1: When walking in the tea ceremony room, people should not step on the intersections of the tatami mats. Historically, there were occasions that the ninja hid under the basement and attacked from the beneath.
2- Tea ceremony is sometimes associated with Kyoto but it was actually born in Osaka. Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) of Sakai City designed around 40 tearooms (chashitsu) in the Kansai region and introduced the 7 principles of tea ceremony that have been followed today.
3- Toyotomi Hideyoshi who built Osaka castle loved the tea ceremony, he had a tea ceremony room made out of pure gold. But the story goes that he had disagreements with Sen no Rikyu and had him commit seppuku.
4- The cracks and the fading of colors on the tea ceremony bowls are considered more beautiful in Japan. Japanese people think imperfectness makes things more aesthetically pleasing (wabi sabi) that goes along with the minimalistic Japanese philosophy.
5- The most senior guest of the tea ceremony gathering must be the closest to the tokonoma (the part of the wall where the scroll is hanging) and the guests must be able to see the tokonoma on their right side.
6- The tea ceremonies were originally held in a tiny room (6 m2) with a low ceiling so that people had to leave their weapons and armors outside and truly feel connected. For the same reason, everyone was supposed to drink from the same bowl which may not be considered hygienic today.
7- There are just so many rules of tea ceremony and the training usually takes years. Just to give an example, there are rules of setting up the charcoals under the pot which may be considered a tiny detail.
8- The rules of the tea ceremony changes by seasons. The host changes everything (the scroll, the flower, type of tea, depth of the bowl, the way chashaku is put on the tea caddy) to show how seriously he/she is taking the ceremony and how each moment is unique.
9- The flowers in the tea ceremony room are different from ikebana, we cannot use flowers with the strong smell and we must make sure the case looks natural.
10- The tea whisk, chasen, is handmade and it is made out of a bamboo stick by using a simple knife but nothing. It has 80 tips and it is curled over and over again for a wider spread in order to make the tea frothy.
11-There are different tea ceremony schools that follow somewhat different rules. For instance, the Urakuryu tea ceremony school which was founded by the great shogun Nobunaga and followed by the Tokugawa shoguns teaches to put the silk cloth on the right side of the sash because the samurai kept their swords on the left side.
12-The most famous grand tea master alive today is Sen Soshitsu 15, who is the 15th generation of the Rikyu family and who holds 2 Phds , one from China and one from S. Korea. He started practicing tea ceremony when he was 6 and became the grand master at the age of 41. He never drinks coffee.
13-The reason why there are no chairs in a tea house is because the floor is a tatami floor. This floor is made from reeds, straw or rush grass and were seen as a luxury in ancient Japan. Traditional houses have tatami floors and only certain shoes should walk on its surface. The way the tatami floor is laid is important as it might bring good or bad luck into the house.
14-The Japanese Tea Ceremony used to be a ‘men only’ event. Up until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868 AD), women were not allowed to attend the tea ceremony. During this time only rich nobles such as warlords, samurai and monks could afford to drink the matcha tea.
15-Older tea houses have a ‘half height’ door. This has ties to the samurai era when the warriors had to take off their weapons and armour before entering the tea house. This was to promote equality between the guests and the belief that ‘all people are equal in the way of the tea’.
16-Something that isn’t equal is the utensils used. There is a ceremonial ‘hierarchy of utensils’ and is influenced with how expensive and important the item is. This influences how the host carries the utensil, what order they are brought in and out of the tea room and at what height they are carried. The tea bowl and tea container are the most treasured utensil, and are brought in first and carried carefully. The waste water bowl is the last utensil to be carried in and is only held at waist height.
17-There are a range of tea bowls that you can choose from if you do host a tea ceremony. There are summer bowls which are shallow to cool the tea, or winter bowls that are deeper. Different tea bowl creators like to use a certain material, thickness or colour when they make their wares. The more expensive bowls are made by hand and any imperfections are prized and put on display during the ceremony.
18-Due to novels and movies such as Memoirs of a Geisha, the Japanese tea ceremony has become linked with the grace and sophistication of the geisha. During the spring, geishas can be seen preparing sweets or meals for the tea ceremony. Maikoya Osaka is the only place you can reserve geisha tea ceremony online.
19-There is a certification process that celebrates the different levels of mastery of the tea ceremony. This is very important if you attend a special tea school, such as the famous Ura, Omote or Mushanokoji schools.
20- Raku raku tea bowls, that are made by the Raku family who were doing this over 450 years and who were instructed by Sen no Rikyu, usually sell for $500 a bowl. Each generation create the clay and put it asleep for 70 years for the next generation to use it. You may need to get in the waiting list now to be able to purchase the bowl a few years later.
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