Last day of furo

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 09.41.57From my place next to the crackling fireplace I see the tree naked but for a few rain soaked leaves framed against a grey sky. With the lingering taste of tea still in my mouth, I’m anticipating opening the ro tomorrow, and starting a new season of Tea.

At the last day of the season I’m considering what I did and didn’t do during the season that has passed. The one Tea-thing that I most regret, is that I neither hosted nor attended any Tea events during the furo season. On the other hand, I did temae every single day, and my students did a total of 42 temae. In addition we made 13 regular and 9 dictionary episodes of TeaLife.Audio podcast.

Looking at my temae-record early in October I noticed that I had done quite a few temae nine times, and for no reason in particular I decided to see how many temae I would be able to do nine times during the season. It is odd, I can still remember the years that I struggled to do each temae just once during a season, and this season I have done 12 temae nine times, and I have done 28 temae once or more. I’m blessed to be able to do Tea so often.

I have read somewhere that writing down your goals make you much more likely to reach them. For the upcoming season my goals are to do temae every single day, host weekly keiko, build a table for ryurei, host hatsugama and at least one more event.

Day 200 and the bowl that was

2015-05-21 07.29.30Last week, I reached a new milestone in my morning tea project – I have now done temae 200 days in a row. I did not do anything special for this day, but I did have an accident instead. While I was taking the koicha tea bowl off the shelf, I managed to bump it into another Tea bowl that came tumbling out of the shelf and crashed into my freshwater container. So, in addition to a broken Tea bowl, I also now have a mizusashi with some awful scratches on the lid.

I’m going to try make the tea bowl that was into the tea bowl that is. To accomplish this,  I will try my hands at kintsugi (repairing with lacquer and gold).

The main concept of this technique is that you glue the pieces together using lacquer and some other medium like flour. This creates a solid binding of the pieces. You have two options for finish. You can either add a top layer of lacquer and polish this, or you can add a layer of lacquer and sprinkle it with metal dust. The dust will spread out in the lacquer and it will look like the repair was done with metal instead of lacquer.

Actually, I won´t be doing kin-tsugi, but rather “tin”-tsugi since I’m using tin and not gold to do the repair (gold was too expensive for my very first try at this technique). Tin will give the end product a look like highly polished silver.

We talked a little bit about Tea repair in one of our podcasts, and there are some pictures here if you want to see the technique in use. My Tea teacher, who is also a co-host on the podcast, has some experience with Tea repair (the pictures I linked to are all his projects). So I talked to him, to get some advise and to figure out what equipment I would need.

I ordered all the necessary items from the Watanabe web page. I ordered A01, A03, B06, F01, F03, F13, K53, and E02 – I hope that is all I need. It was easy to order, I just e-mailed them the list of products that I wanted, gave them my address and said I wanted to pay with PayPal. The very next day I got a invoice,  and hopefully soon I will have the utensils 🙂

I will be posting my progress under the label. Just click the link and you’ll find all the posts

Some online resources

A step by step guide:

http://www.kintugi.com/honurushi-kintsugi-step-1/

A few nice videos:

https://www.youtube.com/user/togeii/videos

 

Day 150

Taking a quick Tea break, before I go back to bulding my Tea hut (more on that later). Today was the 150th day in a row that I did temae, which is a new record for me!:)
Happy Easter to you all!

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 😉 )

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 reminisced 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 one 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

1k with Senpai

Tokonoma with Jiku, Chabana and Tsubo
Tokonoma with Jiku, Chabana and Tsubo

A while back, I noticed that I had just performed my 1.000th temae. Since I didn’t notice this ahead of time, I didn’t do anything special for the occasion. To remedy that, I wanted to do something for the 1.024th temae instead. If you’re not a computer geek, and wonder why 1.024 is a special number, have a look at the last section of this post.

Celebrating 10.000.000.000 temae

When I decided to celebrate my 1.024th temae, I counted forward based on the idea of doing one temae a day. By perfect alignment of the stars and a portion of good karma, my 1.024th temae would be on the day my senpai from Australia would come visit. A perfect occasion!! I had to forgo morning tea that day to enjoy my 1.024th temae with her.

During my Midorikai stay, Wendy was doing her second year at Midorikai. Even with a slight age difference, we became good friends. She helped me learn some of the teamae I was not able to study during the regular classes, and she introduced me to a kimono- and Tea teacher. She is touring the world, and as it happened was in Norway this auspicious day 😉

Chabana
Chabana

As you might know, when you invite someone to a Tea ceremony, you traditionally try to choose dogu that have special meaning for your guest. With that in mind; I picked a chaire one a mutual friend (the kimono- and Tea teacher Wendy introduced me to) had helped buy. I used my commemorate Tea bowl because it is the most special bowl I have.

Also, I put my chatsubo on display, because Wendy was with me in Japan when I purchased it. I have never used it for anything before, I just had a irrational wish to own one after reading about how the Tea masters of old valued their chatsubos. A chatsuboto is used to store Tea leaves between the harvest and when you start making Tea from the leaves. So it wasn’t part of the ceremony as such, but rather as part of the ornament.

