May 18, 2011
Never touch the surface of the kama with your bare hands. The oils from your hands and fingers could make permanent marks. Use the kan (rings) to carry and move the kama. Some people have a habit of carrying an empty kama with their hands on the inside of the mouth. It is just a bad habit and don't do it.
For a chaji we fill the kama with cold water and place it on the coals just before the guests enter the room. For class time we pre-heat the water and fill the kama. The procedure for doing this is to rinse the kama with cold water. You can use towels to turn the kama over to empty it (never use the kan to turn the kama over, you might break the lugs). Put some cold water in the kama, about one fourth full. Then, put a hishaku in the mouth of the kama and pour the hot water into the hishaku before it spills into the interior of the kama. Fill the kama near the brim. Use the hishaku to ladle hot water over the outside of the kama, wetting the whole surface of the outside. The proper level of the water should be one cup below the rim. Take a hishaku full of hot water and put the lid on. Rinse the top of the lid with the water from the ladle.
Now you are ready to put the kan in and lift it from the sink. I should say here that the kan always travel together. Hold them with the openings at the bottom, and your fingers and thumb side-to-side. Separate them in each hand and twist them into the lugs of the kettle. They twist in opposite directions, and it takes some getting used to. Lift the kama and briefly blot it on a towel to get most of the water off the bottom. When you carry the kama, hold it close to your body but not so close that you can get burned and put it on the burner in the tea room. When you hear "kama tori masu" get out of the way because someone is carrying a heavy kettle full of hot water.
Next, how to empty the kama