Jun 17, 2008


I have heard that 80% of Chado is preparation. Every week we go to keiko and train. We not only learn the temae, but also the mizuya work and preparation of the tea room. This includes cleaning, hanging the scroll properly and arranging flowers.

Preparation for a tea gathering also includes deciding on a theme, choosing scroll and utensils and inviting guests who will make the tea gathering a success.

When I decide to put on a tea gathering, I have lists and checklists starting a month in advance and counting down to the day of the gathering. I also have a check list of things to do for three days after the gathering.

This preparation for chado and tea gatherings, whether chakai or chaji also includes the mental preparation. As the host of a gathering, it is your responsibility to plan ahead and think about what could go wrong and have a back up for each contingency. What if nobody responds to your invitation? What if one of your guests unexpectedly brings another person? What if it rains on the day of your event? It takes some mental preparation to handle these things as graciously as if you had planned it (which you have).

It also takes mental preparation to handle things that you never even thought of. I once gave a chaji and the person who was supposed to make sweets for the tea gathering didn’t, even though we had discussed in many times. We ended up using an apple that I had brought for snacks for the mizuya workers.

Being prepared for okeiko is important as well. Choosing a poetic name for your sweets and chashaku ahead of time, studying your temae and notes before class, and setting up your own utensils all helps you prepare for the temae ahead.

Being mentally prepared for okeiko means that you are open and willing to receive teaching and/or correction from your sensei. That means not taking correction personally or getting too flustered or embarrassed about being corrected. Being open means that you will correct what you are doing and move on, rather than dwelling on the correction, losing your concentration and focus. Being open to teaching means that while other students are doing their temae, you are paying attention and learning from their corrections, too. It also means that you are open to the lessons that other students or situations going on around you.


  1. The checklists that you use, are that some thing you are willing to share with me or even better allowed to be made available to everyone through the wiki?

  2. Marius,

    Rather than publish these checklists, I would prefer students go through the experience of putting on their own chaji and compile their own checklists. After every chaji my checklists get revised as I evaluate how to improve for the next one. I think the experience is much more valuable than the lists, as tea cannot be learned from a book.

    However, I am willing to compare notes with individuals and make suggestions to add to their own checklists.

    Please contact me via email: sweetpersimmon1 at gmail dot com.

  3. Wow, so much planning for something which looks so simple. Like a swan perhaps - so much going on under the water and so so graceful and serene on the surface.

  4. Hello Jane,

    Yes, there is a lot of preparation, but I find the more preparation you do up front, the smoother and easier things go at the time of the tea event. At least, it makes me feel less flustered when something unplanned happens (which it does most of the time). Thanks for posting.