May 20, 2009


I was invited to a chakai Monday night. Mr. Nishiura, owner of Ryokusuido was in town from Tokyo. He is a student of Omotesenke tea school, and we made tea for each other. One thing that he told me about Omotesenke is that there is the way that men make tea and it is different than the way that women make tea. The simpler way is the way that men make tea.

It was a wonderfully sunny, warm day for a chakai, and I arrived at the house in the late afteroon. I love the way that the sidewalk out to the street is dampened all the way out to the street in the summer time in welcome. It looks so fresh and cooling.

Inside the house was cool and dark. Mr. Nishura had prepared a cool drink for me and invited me to enter the tea room. He had cleaned the tea room top to bottom as well as washed the window so that it looked like there was no glass in it.

He brought fresh sweets from Japan and I enjoyed watching him make tea in the men’s Omotesenke style. What struck me was that the temae placement and order were exactly the same as Urasenke style that I study. Just a few stylistic differences made the procedure distinctive, but not strange. Many of the movements were familiar because they were movements that Urasenke style uses for koicha but not usucha. I could see, however, that studying one style and switching to another style can get very confusing.

The tea was fresh and green, and I particularly enjoyed the “jade lake” in the center of the teabowl surrounded by foam. I then prepared and made tea for Mr. Nishiura and as we cleaned up, we compared notes on the different styles. He was very appreciative of the tea I made for him and complimented me on how graceful was my temae. (That was a first for me and quite unexpected).

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