In November we had some visitors in our keikoba (practice space). Some came for tea from abroad…
… and some were local small ones, who reminded us that there is nothing like good sweets!
Every year as the weather turns colder in November we put the brazier away and open the sunken hearth in the tearoom.
This time of year is celebrated as New Year for people involved with chado for it is now that the present year’s new tea is first opened and shared.
The guests gather and eat zenzai, a traditional sweet made of azuki beans and mochi…and a lot of sugar.
The tearoom is prepared for the first charcoal fire to be lit in the hearth.
Guests gather around and watch as the fire is built.
Once the fire was built everyone had the chance to drink both thick and thin tea. There were several great groups of guests throughout the day making this another joyous occasion for sharing time and tea.
As the last guests left, those of us who had been serving during the day got a chance to join our friends and enjoy some tea as well. Always a treat.
Once again we teamed up with Ścieżka (http://sciezka.art.pl/), this time for an outdoor festival dedicated to the beautiful leaves at the Warsaw Botanical Garden.
Paintings were hung around the garden and the guests were left to wander and wonder at the beauty of nature as well as the fantastic art.
Although chilly, you couldn’t have asked for better weather or better people to spend the day with. Thanks to everyone for coming out and an extra big thank you to all who helped serving our guests and yet again to Ścieżka for working with us once more.
Near the beginning of every school year the Japanese Studies Department at Warsaw University hosts a two day event full of presentations called Japan Days. Several of our members gave presentations and we also held a tea presentation once again with Ścieżka for the opening of the event. At the same time we hosted tea gatherings in Kaian (the Japanese tea room in the Warsaw University library) both days for all comers as well as for the guest lecturers visiting for the event, Zivka Serper and Hirano Keiichiro.
On September 10th the members of Sunshinkai (the Warsaw Urasenke Association) were invited to participate in a joint event with Studio Plastyczne Ścieżka at the Studio Teatralne S/T.
Ścieżka asked us to combine a contemplative tea environment with their art show in order to put the guests in a calm state of mind while viewing the pieces.
To do this we had the guests all enter the gallery/theater as if they were coming into a tearoom. First they put on white socks, used a tsukubai, and finally entered through a nijiriguchi (small crawl-through doorway) into the dimly lit room.
Without any additional explaination we started a tea presentation in which three Sunshinkai members arranged flowers, built a charcoal fire and made and drank thick tea on a tatami stage.
Afterwards the lights came up and the guests were invited to view the art.
About an hour later the guests were asked to sit in two lines where they were served tea in temple style before quietly leaving.
The feedback all seemed good, both the guests and the members of Ścieżka thought the atmosphere and environment lent themselves to a peaceful and contemplative experience.
We always enjoy working with Ścieżka, thanks to you all, the next event lined up sounds equally interesting.
Mike gave us the chance to hold a complete chaji at his place for him and a few of his students during our stay. We took the opportunity to share some of the tea life we encountered over the past year.
Sorry, for although we had a full kaiseki there are no pictures to share, we were a little too busy. Ula and Aaron shared the host tasks, Ula prepared the Sumi and thin tea and Aaron served the kaiseki and thick tea. Mike was the first guest with Lindsey and Tom as second and third.
We took the Polish kaigu (set of blue ceramic utensils for the daisu) for Mike and brought back many great memories and experiences (as well as a beautiful futaoki Mike made) that will stay with us always. Another great day of tea and togetherness.