In January, seven of us piled into the car and made our way down to Kraków for their group’s first tea celebration of the year.
As always it was great to see, visit with, and share tea with our sister group Senshinkai.
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This was the first time many of our members had the chance to have tea in Kraków and our hosts made it fine and memorable for us all.
The pleasure of going to another group’s tea gathering and fully enjoying the role of guest is unmatched. Being the recipients of such generosity always reminds us that we should be making this trip more often.
Many thanks to all our friends in Senshinkai. Here’s to another year filled with chanoyu.
We were asked to share tea in order to commemorate the first kyūdō competition of the year.
In Japanese arts there is an old tradition of holding “the first of the year” celebrations. Following suit in kyūdō, the First Shot of the New Year is practiced. In chanoyu we indulge in the First Chasen (chasenzome) celebrations.
Once the competition ended the archers gathered and sat in two rows so that they could easily receive their tea.
Everyone was served dark and light sweets preparing them for the tea.
Krzysiek and Ula made tea simultaneously. One with dark, one with light utensils.
The forms used allowed the hosts to make tea in a nearly mirror-image manner, placing the tea out for the guests without getting in each other’s way.
The form with the dark utensils is called hongatte (standard, with guests on the right of the host)
That with the light is called gyakugatte (guests seated on the opposite side than standard)
It was indeed a pleasure to share a bowl of tea with other practitioners of the Way. All the best for the New Year to all kyūdō practitioners!
“First tea event of the year” is a bit of a misnomer since technically we had classes and practices prior to this; however, Hatsudate means more than just what the word itself stands for. Hatsudate is the first time each year we have the opportunity to thank all of our supporters and friends, welcoming guests to participate in a tea gathering (chakai) celebrating them while ringing in the new year.
We needed to divide the group into four in order to manage in the space.
The fare was rather simple
Guests each had a tray of food, sake,
and a bowl of soup
before trying the main sweet.
Once the food was finished the guests entered the tearoom and watched as the charcoal fire was prepared.
The green utensils on the daisu this year were made in Poland and have a fish scale pattern along the upper edge which many of the guests likened to dragon scales.
The fire was built and rebuilt over the day and into the night.
Once the fire was ready the guests shared a bowl of koicha (thick tea), had a different sweet, and lastly had a bowl or two of usucha (thin tea).
All in attendance seemed to have a good day and we enjoyed being able to share the New Year celebration. Thank you to everyone involved! We look forward to sharing chanoyu with you all again many times in this and every new year.