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An outsider observations

Chadou, the Way of Tea (Japanese tea ceremony)

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1krishh
Sep 23, 2006, 7:44am Top

Back in August 1999, I discovered that "tea ceremony" was available locally. So here is my very first cha no yu review.

Saturday, I went to the cha-no-yu at Jardin botanique de Montréal,
japanese pavilion. Urasenke school.
There was an exhibit where I can note the japanese terms for the
utensils used during the ritual. If you're interested, here they
are:
Chashaku: spoon
Mizusashi: water pot
Kensui: pot for used water
Futaoki: base for cover
Fukusa: silk napkin
Hishaku: ladle
Kansa: kettle
Natsume: tea caddy
Chawan: tea bowl
Chasen: bamboo whisk

Decor limited to calligraphy, saying ¨ichigo ichie¨ which was
translated as: one chance, one meeting, and chabana, floral
arrangement simpler than ikebana, in an alcove. The guest, once
entered from the garden where she should have washed her hands, went
in front of those items and admired it. Then she sat on her knees at
the place of honor, near the alcove.
¨Red tickets¨ have been invited to sit themselves down on the tatami
(straw mats), in front of the hostess, while ¨green tickets¨
remained on the chairs along the window panels.
The ritual went on, like we know by reading. I'll only tell you what
struck me.
First I was disapointed to see that the burner was electric. I know:
it is much safer than burning coal but the long grey wire connected
in the alcove was less than attractive, near the flowers...:(
I was amazed by the size of the bowl: the whisked tea is supposed to
be drunk in three and a half sips, the bowl would have been able to
accomodate a french café au lait!
The man who explained the ritual and answered questions told us that
matcha was used: the tea leaves are reduced in powder that must be
kept in the freezer to avoid mildew. I suppose that the ornate tea
caddy doesn't go in the freezer. ;)
Only the guest drank tea.
When the demo was completed, helper, hostess and guest disappeared
and closed the door. Then they came back, one by one, offering one
bowl of tea to each ¨red ticket¨, who have been authorized to eat
their sweet triangle. We didn't see the preparation of those bowls,
but one other man has been presented to us as ¨Eric San¨ who was in
the kitchen during the ceremony. Between the freezer and the kettle,
I supposed.:)

It was said that the ritual is one of meditation. Silence, more
bowings and salutations than words or conversation. No smiling, no
chatting, even eye contact seemed avoided between the three women
(there was a helper, who sat and lifted and sat on her knees again
each time something has to be brought to the guest, bowing head at
the hostess and the guest) but two ¨red tickets¨ were japanese and
when they received their bowl, they giggled and laughed with their
hostess. I wonder why...

I went to meditate near the ponds, with ducks eating grass at my
feet. Weather was ideal, grey and brisk.
I think I will return next week end. Ichigo ichie. KH

2krishh
Sep 23, 2006, 7:49am Top

My second review, August 1999

I did go back to the tea ritual at the japanese garden of Jardin
botanique de Montréal Saturday afternoon.
I went in the tea room 15 minutes before the official hour. Two
women were already there, sitting on their knees on the tatamis. The
older one wore a green kimono, the younger wore marine short skirt
and vest, so I thought ¨they will be hostess and guest¨. I was
comforted in this idea when I saw the GK (Green Kimono) going to the
alcove, kneeling, admiring the calligraphy... and slightly
replacing the floral arrangement.
But at 1:30, 6 people took place on tatamis and we, 8 people sitting
on the chairs, learned that the GK was the teacher and that she will
play the first guest role, while the marine skirt (MS) will be the
second guest! Was I excited! Even more when I realized that the
helper was a man, and the comments were given by a woman. Only Eric
San was a known face to me and he remained in the kitchen this time
too.
I didn't have enough ears and eyes and hands to note all the
differences between the two events I assisted. Comments and colors
were different from last week, hostess acted faster it seemed to me,
or I was too busy writing down, helper made less ups and downs, even
forgot to come back from the kitchen to bring utensils from hostess
to guests to admire. I think the GK-1st guest-teacher made a silent
but eloquent signal to the woman who was explaining things to us
because she stopped talking, lifted, kneeled and brought the tea
caddy and the tea spoon to the GK.
Despite warm and numerous invitations, nobody wanted to go take
tea at the end of the ritual. Finally, one man, facing the male
helper holding the sweets plate, took his shoes off, knelt, bowed
and ate his two brown rectangles just in time to bow again when
receiving his tea bowl.
The husband of the GK was there to take pictures, and he was even
asked a question by the speaker, about samouraï. I don't know what
his position is in the Urasenke school but he made people change
places explaining they will have a better view. I have seated myself
to have a perfect view of the hostess' hands, how she holds the
whisk. Very firm grip, minimal gesture when whisking, no green
splatter around the bowl.
Only the 1st guest made the slurping noise (I was waiting for it,
having read about it) with her last sip.
All in all, it was a very different event than last week. But it
raised more questions than answers so I must go back again. KH

