Back in 2009, I wrote a post titled Why begin with Ryakubon. Here, I wondered whether it would not be better for new students to start learning Irekodate instead of the traditional Ryakubon. The ease of transition from Irekote to Hakobi, and my own experience of starting with Hakobi usucha were my main reasons for preferring Irekodate as a starting point.
Ryakubon vs Irekodate
Now I’m actually considering taking on some new students, and this made me reconsider the topic. Earlier this year, I timed most of my teamaes for a while. I found that Ryakubon takes me 7 minutes to perform, while Irekodate takes 15 minutes. I was very surprised that Irekodate takes twice as long. I always imagined the difference to be much less.
I also made a rough list of the main warigeiko topics related to each of the temaes. This was just a way for me to compare the complexity of the temae. As you can see from my list, Irekodata has almost twice as many warigeiko points as Ryakubon.
These findings convinced me that there are good reasons to start with Ryakubon. I decided to stick to this traditional startingpoint for learning Tea, and I will start new students off with Ryakubon.
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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Today I did temae for the first time since October last year. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I had to look up the steps for Ryakubon in a book. According to my temae record I did Ryakubon last time 4th of May 2009.
Since 2007 I have done approximately 30 temae less with each passing year. Which make the sad declining numbers 124 in 2007, 91 in 2008,68 in 200, 33 in 2010, and finally only 3 times in 2011.
I could say that the reason for the decline is that I have been terrible busy. It is true I have been busy with a full time job and a full time (equivalent) study, but it’s not reason that I did hardly any Tea. I managed to see countless episodes of TV series in both 2010 and 2011. I think the truth is more in line with lack of inspiration and enthusiasm. I guess it faded into oblivion along with the Norwegian Tea Association. I hope the inspiration will return. Today I did Ryakubon twice sitting at my dining table. I can’t sit in seiza due to a knee operation last Friday. With time I should be able to sit seiza again.