monk who lived in the forest. He would purify the spring in a yearly ritual. The last monk to perform the ritual died two years previously and had not trained another to take his place. This meant that the freshwater spring had been untreated.

Upon examining the spring we found it to be infested with a tiny parasite invisible to the naked eye. Fortunately we had brought special equipment with us, otherwise we too may have missed the tiny creatures. Apparently the ritual had not only been meant to appease the Kami of the spring, but had an added bonus of killing the tiny parasites before they could infect the population.

This made it a bit easier to treat the infected individuals once we determined the cause. Then we had to assess a safe way of eliminating the parasite from the body. That of course took a bit of time, but we were able to produce a medicine that worked with only mild side effects. The ingredients of which were readily available on the island so their local priest or another chirurgeon would be able to prepare more should the need arise.

We also left recommendations for the Daimyo of the island regarding treating the freshwater spring. It was also determined that until they could find another monk to purify the spring appropriately, the hot spring would be considered taboo. The Daimyo believed restricting access to the hot spring would be easier than attempting to educate the population on the existence of creatures that they cannot see which made them ill.

Such is the way of the world in remote places, but once again, I cannot judge as such is their culture and their lives. A chirurgeon must be impartial in such situations as there is truly only so much we can do to aid those around us and many times we can only be grateful when we succeed.

While that was an eventful trip it says nothing of Ayame and her concerns which of course are quite valid. She did mention that some of the other guests will have not participated in a tea ceremony previously. She hoped I would not mind a bit of explanation here and there as to the process which I assured her would not be a problem.

Personally I enthusiastically await the event as I very much enjoy seeing how others cultures perform a tea ceremony. I am also quite curious to see how native Eorzeans react to a taste of eastern culture.

I believe I could also use a bit of the peace of mind that a tea ceremony is meant to impart upon the participants. It would be most welcome assuredly.

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