3krishh
Sep 23, 2006, 7:54am Top

3rd one, 1999

Saturday September 4th, hot and humid (85oF)
1:30p.m. I wasn't authorized to go in the tearoom at 1:15 but I was
able to sit at right angle from the hostess, who would be GK! She
wore a most elegant and simple green kimono, with a forest green obi
(large belt) enhanced by a cream knotted cord. Her maid was the very
first guest I saw August 14, wearing her same black kimono. The guest
was...the male helper from August 21. Did I say he was handsome? The
comments were to be made, just a little before the beginning of the
ritual, by a man wearing blue, I can't say kimono because it looks
like a large and long pant-skirt, he will be BM from now on. The two
other men were known faces to me: one commented on my very first
attending and was going to be Cameraman, the last one was Eric San
who would stay behind the scene as usual.
BM asked ¨red tickets¨ to sit on the tatamis right now, and to hold
questions till the end. All the ritual went on in great silence so
we could hear perfectly the one and only meaningful sounds that
hostess and guest wanted to do. I didn't have to listen to comments,
only to look and see and write down as much as I could.
I noticed how it seemed natural for this lady to walk and kneel, go
up and down, even her origami manner with her fukusa (silk napkin -
this one was beautiful, a green complementing her kimono for one
face while the other was cream with 3 round black motifs stamped in
the corner) was elaborate but not angular. She permitted herself to
play with the water when she had the ladle in hand, either when
getting water from the kettle to the teabowl or from the water pot
to the kettle, making gentle sound without splashing (try it
yourself...). She had a lighter way to handle the whisk, a bigger
smile when answering question about the tea caddy. Well I was
charmed. But I am sure to have correctly seen the matcha in the tea
caddy when she wiped it before it would be brought to the guest: the
powder was exactly the same green as her kimono! This lady is a
chanoyu virtuoso.
I felt so privileged to have witnessed such an event that I wandered
in the japanese garden, with the koi fishes resting themselves on
the rocks of the pound shore, taking pictures. I also wondered why
it was so difficult to obtain an answer to a simple question like:
is there a color code about fukusa? All I could take for sure is
that a man will never have a red one while a woman will never take a
purple one. KH

