Jun 23, 2009

Mizuya work

At the Friends in Tea conference, the tea space was improvised, so there was no mizuya to prepare for chakai. Thanks to our resourceful mizuya cho, Jan, she set up a temporary space upstairs near the tatami mats to make a working mizuya. I especially appreciated the fact that the mizuya was set up even though there was no running water or drain nearby. She did this by setting up tubs and buckets for clean and dirty water. These buckets and tubs had to be filled and emptied by hand. This was also a good reminder to be careful to conserve the clean water, and efficient in cleaning up so that the dirty tubs didn't fill up quickly and have to be emptied in the middle of a chakai.

With so many great utensils brought by the participants the cho had to double the mizuya space by setting up tables. Even though she did that, it still was tight to work there given that two chakai were scheduled at the same time. Part of tea training is to work efficiently and quietly in the mizuya.

Most mizuya that I have worked in are tiny spaces -- 1 to 3 tatami mats. That is 3 feet by 6 feet up to 6 feet by 9 feet. It begins to get really crowded in there when 3 or 4 people are all working to get things ready, or clean up from a previous chakai or lesson.

This is where training comes in. If you are not working in the mizuya, get out. The mizuya is no place for standing around and chatting. If you are working, do what you need to do quickly and efficiently and get out. Do not dawdle around or stay to look at things. Make sure your things are cleaned up properly and everything is put back in the proper place. If there is a kama with hot water coming, get up and out of the way. Most important, the cho is the head of the mizuya. You must do what the cho says without argument. There may be a meeting later about it, but at the time, the cho is in charge and what he/she says must be done immediately and without complaint. It is a big responsibility.

*Photo courtesy of Morgan Beard

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