Jul 1, 2010

Prizes, prizes, prizes

This post will be the 300th post on the SweetPersimmon blog.  Thank you all for reading, following and commenting.   I love to hear from readers and I know there are many out there lurking.  So in honor of this milestone, I am running a contest --- With prizes!

Third prize is a CD of spoken word haiku "The Haiku Year," by yours truly.  A recording of haiku written over the course of a year, one every single day.  Yes, I'll include a written copy too.

Second prize is a copy of the book "Tea Here Now" by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer.  Donna studied tea with me in Seattle and  is the director of Tea Education Alliance and owner of Bodhidarma Tea Company in Louisville, Colorado.

First prize is a red raku teabowl.  This bowl was made by Tad Kamiya, an American potter.  There is a kiln crack in the rim, but it was repaired with gold and is a lovely.pinkish color.  Measurements are 120mm wide by 85mm tall.(that is 4 3/4" wide by 3 1/2" tall for us Americans). See photos below.

And now the criteria for the contest.   It's easy. It's all about mistakes.We all make them.  We are all embarrassed by them. It's not about perfection.  Minako sensei said, "If you are going to make a mistake, make it beautifully."   In the comments section of this post tell me about the worst tea mistake you ever made.  The juicicer the better.  So entertain us.  Tell us how you made the most beautiful of mistakes. Making them in public gets you extra points.  Prizes will be awarded by me as sole judge.

The contest will remain open until July 10.  Winners will be announced on the blog.  If you are chosen, please contact me with your shipping information.  I do ship internationally.

So I will start off with one of my favorite mistakes:   I was at a chakai in Kyoto, one with hundreds of guests.  It was at Yasaka shrine in the Gion in a large room, about 100 tatami mats.  It was one of the first chakai I attended in Japan.  There were about 100 little old tea ladies all lined up around the perimeter of the room, and I spoke not a word of Japanese.  We were pretty far away from where they were making tea, but they started serving the sweets from the kitchen. It was one of my favorites-- melt in your mouth senbei with a very pretty design on it.  After I passed the sweets tray I picked up my kaishi and the sweet dropped off of it and rolled onto the tatami.  And rolled, and rolled and rolled.  It kept rolling until it reached nearly the middle of the huge room and then it made a circle and took forever to settle down.  There was total silence as everyone watched the path of the runaway sweet.  Of course everyone was craning their necks to see whose sweet was that in the middle of the room.  I also was looking this way and that pretending that it was not my sweet.  Luckily one of the ladies serving tea from the mizuya stopped and picked it up on her way back to the kitchen.


  1. I haven't done tea long enough to make any embarrasing mistakes yet. However, I do have a "If you are going to make a mistake, make it beautifully" story.

    When I was in Color guard in high school, I was given a solo. When I started my solo with my flag pole, I accidently smacked myself in the face with the metal pole, causing my nose to bleed. Well, here I am in front of a football stadium with a real nose-gusher! So, instead of performing with blood dripping down my face the whole time, everytime I raised my arms (which happens a lot when spinning flag), I "beautifully" wiped my nose on my black sleeve. I managed to finish the solo without incident, but I thought "oh no, I'll NEVER hear the end of this."

    I asked around later and no one even noticed the bloody nose. Perfect! :)

  2. Karla,
    Thank you for your story. You are entered into the contest. Beautiful mistake and no one but you knew!


  3. Here is a mistake of mine:

    It was my first real chakai where I would be performing the temae. There were five guests, all teachers of tea or ikebana. For practice I don't generally wear kimono, but for the chakai of course I wore a beautiful yellow kimono that was a gift from my own sensei. Things went lovely until I started to place tea into the chawan. It was then I noticed my left sleeve felt strange. I couldn't check at that moment so I made the tea and served it for the first guest. While she was drinking, felt my sleeve, and I had heavily dipped the bottom corner in the kensui. It was sopping wet. Not knowing what else to do, I wrung the corner out into the kensui and then moved the kensui further up, closer to the tana. I feel quite lucky: my classmates were bringing in tea for the other guests, so people didn't notice it. But the original dripping from the sleeve left unsightly water spots on the host's tatami and I spent the rest of the event trying to hide the still damp corner. After the guests returned home, I confessed my mistake to my teacher and classmates and we all laughed, but it was still embarrassing.

  4. Sharku,
    Thank you for your comment. I don't know how many times I have done the same thing. Mostly it happens in the ro season for me. I have entered you in the contest.