4krishh
Edited: Sep 23, 2006, 8:04am Top

4th one, September 4 1999

At 3:30, I was entering the tea room for the last time this year. GK
and her husband were there, with ¨red tickets¨ already sit on
tatamis. It was really hot as the sun hit the windows.
I didn't write down details this time. We were only three people
sitting on the chairs so I permitted myself to change places and
position to have a better view. GK was sitting in line with ¨red
tickets¨, cameraman now was making comments, BM was the guest and
the last guest was now hosting! I wouldn't have exchanged my place
with his, being host after - and in front of - the teacher! His
performance allowed me to check information gathered in books and on
the net: a man don't use his fukusa to lift the cover of the kettle,
GK had used hers. Things went pretty well, even with shaky hands he
managed to take the matcha powder out of the tea caddy without
breaking the peak - I realized later that it must be important to
leave the green peak undisturbed because it will eventually be
observed by the guest if he asks for the tea caddy.
But he was sweating and he had to make two unusual gestures: the
first one was to wipe his forehead and upper lip with his paper
napkins, and the other one was trying to lift up with bowl in hand,
three times. I think he got his feet stuck in his pant-skirt. He had
to lift a foot first, I then realized that each time one sits or
lifts, one makes one fluid move, neither putting a hand on the floor
nor a foot before (try it yourself).
This time, I also studied the manners of the ¨red tickets¨. No one
can kneel all 45 minutes. They sit, kneel, sit again, cross their
legs. Many haven't yet eaten their sweet yookan (japanese goodies
made of agar agar and red beans) when their bowl was put in front of
them. Many tried to bow their head and join their hands in harmony
with the server. Only some turned the bowl twice before drinking,
very few turned the bowl again before putting it down.
The matcha itself looks like a lovely soft green mousse in the bowl
but I saw frowns and scowls after the first sip. Not all the bowls
were empty when they were removed.
I hope I didn't bore you all* with all these details but I think I
would share it because books usually give us short description of
the ritual. I even found differences, for example the amount of
matcha powder used for one bowl. Ukers The Romance of tea indicates
¨a spoonful¨ and ¨one ladle¨. Jane Pettigrew The Tea Companion
recommends ¨generous 1/2 teaspoon¨ and ¨8 teaspoons of water at
185oF¨. I saw GK put 2 chashaku (the bamboo spoon) in the bowl and
not all the water she has taken in her hishaku (bamboo ladle). KH

*originally sent to Teamail(c) group

5krishh
Sep 23, 2006, 8:08am Top

5th one 2000

I recently received japanese bowl, bamboo whisk and matcha tea. I
went to the archives of Teamail (August and September 1999) to remember all
the details of the 4 ceremonies I attended last summer at the Japanese
Garden of the Jardin botanique de Montréal. Well, I ended up with spinach
broth :-(
So I decided to go to the last 2 ceremonies of this summer, on
Saturday September 2nd. I just watched the first but I finally drank matcha
prepared by Urasenke students: lovely color, absolutely no algae or fish
aroma, and definitely no vegetable flavor. Not bitter according to my taste. I
loved it! And I concluded that the matcha I received was either out of
date or of poor quality, despite the metal tin with double lids (metal and
plastic) and foil bag containing the green powder. Now I know for sure that I
won't drink that stuff but I can use it as pigment on watercolor paper :-)

I think cha-no-yu is growing in popularity around here because there
were more chairs than last year and we were 16 willing to taste at the
very last ceremony of the season.

6krishh
Sep 23, 2006, 11:55am Top

Since 2000, I’ve visited Japanese Garden quite often but on August 26 this summer, it was my first cha no yu since the inauguration of the tea garden (2002) http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/japonais/jardin_the.htm
So I was delighted to discover that the ceremony is now including this element.
Another big change :double row of chairs but no « red ticket » sitting on the tatamis during the ritual. The room is now climatised but AC is turned off during the performance, allowing the speaker to talk at normal volume.
As usual, all the participants enter and sit. Speaker presents all of them, name and playing role.
Hostess wets the stones in the tea garden while guests are standing at the gate.
She greets them and they sit on the bench. She enters the tea room by a side door.
Then the first guest go and wash (purify) his mouth and hands.
He goes inside the tea room via a glass sliding door, while the 2nd guest proceeds with her washing then follows him. He removes his sandals, then crouches as if entering a small door. He goes and sits – on his knees – in front of the tokonama, bows, admires, then goes to the kettle, sits, bows, admires and finally go to his place as first guest. 2nd guest follows in order.
Helper brings them sweets, bowing. Hostess brings fresh water, then whisk in bowl, and tea caddy and spoon., at last ladle and used water bowl. Helper closes the door.
Hostess and helper are now sitting at 45° from the public. Quite different from the profile angle I remember from previous observations.
Other difference : it seems that there are four questions that first guest can ask to hostess. About form and lacquer of the tea caddy, who created the tea spoon and what is the name of said tea spoon. This time it was « Calm of the evening ».
Once hostess has answered, she retreats, then guests bow in front of tokonoma, kettle, one after the other, and leave as they have entered.
« Red tickets » are now authorized to drink tea sitting on the tatamis or on their chair. 16 removed their shoes and kneeled on tatamis, while 5 remained seated. Many left before all have been served.
KH September 2006

