Jan 17, 2008

Receiving a bowl of tea

The etiquette of receiving a bowl of tea at a tea ceremony may seem somewhat tedious as there is a lot of handling and moving the bowl around. The proper way to receive a bowl of tea is for the guest to slide across the tatami mat and get his own bowl of tea after the host puts it out; making sure the front of the teabowl is facing himself. It takes a certain amount of grace to slide backward then move the bowl with you back to your place in kimono without it opening up and become a mess. But once back in your place, the bowl is brought just inside the line and placed between you and the next guest. “Osaki ni” (excuse me for going before you) is said with a semiformal bow of both guests together. The bowl is then placed inside the line in front of your knees and a formal bow thanking the host with “Otemae chodai itashimasu.” The bowl is then placed on the left palm for kansha (silent thanks) and the bowl turned twice clockwise to the back to drink from.

When the guest has had the last sip, and it is okay to slurp the last of the tea, he wipes where he has drunk with fingers that are then wiped on kaishi papers. The bowl is turned counterclockwise to the front and put down on the tatami mat outside the line for haiken or appreciation. After looking at the bowl, the guest returns it to the host exactly where the host put it out. Before returning it to the final place, the guest turns the bowl so that it is facing the host. He then returns to his place.

This whole ritual of receiving the bowl of tea is good because we are not often taught how to receive anything. Using this etiquette we can express our respect, thanks and appreciation of not only the tea, but the bowl, the host, and the other guests.


  1. reading this entry has made me so excited about going to keiko tomorrow!! its been a while since keiko because of osamegama and hatsugama. i LOVE YOUR BLOG, it reminds me about why i love to learn tea ceremony!

  2. Thank you so much for coming to read and comment on the blog. I have another post about keiko that I will put up tomorrow. I love to learn tea ceremony, too. I wish you a good keiko tomorrow.