Thursday, June 2, 2016

Japanese High Tea Etiquette, Pt 2

Japanese High Tea — Part 2
An Elaborate Affair That is Often Very Costly


A Ceremony in Japan That is Hundreds of Yeard Old —Peculiar Forms That Are Inviolable—Strict Etiquette of a Japanese Festival—How the Host Acts


During the second part, a dinner is served and the tea made. With a little square of purple cloth the host wipes each utensil, then with the bamboo spoon, cha-shake, a little tea is taken out of the jar, cha-ore, and hot water-dipped from a highly embellished iron kettle with a dainty dipper and poured upon the tea in the bowl. This mixture is then whipped to a froth, and a boy carries it to the guests. 

It requires considerable practice to produce a froth quickly and without splashing; the instrument used is a whisk made of a piece of bamboo, split into shreds at one end until it resembles somewhat a paintbrush with a hollow center. 

The tea is light green in color and finely powdered, so that the bowl often looks very much like a sort of thick green cream. In the first part of the ceremony the tea is koicha, or very thick, and during the last part it is usu-cha, thinner. It costs from five dollars to six dollars a pound, and cannot be kept long. Very few Europeans can drink it without feeling very unhappy, for in the first place the taste is not agreeable, and then it is so intensely strong, that it is sure to disagree with them if they do manage to swallow it. 


The utensils used in the second part of the ceremony are carried in by the host, each separately and in the following order: 


1. An iron kettle on a stand. 
2. The daisu- A table of mulberry wood, about 2 feet high. 
3. Two cha-ire, or tea jars, in brocade covers. 
4. The mizasachi, or pot for fresh water, which is stood under a little table. 
5. The cha-sen, bamboo whisk; the fukusa, or little cloth; the cha-shaku, or caddy spoon, and lastly, the little wooden dipper, shaku. 

If there is only one guest the contents of the bowl should be swallowed in three gulps. After the guests have each drank, the empty bowl is passed from hand to hand to be admired. Then the host washes all the tea things and wipes them and the ceremony is ended. — Red Bluff Daily News, 1892


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