7krishh
Sep 23, 2006, 11:59am Top

On September 2, I was back at the Japanese Garden, eagerly waiting to see my idol, Mrs K, the teacher, as first guest. I was glad to recognize second guest : she was the speaker for my second observation, back in August 1999.
Speaker began to talk without presenting all the participants (I asked why after the performance and was told he made a mistake, he forgot. There were 3 back in the kitchen.)
While hostess and guests were in the garden, speaker told us that water used to make the tea came from the same source they used to purify themselves.
I have already seen this (asian) hostess perform and I realised she was more at ease, almost smiling now.
Mrs K used a special bamboo utensil to cut and pick her sweet, examined the bowl after drinking her tea (she deftly wiped off the bowl where her lips touched it). Second guest bit on her sweet. While she drank, Mrs K asked what tea has been used. Only first guest can talk to host. Mrs K asked second guest if she wanted more tea then said to hostess to stop.
Tea caddy and tea spoon were brought back to be admired, all four questions asked (this chasaku’s name was « streaming water »).
21 « red tickets » removed their shoes and crowded on tatamis to eat sweets and drink tea.
I asked about the new angle of hostess and helper and was told it was because of informal character of the ceremony.
KH September 2006

8Eurydice
Sep 23, 2006, 6:09pm Top

Krishh: As a lurker, and even more of an outsider, I have so enjoyed reading your observations and responses to the tea ceremonies you attended. Thank you for posting them!

I'm glad (but not surprised) that you didn't give up on matcha when you tried some that was so unappealing. (- Though I suppose none of us would be true tea lovers if we did that!)

Many thanks....

Julie

9chamekke
Edited: Sep 24, 2006, 1:34pm Top

Hello Krishh,

Thank you for sharing your observations of the tea events in Montreal. They're not only fascinating in their own right, but I also found them helpful (to me as a practitioner) in understanding how you as a newcomer perceived these events. Since I do tea demonstrations from time to time, I'm always eager to learn what people enjoy or find interesting, what they don't care for (and why), and which elements remain puzzling to them afterwards.

Your postings contain quite a lot of questions, explicit or implicit, that I thought I might nibble away from time to time. So here are some preliminary responses:

KRISSH: I was amazed by the size of the bowl: the whisked tea is supposed to be drunk in three and a half sips, the bowl would have been able to accomodate a french café au lait!

It's easier to understand the "disproportionate" size of the bowl when you bear in mind that the matcha and water must be whisked together inside the bowl itself, rather than being prepared in a separate vessel. Therefore the bowl must accommodate the bamboo whisk (which is not small) AND allow sufficient area for the whisk to be used.

KRISSH: The man who explained the ritual and answered questions told us that matcha was used: the tea leaves are reduced in powder that must be kept in the freezer to avoid mildew. I suppose that the ornate tea caddy doesn't go in the freezer. ;)

You're right! And in fact, the matcha is stored in the freezer only when the package is still unopened, to keep it as fresh as possible. Once it's opened, it is not returned to the freezer. Matcha needs to be consumed fairly soon after opening the package, as matcha does go stale after a few weeks ... and stale matcha is really not suitable for drinking. A key to telling the age of the matcha is its colour. It should be bright green, as you've noted. If it's begun to yellow, or turns a more subdued shade of green, it's old and should not be drunk. However, you can still use it in cooking if you like (that's a perfectly acceptable non-Chadou use!).

KRISSH: why it was so difficult to obtain an answer to a simple question like: is there a color code about fukusa? All I could take for sure is that a man will never have a red one while a woman will never take a purple one.

