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)