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:

A few nice 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!

Oyu for mizuya

2014-10-15 08.16.44When I wrote the post Mizuya Hygiene in June I thought a lot about what my practice in the mizu-ya. In the aftermath I made one adjustment to my practice. I used to take the kettle straight from temae-za to the sink, where i emptied it. I than place it back on the heater, to dry untill I was ready to leave the tea. My thinking was that this way the kettle got the absolute maximum time on the heater to dry.

Writing the hygiene post got me thinking, and I decided to try something different. I now bring the kettle from the tea room to mizu-ya. I use the hot water to clean chakin, chasen and chawan. I leave the chakin in the chakin-arai and pour hot water onto the most dirty part until it returns to it’s usual white. The chasen I leave in the chawan, and fill the bowl with water. Then I give the chasen a quick wisk. Most times there is no tea what so ever left on it after that. But sometimes I have to use my fingers to get of the rest.

Doing it this way requires much less scrubbing and manual cleaning of the utensils. By using water that is near boiling I guess I also kill off some extra bacterias that would have survived with my previous cold water strategy.


Tea in unusual places – Lindesnes

In this series of posts I will be making short movies of people, mostly yours truly, making Tea in unusual places. I hope you will enjoy these movies as an inspiration to do Tea outdoors. Please leave feedback using the comment field.

Tea in Unusual Places 1 – Lindesnes

Lindesnes is the southernmost point of Norway. The light house there has been important for sea travel to Norway for many, many years. During the second world war the lighthouse was fortified, and today you can wander the corridors of the old bunkers. I enjoyed Tea about 100m away from the lighthouse down by the sea.

Thanks to my wife for having the patient to film the temae, and thanks to Anne Norman for letting me use her music in this series of movies.

Temae 1.000


Illustration by digitalart at
Illustration by digitalart at

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.

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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.

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