Among the many Korai-style Korean ware tea vessels, the Mishima style is one that is still very often preferred in the Enshū school of tea ceremony. We often refer to a utensil as “in the Mishima style”, but frequently forget to appreciate the deeper variations and traits of the style. In this article I have attempted to shed some light on how even in one specific style of earthenware the variation in method and aesthetic value can be as great as the elaborate application of zōgan motifs or senkoku illustrations, and the simplicity of the creamy konahiki surface or a single brushstroke as seen in the hakeme style.
Tea ceremony is a beautiful practice that encapsulates most of Japan's traditional arts. Although the learner in the beginning of his practice focusses mostly on the perfection of the execution of a service of tea, once somewhat accustomed to it the road opens to an exploration of peripheral elements such as choice of implements, flower arrangement and appreciation of calligraphic scrolls.
Tea ceremony and meditation may seem unrelated to sports activities as weightlifting or building a business. Nevertheless, those activities are related in a very elementary way. This significant trait of all three activities is something that we often forget in our day to day lives. But remembering this can help us to live more thoughtfully, patient and happily.
For a true matcha product the tea bushes are tenderly cultivated under well regulated shades and hand-picked for harvest. This allows the manufacturer to select only the freshest tenderest leaves. It goes without saying that in this case the amount of tea that can be produced is limited. It thus doesn’t surprise that a matcha of this quality is near to impossible to obtain in the West.
As human beings we need times to reset, to relax and to take a breath. We can’t continue moving forward at all times. Sometimes we need to pause for a moment to refuel, or we need to stand still to be able to fully take in what is going on in our immediate surroundings. Doing all this ‘on the go’ is immensely exhausting.
In this post I answer several questions about the beginnings of my journey as a tea master. Tea changed my life for the better. Discovering Japanese culture as a young adolescent in Belgium completely changed the course of my life. I could have never imagined the way things turned out for me.
First what I feel is important to indicate is that the term ‘tea ceremony’ is a mistranslation. The word ‘ceremony’ only partially captures what the practice really is and calls for misunderstandings about the concept. It is a ritual but one that is not only used for ceremonial purposes. It essentially is a rite of hospitality, and that is why we prefer to refer to it as ‘the rite of tea’.
People tend to ask me what attracts me in tea ceremony. Isn't it restricting to be controlled by set movements and ways of doing things? Doesn't that limit your freedom to be creative?
Sōsen employs the daisu grand-sideboard in a large reception room for the preparation of a bowl of tea. The service presented in this video is the basic winter service of thick tea.
Regardless of the tradition or style in which a service of tea is conducted, one single such service comprises of several stages the host observes to provide his guests with a bowl of tea and an enjoyable occasion. Each individual stage has a specific function in the unfolding of the service. I will lay out the basic structure of the steps of a basic service of Japanese tea ceremony according to the praxis of the Enshū school.