After Tea, we enjoyed some Norwegian moose meat, french and italian wine and a lot of good conversation. It was great to catch up with my friend from down under.

Preparing Tea
Preparing Tea

Why is 1.024 a round number?

First of all you need to know that I’m a computer person. It is my profession and one of my passions. In the world of computers, everything is either power on or power off. Power on is represented by the number 1, while power off is the number 0. This gives rise to the binary number system: Instead of using the numbers from 0-9, computers only use the numbers 0 and 1.

I won’t bore you with the calculations, but suffice to say that in the binary system, 1024 is written as 10000000000, a very round number indeed.

 

 

 

Temae 1.000

 

Illustration by digitalart at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Illustration by digitalart at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Yesterday I recorded my 1.000 temae. I started keeping record in 2002 and now twelve years later I have done temae 1.000 times. In addition to my temae there is another 312 temae performed by other students.

My 1.000th temae was otsu-bukuro. I regret that I did not do something special. I should have used nicer dogu and had a guest over. Instead it was just another Morning Tea before heading to the office.

I’ll try to make 1.024 special instead. For people that are into computers 1.024 is a much rounder and nicer number then 1.000 anyway.

Do you want to get notification when a new blog post is available?

I have made a new page explaining the different ways you can get notification of new posts. You’ll find this page here or by clicking at the top of the page where it say “Subscription”

 

 

 

 

 

Why not stay with one temae

DSL = Days since I last did this temae, TT = Total times I have done this temae
DSL = Days since I last did this temae, TT = Total times I have done this temae

When answering my survey, a reader asked why I keep changing the temae rather than repeating the same one until I’ve mastered it. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Since I’ve started keeping records of all the temae I do, I have wanted to try to perform every teamae at least once each season. A quick glance at the table on the right, reveals that I have a ways to go with this endeavor. The DSL (Days since I last did this temae) column shows that there are 11 temae that I have not performed for over five hundred days! Most of these I have neglected for good reasons, such as that they require too many participants etc.

If we ignore those “long forgotten” temae,  I am proud to say I met my goal of having done the rest of the temae at least once during Ro season. Prior to 2013, I only did Tea a few times each season. With 32 different temaes, it stands to reason that there was no way I could repeat any single one many times if I were to have the slighted hope of getting through them all.

The chart below shows the number of temae I have performed each month going back to 2002. I’m thrilled that my numbers have soared as a result of my Morning Tea project. Now that I make Tea every day, I have occasionally performed one temae over and over again to improve my mastery of it. Still, most days I do a different temae than the day before.

This chart show how many temae I have done in any given month.
This chart show how many temae I have done in any given month.

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons that I keep changing temae often, is that I am easily bored. Especially if I do the easier temaes several days in a row, I find that I just don’t enjoy the experience as much. Ryakubon has been a victim of just that. When travelling, I usually bring dogu for either ryakubon or chabako. If I bring ryakubon dogu, there is no variation in the temaes no matter how long the trip lasts. Often, I get restless to try a different temae pretty soon.

I do have some temae “streaks” where I have kept with the same temae over longer periods. If you look at the next table (showing my longest streaks) you’ll quickly realize that for me, variation is important. Most of the streaks I do have, are part of my morning tea project.
So, to answer my curious reader: By changing temaes often, I ensure that I’ll do (almost) all of them each season, and it also helps make the Tea experience more varied and enjoyable.
The longest temae streaks
The longest temae streaks

 

 

 

 

Outdoor tea

The 17th of May Norwegian celebrate the constitution. This year was the 200th anniversary for the constitution. I was going to spend the night from the 16th to the 17th at my mam’s house. Unfortunately I had forgotten all my dogu at home. Next day my wife brought the dogu when we meet up at some friends for brunch. Because of this I ended up doing Tea in their garden all dressed for national celebration. As you can see my wife brought me the zogue chashaku and a brown chasen, not the most common dogu for Ryakubon. However, I should not complain since I got it specially delivered 🙂

The grass was nice and fresh to. My friends finished putting it out the day before. Not bad to be able to do temae on brand “new” lawn.

The day after I decided to bring my dogu out into the forest. A friend and I walked about 10km, at the end of our trip we enjoyed some matcha at a wooden bridge. I enjoyed doing tea in the forest a lot. A few people passed by while I was making tea, but beside them the air was filled by the sound of flowing water from the river below. I was able to fit the chawan, “natsume”, chashaku, chasen, chakin and fukusa all inside the kettle. This way it was easy to carry, and minimum risk of damaging the dogu. I usually bring the “furo” (aka primus) when I go for hikes so all I need to bring extra for tea is my kettle filled with dogu.

I decided against bringing a real natsume. I figured it would be difficult to transfer the tea to a natsume out in the forest. Therfore I settled for a koyama-en special “natsume” 😛 There was a unforseen consequence of using this “natsume.” The lid had some tea stuck to it. When I placed it down on the tray it all came of, making a nice Tea-circle.

If you haven’t answered the survey, please do so by clicking on this link.