I've wondered about this one myself, and maybe the Montreal people weren't sure either :-) It's true that men usually use a purple (dark) fukusa whereas women use a red (or sometimes orange) one. I did read one theory that said that red fukusa were introduced out of consideration for elite women who studied Tea - the idea being that if they wore lipstick, and lipstick remained on the tea bowl after they drank from it, the stain would not be apparent on the red cloth. But that doesn't make a lot of sense to me; for one thing, women began participating in Tea only recently, and also the fukusa is never used for cleaning the bowl!

In general, the fabrics that men use in Tea are usually darker and more sober than the women's; even their kobukusa and tea "wallets" are generally less flamboyant in design. So that explains the darkness of the men's fukusa, if not its particular hue! Women, on the other hand, use brighter colours: namely red (especially in the Urasenke school) or orange (especially in Omotesenke) fukusa. Occasionally people do also choose a patterned fukusa for variety, such as something with a seasonal design. But the first and main fukusa is a plain (solid-coloured) one, and many people only own and use that.

So those are a few responses to begin with. I'll add a few more if you like!

By the way, that tea set you bought almost definitely contained substandard (and probably very old) matcha. The tea in these kits is usually very poor indeed, and in addition it probably sat in its package, unrefrigerated, for goodness knows how long. If you want to prepare matcha at home, you're best to order it from a reputable tea shop or from Japan via the internet. It really does make a world of difference! I'm glad that you persisted and were able to taste the real thing, which IS truly delicious :-)

10chamekke
Sep 24, 2006, 7:12pm Top

KRISSH: I even found differences, for example the amount of matcha powder used for one bowl. Ukers The Romance of tea indicates¨a spoonful¨ and ¨one ladle¨. Jane Pettigrew The Tea Companion recommends ¨generous 1/2 teaspoon¨ and ¨8 teaspoons of water at 185oF¨. I saw GK put 2 chashaku (the bamboo spoon) in the bowl and not all the water she has taken in her hishaku (bamboo ladle).

When thin tea (called usucha) is being prepared, it is usual to add two moderate scoops of matcha powder. If you accidentally add more (or less) with the first scoop than you intended, you can adjust the size of the second scoopful accordingly.

Next you draw a full ladle of hot water from the kettle, add half of it to the tea bowl, and pour the remainder back into the kettle. The remainder is always poured back. If you accidentally draw less than a full ladleful to begin with, again you can compensate by pouring a bit more than half of it into the tea bowl. (There are a lot of these micro-adjustments in Tea!)

One note: because this full-strength tea may seem overly strong to people who are not used to it, sometimes my teacher encourages us to use a little less matcha (or to add a bit more water) when we give it to newcomers at tea demonstrations. So your mileage may vary! However, the "two-scoop rule" is what you'd normally see in the tea room.

11krishh
Sep 25, 2006, 8:28am Top

Chamekke, thank you so much for your practitioner answers. And yes, I would appreciate more of it, when you feel so inclined.
Julie, you're very kind.

12chamekke
Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 1:11pm Top

Well, I'd also like to compliment you on your notes. You're extremely observant! It's actually a little challenging for me to think of anything that needs expanding on.

Incidentally, it sounds to me like the members of the tea group (students) were taking turns as host and so forth. This is customary for students in Chadou, because it gives them valuable real-life experience, and helps in overcoming performance anxiety. (Most of us feel very intimidated the first time we have to perform Tea in public!) Naturally the students have different levels of expertise, according to how long they've been studying; so this would explain most if not all of the differences you perceived. For example:

But he was sweating and he had to make two unusual gestures: the first one was to wipe his forehead and upper lip with his paper napkins, and the other one was trying to lift up with bowl in hand, three times. I think he got his feet stuck in his pant-skirt.

(I have sooooo much sympathy for this man! It sounds like he was nervous, all right.)

Things went pretty well, even with shaky hands he managed to take the matcha powder out of the tea caddy without breaking the peak - I realized later that it must be important to leave the green peak undisturbed because it will eventually be observed by the guest if he asks for the tea caddy.

