One Life, One Meeting – in Czech Republic

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I love drinking maccha (Japanese word for powdered green tea) in a beautiful chawan (tea bowl).  I took some tea bowls from my chawan collection as  hand luggage to Czech Republic.  Despite the fact that they could break in transit, I still wanted to show them to the workshop’s participants over there.  I also decided to perform a simple tea ceremony of my own kind of tea ceremony.  For me, actually using a tea bowl is the best way to explain a bit of traditional Japanese culture.

I was not able to carry (or to bring) everything with me.  I contacted the Japanese embassies in London and Prague a week before my departure.  They were very helpful but I only found a contact for Urasenke groups on both sides.  I tried to borrow some utensils for a day or two from Urasenke in Prague.  They were rather reluctant and I understand their concern of an accident.  

I did not want a Japanese tea ceremony that was too perfect anyway, so I decided to find something for my kind of tea ceremony.  I managed to find a couple of vessels for mizusashi (fresh water jar) and kensui (waste water pot) in the sotorage room at Jurta pottery.  We found a самовар (Russian kettle for tea making) in a cafe in Decin town-centre and borrowed it for a day.  Mitate is a concept that consists of giving something another meaning of use.  I was quite satisfied with this utensil setting.

My kind of tea ceremony went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  We had a jolly good time.  What I wanted to show was how to enjoy drinking maccha in a beautiful chawan.  I tried to put the first wabi tea-master Rikyu’s spirit into my Cha-kai (tea party).  And I believe that Rikyu did not  care about a ceremony at all.  He just wanted to offer his hearty hospitality to his guests, as if this was their last meeting ever.

(photos by friends at the symposium)

About Gas

Hi, I am a wood-fire potter, living and working in the Japanese tradition in Tring, Hertfordshire (UK). Following mediaeval potter's wisdom, I design and build simple wood-fired kilns called 'anagama' for long period of firing and 'raku-gama' for quick (glazed tea bowl) firing. My anagama firing usually takes 9 - 10 days.
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