Acquiring the utensils of the way – Zuiun

zAs you walk the path of Chado and learn more, most people eventually want to acquire some utensils of their own. There are tons of web site that sell the basic, chawan, chasen, chashaku and chakin. However once you start looking for anything outside the basic things get trickier. I have found a few English web sites that do sell dogu. However, the do usually not have a very good selection and their prices as also usually much higher than the stores in Japan.

I do neither read nor write Japanese so I thought it would be impossible to order dir
ectly from Japan. With help from a friend in Japan I got Zuin to send me a bunch of catalogues. I guess I could have tried to contact them directly about that, but I did not.
I wrote them a minimalistic order, with as little English as possible:
Shipping address:
Shipping price?
728113 – Furosakibyobu  price 19.600
728150 – Red chawan  price 3.520
216 187 – Chaire price 5.200
Pay with VISA, ok?


I sent it on e-mail to the shop. Two days later I got two PDF’s in return and a short e-mail. The first PDF was payment instructions. Luckily these were in English. Second PDF was a quote for the items. Some of my catalogues were quite old and the prices were apparently outdated. I made changes to the order PDF as they had done some mistakes. For instance they had not understood that I wanted several of some items. Also I used the PDF to chose among the three shipping methods they had lined up, and to remove some items that I thought got to expensive with the new prices. Then sent them back the PDF. They quickly updated the PDF and returned it the same day.

Looking over the order I was quite happy. The payment instructions was easy to follow. Three days after entering the money transfer into my internet bank I received a confirmation that the money had been received and that the order would be shipped immediately. Indeed the day after I was informed that the order had been shipped. Now I’m anxiously awaiting my new dogu’s arrival.

In summary ordering dogu from Zuiun directly seems to be possible even if you do not speak Japanese. You might have to go trough ordering the catalogues first. They do however post some of their catalogues online, see here for one excample. Also I found google translate a usfull tool for browsing the Zuiun web page.