Looking back on 2014

Memorable Tea moments

I arranged Hatsugama for three friends in my yojo-han. This was a nice gathering. My old teacher travelled in from a town about an hour away to participate. It was great to catch up with him again. Due to the distance between our homes, we meet all to seldom. But that in turn made this Tea ceremony all the more special.

I started in my new job February 3rd. I had been looking for a new job for a while, and was very excited to finally be able to start at the new place. To commemorate the event, I bought a special chawan. In the morning before going to the office for the very first time, my wife and I shared a bowl of koicha using this chawan. My wife was also considerate enough to buy me a specail Tea bowl for this occasion, but I didn’t bother to use it. (PS. In case you wondered, whenever the content is not too full of errors, it is because I have forced my wife to edit the text. Sometimes she also make some changes ­čśë )

I’m no fan of Valentine┬┤s day, mostly because it is an imported tradition, but any way I surprised my wife with an impromptu tea gathering in the morning. I had spread rose petals in tokonoma and chosen special sweets. Definitely the best Valentine┬┤s celebration I ever arranged.

In June, an old friend from Australia came to visit me. We shared a bowl of Tea – which happened to also be my 1024th (1K for computer geeks) temae. We had not met in several years, so we also found time to┬áreminisced about our old adventures together.

Later in the year, I did Tea outdoors in several mountain locations. All of them memorable for their own reasons. The most special┬áone was at Dovre. We had excellent weather during our camping trip, and before heading home I wanted to record a Tea in unusable places video. I found a nice location and started making Tea. As I was scooping the Tea out of the natsume, all the Tea blew off the chashaku. Maybe I’ll make a bloopers version based on that event.

2014 in numbers

  • 354 temae during 2014
  • I did 170 temae in the 148 days from 24th of february untill 21st of July. During this time, I did at least one temae every day.
  • 5 temae under Ula-sensei
  • 3 temae under Aaron-sensei
  • 2 Trips to Poland
  • 26 days without Tea
  • Temae outside Norway
    • Lituainia 2
    • United Arab Emirates 6
    • Latvia 1
    • Denmark 5
    • United Kingdom 3
    • Poland 8

2014 in pictures

Gyakugate

IMG_1909When I visited Warsaw I was inspired by my teachers story of dairo to try gyakugate again. I rearranged my room, having
made two cuts for the RO it was quite easy. Just had to lift up all the tatamis and shift things about. After five minutes my room was all changed.

It was strange sitting on the opposit┬áside of the room. One of the first things I notice was that the room has much less “decorations” on one half than the other. The part which the┬áhost usually can see is quite decorated with the tokonoma, a window, and some white birch pillars. While the wall to the left and in front of the host is just a plain wall with only one small window between them. I had not thought about this before I was looking at the room from gyakugate perspective.┬áNeither was it planed that way.

IMG_1914The thing is that what I can see from the gyakugate temae-za is much the same that the guests will se in a regular temae. So in other words I have made a room in which I’m forcing the guest to sit with their back to the most interesting part of the room. This is something I should take in to consideration if I’m ever designing a new tea room.

It was a bit of a mental challenge to remember all the different things that changes during gyakugate. It does not help that it has been 7-8 years since I last did it. After a few attempts I feel I got the hang of it again. I should probably do this at least one week every year. It would be nice to try it in February. Since that is the dairo-month and dairo is always gyakugate.

IMG_1891According to one of my senpai having the guest on the left side used to be the regular style, and it was Rikyu that wanted to be different and had everybody on the right side. Not sure if it is true, but it is a funny thought non the less.

 

106 days

For 106 consecutive days I did Tea every day as part of my morning tea project.

Mine Entrance
Entrance to the mine

This Saturday was suppose to be number 107. However, I traveled to Sweden to dive a abandoned mine and forgot both chashaku and kensui at home. I did enjoy a bowl of tea, but no temae. There was no good place to do Tea there either…

Monday I was back in my tea-room and had a nice ryakubon temae.

These are some images from my trip to Tuna H├Ąstberg. Not the type of image I usually post, but maybe you will enjoy anyway

This shaft takes you 80m underground
This shaft takes you 80m underground

 

Crystal clear water
The water is crystal clear.

 

A sign underwater, left from the time when the mine was active
A sign underwater, left from the time when the mine was active

 

Valentine’s Day

Usually I’m not a great fan of the comerzialised American traditions that seems to grow in popularity in Norway. My wife on the other hand loves both Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. We have had Thanksgivin parties most years, but hardly any Valentine’s celebration. In the beginning my company always had a skiing trip around Valentine’s Day so I was never home.

This year I surprised my wife with a single rose and a light sprinkle of rosepetals in tokonoma for our morning Tea.  Normally roses are considered inproper for Tea because of the thorns. For this occasion I made an exception, and I also removed the thorns. Also she got a sweet instead of the bread she usually have in the morning.

I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day and that there is someone speciall in your life that you can share it with. Maybe next year we can do it the Japanese way, I much prefer that ­čśŤ

Okashi at Valentine's Day