Ueda Soko Ryu

Though our podcast, TeaLife.Audio, I got in contact with a teacher for the Ueda Soko Ryu of Tea. I have wanted to learn more about the warrior type of Tea since forever. Early in November Adam came to Norway to teach Stig and I Ueda style of Tea.

Before this weekend I had very litle knowledge of the Ueda school, most of what I knew came from our discussion with Adam in episode 44 of TeaLife Audio and the tea duet. Adam came on a Thursday early in November. We started the tea weekend with him serving us usucha, and I was stunned at all the differences. I had seen some of the differences in the aforementioned YouTube video, but once I saw it live I saw so many more differences. The order of the temae is identical to Urasenke, enter the rom, purify natsume then chashaku, clean chawan, make tea and clean up in reverse.

I used to say that I could see if it was a Ura- or Omotesenke temae before the host 14962789_10154518361405977_6479442786093834497_nenters the tea room, just by the
placement of the mizusashi and the bow in the door. In this case you can see the different even as the door is opened. The way the door i pushed open is distinctly
different in Ueda Ryu. Right hand opens the door the first few centimetre, just as in Urasenke, but then the door is pushed open holding your left hand flatt in a cutting motion parallel to the floor.

There are too many difference to go though all of them, but two very distinct ones are the folding of fukusa and holding hishaku in a resting position. The resting position can bee seen in the photos included in this post.

During the weekend we recorded three episodes of TeaLife Audio. These will be episodes 48, 49 and 50.

During the weekend I got to see a few great temaes, and do some my self. I enjoyed the way Tabidansu is handled in Ueda Ryu. The middle shelf is taken all the way out and placed on the upper shelf. That way you have much easier access to the mizusashi.

We concluded the weekend by having a chaji that we jokingly called two-host-no-guest. During this chaji we did Urasenke style tsubo kazari, showing off the storage teajar. Then we opened up the jar that had been sealed up since my hatsudate early in 2016. Adam selected the koicha he wanted to drink. I poured out usucha and found the selected koicha, as shown on the photo underneath.

We concluded the weekend with a Kuchi-kiri chaji
We concluded the weekend with a Kuchi-kiri chaji

After resealing the chatsubo we exited the tea room and took turns grinding the koicha and having our meal. Once we had enough koicha we headed back to the tea room and I did Ueda style koicha followed by Adam doing Ueda style usucha. I enjoyed the event very much.

More photos from the weekend

 

Tenchaban

Iimage1-3finally got around to building a tenchaban, so that I can do tea in a seated position. I got extra motivated when one of my students hurt his knees. The only way he could continue learning tea was if he could sit on a stool. The first few weeks we used a stool and table from IKEA. This worked surprisingly good, though the lack of tables for the guest provided us with a few challenges. Where does the guest put the sweet tray? On the floor feels odd when your sitting on a stool, even though you would place it on the floor when in tatami. Also the guest etiquette got messy when there was no where to place the chawan.

I found some measurements for a tenchaban in Chanoyu Quarterly #39. I did deviate a bit from them, but only by 1-3 cm. My table is 90cm x 90cm, and it is 60cm underneath the table top. This allow the host to slide their knees underneath if they want to sit a bit closer.

The guest tables are 90cm x 45cm, so one fourth of a tatami.

My tables are constructed using simple modern techniques, with out any significant joinery. Not nearly as nice as the ones you can buy, but 1/30th of the cost 🙂

I have used the table for many different temae already, and I’m very happy with it. The guest tables are a bit wobbly, but I think that I will be able to fix that with minimal work. Other than that it has worked out perfectly. Though I still need to make a smal shelf for the kensui.

img_0173

I painted the table black with the most glossy paint at the store. I can’t say that it became very glossy, but still it looks nice. The black paint highlights any spilled matcha or water drops. Especially the tea is hard to clean of the surface. Therefore I’m considering lacquering it with a clear lacquer.

Last bowl of 2015

I wish you all a happy new year! I enjoyed this year´s last bowl of tea with my wife by candlelight. 2015 was the very first year I had the opportunity to do temae every single day, lets hope 2016 offers the same opportunity.

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.