Ah yes! We're taught (in the Urasenke school at least) to remove the two scoops of matcha from the "one o'clock" position of the tea mound. As you say, this leaves the main part of the peak unbroken. I'd never thought about it before, but perhaps the reason for removing the tea there is that from the vantage point of the guests, the mound appears to remain unbroken... at least, until it's time for the guests to examine the caddy more closely.

Chadou is full of little touches like that, involving a preoccupation with the guests' position. For example, you may notice that the host always turns towards the guests when standing to go back and forth. The one exception is when taking out the waste water; the host turns away from the guests so that they are spared the "distasteful" sight of the waste water. (Also, if there is any unexpected spillage, it won't come anywhere near them!)

Krishh, are there any specific questions you have, or areas that you'd like to know more about? I can easily waffle on and on, but I'm not sure what you'd like to hear. Just let me know!

13krishh
Oct 2, 2006, 9:55am Top

Chamekke, I haven't noticed the host efforts but the speaker highlighted it in the last two ceremonies. Since you allow me to ask, I would like to know what can drive someone to study cha no yu? I mean it is a long, never ending journey. You not only make tea, you have to explore every aspect of japanese tea culture. It is physically demanding, practice can be fastidious, it is time and money consuming. Would you share your personal impulse?

14chamekke
Oct 22, 2006, 3:38pm Top

Hi krishh,

I thought this question may deserve its own thread (I've been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks!) ... so my answer is over in http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?newpost=1&topic=3157. Please take a look... and feel free to ask any follow-up questions you may have.

15gscottmoore
Sep 23, 2007, 8:19pm Top

I can make no sense of the dating on the messages preceding mine on this thread. But then I'm very new to LibThing.

I just wanted to commend Krishh on her activities at Montreals' botanical garden. Most of my tea ceremony experiences have been in such places. I've done a number in Japan as well, as my experience with tea has been one of a score emanating from my interest in Japan starting with fiction--as best I can remember.

The kind of mind that can go to a tea ceremony, as you did, taking notes, puzzling over the minutiae, the arc of gesture and all the rest--clearly here is a mind disposed to chado!

I find chado a microcosm in of the Japanese mind and spirit. Their thoughtfulness, attentiveness, attention to detail. We have often commented on a strange distinction between the tea ceremony and, pardon the apparent vulgarity, the preparation of cocktails in very elegant bars.

When in Japan we like to go to high-brow bars, have a drink and loosely plot the evenings' activities. Note that we *always* sit at the bar. Frequently we enlist the aid of the more attendant bartenders to help in procuring restaurant suggestions. In this way we've encountered amazing places that most Americans with limited abilities with the language (such as us) could rarely find.

But we note a long string of "ritualistic" activity that is involved with making even the most simple cocktail. I frequently order a martini. The gin and vermouth are placed before me with the label not exposed, then it is turned a half turn to face me. The cap/cork is removed with a graceful flair and a clean white cloth is used to wipe the mouth of the bottle, then it is poured in another graceful gesture. Then the mouth of the bottle is wiped again, the bottle replaced on the bar, and turned once again to face the drinker.

I could go on and on having witnessed it scores of times, and with varying aspects of personality imbuing it. One of the many things these licensed practitioners have in common is that at the conclusion of the drink-making they set the drink down, then slide it the remaining six inches till it rests before the customer. One one occasion in Osaka we had a very narrow width on our end of the bar. Nevertheless the bartender set it down as far away from us as he could on the surface, then pushed it forward the remaining two inches. Clearly an "unnecessary" gesture that conformed to the ritual.

This process extends to all the other facets of preparation, which I've found are countless once you begin recognizing and cataloguing them. For instance the bartender shakes the shaker at just such a height and angle and as the shaking concludes he begins slowing down the speed of the shaking and concludes just so. This reminds me of the conclusion of whisking in the tea ceremony, in which, if memory serves, the whisking concludes with the hiragana for "no" or の (for those that can display it).

