Chaji is for me the ultimate tea experience; unfortunately it requires a great deal of knowledge about tea both from host and guests. Each time I hold a chaji for some of my (tea) friends, I wish I could invite all my friends to chaji. The problem is that most of them do not know anything about tea. I wish I could introduce my friends to Tea through a chaji.
My new project is therefore to try to modify the chaji, and especially the conversation, in order to move the knowledge requirement away from the guests to the host. I have been thinking a lot about it, but it hasn’t yielded any conclusions. Therefore, I decided that I should just give it a try.
I decided it would be easier to have only one guest, so that the host does not need to deal with coordination among the guests. Since this would be to be a learning experience, I decided that I should start with a guest with some knowledge of tea, before trying it with someone new to tea. I’m calling my project contemporary chaji.
As my first guest, I chose to invite a girl that has done tea, and has knowledge of both usucha and koicha temae, but hasn’t been to a chaji before. Mainly, the chaji went smoothly, with one exception. I hadn’t given enough thought to the hassun, and how that would work with only one guest. Normally the first guest gets time to eat and drink while the other guests are served. Since there were no other guests, there was no natural time to eat the hassun. I’m going to contact some teachers in the hope that they can help me with this issue.
My next contemporary chaji will be with a guest who has done Ryakubon a few times, and has seen some other temaes. I will let you know how it goes.