5th of January I held Hatsugama, the first kettle of tea. I had invited five friends, but unfortunately two was unable to attend due to some emergency overtime at their company. A small meal was served first, then koicha. I enjoyed the event, and hope that the guest did too.
These are some photos from the event. Unfortunately I forgot to sneak a photo of the guests.
I have written many posts about the construction of the Tea-room. This saturday I held the very first chakai in my new room. In advance of that I had to make a new door, again! Still it is some way off perfect, but it works (somewhat).
Seven guests came to have Tea. I divided them into two
“seki” orseatings.With four in the first and three in the second. I served thin Tea, using a Tabidansu. For expedience I had a extraTea-bowls hidden in the tabidansu. That way I could start preparing the Tea for the next guest as the first guest was drinking and looking at the bowl. It worked out nicely.
In the tokonoma I had a simple flower arrangement. I wanted it to have autumn colors, but that was hard to come by. As the leaves hasn’t started changing color, and the flower shop was all about pink and white.
One thing that I became aware of was that it was a bit too dark. I should at least have a light window lower in the tokonoma wall so that the flower are illuminated. So that might be my winter project. I might do with a bit more light overall.
Along with the flower I hang my favourit scroll, Kansashite-shofu-o-kiku. Sitting quietly
listening to the wind in the pines. I love this saying, as it so fully capture what Tea means for me.
For sweets I had made koshi-an and wrapped it in a steamed dough. One of the guests fiance had thought my wife to make that dough for a Philippine dish called sipao, which reminded me a lot of the Japanese “man”. So I though it a nice sweet, but it became a bit larger than anticipated.
All in all I feel it was a successful first chakai.
Saturday I visited a friend to enjoy Tea. He probably has the only Tea-Hut in Norway. In this post I’ll try to convey to you what a wonderful oasis he has created in the middle of town.
The tea house is located in the garden of a town house. The entire property is enclosed by a wall. The section near the tea-house is yellow-ish with a roof tile lining the top. It looks and feels like a proper japanese wall. As you come into the garden you can just glimpse the Koshikake trough the trees. A path of flat rocks laid into the ground lead you past the waiting area and through a gate to the inner garden. The Tea hut is placed next to a small pond in which carps are swimming happily. You are greeted by the sound of running water from a small artificial waterfall. A small wooden bridge leads from out to the nijiriguchi. The inside space is two mats, with kabe-doko, that is the scroll is hanged on the wall with no alcove. There is no electric lighting in the hut. The light all comes from one big round window, and a section of shoji facing towards the pond. Next to temae-za there is a small cabinet in which utensils are placed. The host can easily open the cabinet and reach inside to bring in the utensils. The hut does not have a interior roof, but the structure carrying the straw roof is visible from inside. This gives the hut both a rustic feeling and a greater height under the roof. It is a great feeling to sit in this small enclosed space, listening to the water outside.
He build most of the hut himself. He learned how to do joinery, make shoji and such. The only part of the house he got professional help with was the roof. But even there he was working alongside the professional, and when the professional had to return to Denmark he finished the roof him self.
The hut was built in 1993. The Japanese ambassador to Norway, Nonoyama, gave the hut it’s name in 1994; Ungetsu-an. The meaning of the name is the hut of cloud and moon. When walking the roji the surrounding wall combined with a myriad of trees and bushes remove all traces of the surrounding city. From the roji, all you can see of the outside world is the clouds.
I have made a Facebook group for people in Norway doing Tea. Since we do not have a active association, I thought it might be a good idea to have a place to share events and thoughts about Tea in Norway, with out having all the overhead of reviving the association.
It is a private group to keep the membership and discussion relevant, and the language Norwegian.
I hope all Norwegians with an interest in Tea will join and make this a active community. To the rest of the world I hope you have something similar in your country, and if you do please let me know how it is working.