Additionally, just as sweets provided in the tea ceremony, there are "otsumami" provided with a drink. These are technically salty snacks to be had with drinks, but we have had vastly distinctive provisions: prosciutto (the best I may ever have had), two paper-thin shavings of mind-bending chocolate, etc. These at Legend in Okayama City. Each night we went they were very different.

More frequently they are salty but one can never guess what kind of curiosity it might be. Even in the case of one wonderful bar (Bacchus in Morioka), the provided only peanuts, but they were amazingly good and a special kind they only have in Japan.

Admittedly we don't drink in ex-pat bars, joints or "snack bars" which are more about flirtation, flattery, and buying fake "champagne" for the waitresses than about snacks of any kind. We drink in the very sophisticated version the Japanese have of the western bar. Us usual, they kick our butts in refinement, elegance, quality, service and all the rest.

Krishh, in your notes above you indicate there is no smiling and no talk and in your description it seems the apex of formality and seriousness. On the occasions that I have been privy to such ceremonies (admittedly not all were in "demonstration" mode in a park or museum), they seemed more personable. I am reminded that in my meager readings there is mention made of poems appropriate for the occasion (and so I've stashed a few to be ready), as well as convivial discussion which specifically excludes talk of business, finances, politics, and other concerns of the "vain world outside" the tea house. In the same way, while my wife and I savor our drink, our atmosphere, and the unvarying attentiveness of the service personnel, we limit our discussion to the here and now, and put train schedules and other concerns of the travelers aside.

Ah well I've rambled again. One of my more notable traits.

To shorten it all, I could have said many thanks for relating your explorations, and for the calming mindset it put me in just to read it. That's one of the things about the tea ceremony--where it takes your mind while you witness it. Just as you and others have mentioned elsewhere in these threads, the state of mind tends to stick for a while.

I'm struck curious that by simply reading about your experience, some of that state of mind has come to me as well.

-- Gerry

16Eurydice
Oct 3, 2007, 6:15pm Top

Gerry, I enjoyed reading your post more than any I've come across in months. Japan possesses a fascinating culture, which I am ever viewing in fragments. As consistent as your observations are with what I do know, they're things I've not had a chance to see, myself. Thank you for sharing, musing, and 'rambling' on!

As for the dating, the original discussion began last year. I'm glad to see it revived. :)

17gscottmoore
Oct 5, 2007, 11:10pm Top

Ah, the thread sputters again!

Thanks for your comments. And tell me if you find any enclave in LibThing that seems to have any mindful activity worth noting, Asian or otherwise. I've only been around a few weeks but mostly I find the Asian/Japanese Culture/Lit areas woefully quiet. It's my focus just now.

I think it's really more about the mechanism of LibThing. You have to diligently snoop to find people really going at it.

Yeah; thanks for making me feel I wasn't in a telephone booth talking on a dead line.

-- Gerry

18krishh
Oct 8, 2007, 4:21am Top

Thanks, Gerry!

tea swiftly whisked
endeavour begins for guest
at once forever

thé battu au fouet
hôte attentif première fois
engouement soudain
KH

19Eurydice
Oct 8, 2007, 11:57pm Top

Gerry: you're welcome. The pleasure is mine. A bit like hospitality, very often making and offering conversation, or contributions to it, seems to stir up more. Some groups are very quiet, nearly, if not entirely, moribund; but I find a good deal going on, albeit of mixed quality, and none of it Asian (that being an interest, but not a current focus).

Kris, I like your haiku. :)

20krishh
Oct 12, 2007, 3:07pm Top

Thanks, Eurydice!

talking not allowed
elevate hishaku give
an ear: water laughs

tout est silencieux
haut placée l'eau dégoutte, rit
écoute-la chanter
KH

21Wosret
Oct 23, 2007, 2:30pm Top

What a great thread. :)

I've seen two tea demonstrations: one at my university, put on by the Japanese International Students Association, the other at the Royal Ontario Museum, overseen by the head of a prestigious school of tea in Japan. One day I hope to attend a "real" tea ceremony, one not put on for demonstration purposes, but I appreciate that the demonstrations are there to teach we outsiders as much as to train the students performing the ceremony.

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