Mar 20, 2012

April is the month for Tea

Sunday April 1
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The Lavender Tea House
Sherwood, OR

Cherry Blossom Festival
Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony by Issoan Tea
Come celebrate the blooming cherry blossom's like they are in Japan by joining us for a traditional Japanese Ceremony Tea. Tea & Japanese pastries provided. Sun, April 1st, 2pm, $25 Reservations required.

The Lavender Tea House
16227 SW 1st Street
Sherwood, OR 97140

Saturday, April 7 
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants, Portland, OR

Japanese Tea Ceremony Presentation by Issoan Tea.  Saturday, April 7 from 10 am to 11 am.  Observe the ceremony followed by matcha and authentic Japanese Tea sweets made by Yume Confections will be served.  Reservations required.

The Jasmine Pearl
724 NE 22nd Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232

Meditation Moments
Tea Ceramics by Richard Milgrim
Paintings by Hiroshi Senju

April 6 – 29, 2012
Garden Hours in the Pavilion

Included with Garden Admission
Tea demonstrations weekends at 1 and 2 p.m.
For centuries, the remarkable healing properties of tea have been recognized in Eastern medicine. An infusion of tea leaves brought alertness and energy to Buddhist monks who needed to stay awake during the long hours of meditation that were required in their spiritual practices. Rich in vitamin C, green tea is recognized today as an anti-oxidant, perhaps effective in preventing cancer. Shared eagerly among friends in cultures around the world, a cup of hot tea is considered a true luxury today as it has been for nearly two thousand years.

In Japan, the custom of tea drinking was elevated to an art form. For Zen Buddhist priests and sophisticated laymen of the 15th century, the practice of Chado, the Way of Tea, involved a deep commitment to a spiritual path to attaining harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility in daily life. Performing what has been referred to as the “tea ceremony,” while based originally on the simplest act of sipping a bowl of tea with friends, has evolved more complex aesthetic and spiritual implications.
Chanoyu, the practice of preparing tea in this manner, requires a tranquil setting and meticulous attention to detail. A long history of creating exquisite environments in which to conduct these events resulted in the production of marvelous crafts—tea bowls, scoops, whisks, jars, containers, and braziers—as well as fine hanging scroll paintings and calligraphy.

Richard Milgrim is one of the rare non-Japanese potters who has reached the heights of recognition not only in the U.S. but also in Japan, where his work is highly sought after. Milgrim’s work has been lauded by the grand master of the prestigious Urasenke School of Tea in Kyoto. This exhibition of his tea ceramics is part of the 2012 Art in the Garden series that explores the theme of Healing Garden with exhibitions and lectures that focus on the Japanese approach to health and well-being.

To complement Mr. Milgrim’s tea utensils, we are most honored to show a selection of hanging scrolls by the internationally acclaimed painter Hiroshi Senju, whose famous waterfall paintings hang in many of the great museums around the world. Mr Senju divides his time between his studio in New York and his work as President of the Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Saturdays and Sundays
April 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, and 29
1 p.m. & 2 p.m.
Free with admission/$5 matcha tea
In conjunction with the exhibition Meditative Moments: Tea Ceramics by Richard Milgrim and Paintings by Hiroshi Senju, the Garden will offer two tea presentations of the Way of Tea each Saturday and Sunday in the Pavilion Gallery. These will take place at 1 & 2 p.m. and will be prepared by members of Kashintei Kai, the tea society associated with the Garden’s Kashintei Tea House. Visitors who wish to try a bowl of the frothy matcha tea may purchase a $5 ticket at the Admission Gate.

Mar 14, 2012


Furyu is composed of two characters meaning, “wind” and “flowing.” Like the moving wind, it can be sensed but not seen. It is both tangible and intangible in its suggested elegance. And like the wind, furyu points to a wordless ephemeral beauty that can only be experienced in the moment, for in the next instant it will dissolve like the morning mist.

Mar 10, 2012

Upon entering the tearoom

Upon entering the tearoom, it is important above all else
that both host and guests compose their frame of mind
so as to be completely free of extraneous thought; this attitude
should be harbored within and not displayed outwardly.
~ Murata Shuko (d. 1502)

Mar 7, 2012

Telling Stories

One of the pleasures of attending a tea gathering are the stories told at the gathering.   Putting together how the meaning of the scroll and the choices of the utensils along with the poetic names of the sweets and chashaku make for an interesting time. 

Some of my students are beginnning to study the kazari mono where the scroll, the teabowl, the chashaku or other utensil is featured in the temae.  In class we practice telling the stories of the utensils.  Just because you purchased the bowl cheap on eBay does not make a good story for the tea gathering.  Neither does I liked this bowl, but I know nothing about it.  There should be something about it. Be thoughtful about what utensils you are using for your tea gatherings.

If you do purchase a utensil and you don't know anything about it,  use it in a chakai.  Maybe it was not the featured utensil, but you can begin to build a history for it.   "This chawan was used in a going away chakai at the Issoan Tea Room last January when my sempai was leaving for Japan. Because it was un-named, he called it Bunri, or separation."

Perhaps you know something about the artist, his history or your relationship with him.  Perhaps it was given to you by someone the both of you know.   Perhaps you have featured something else by this particular artist in another chakai

That is why I am judicious in acquiring tea utensils.  It seems if I wait,  tea utensils come to me, and always there seems to be an interesting story about how it came to me.  

Please, no more eBay yaki stories.