茶の湯 in サンフランシスコ ・ Japanese Tea Ceremony を San Franciscoで

表千家四方社中の茶の湯ブログ Japanese Tea Ceremony Blog for Shikata Shachu – Omotesenke

Leave a comment

ハロウィーンはお盆みたい・Halloween is like O-bon

Balle-à-leunettes 10.jpgJack-o’-Lantern・ジャッコランタン
Balle-à-leunettes 10” by Man vyi. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I wonder if Halloween is now celebrated in Japan as well.  I sometimes see kimono accessories or tea utensils featuring “Halloween” motifs like black cats or bats.


Halloween (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”) is a yearly celebration on October 31, the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.  It is the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (= hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.  According to many academic scholars, Halloween is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals.


Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating in costumes, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting candles, etc.


*「お菓子をくれないといたずらするぞ」(Trick or treat)、と言いながら近所の家を訪れること。それに応じてキャンディーなどをあげるのがならわし。

In the Celtic tradition, this time marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year.  It was seen as a liminal time, when the spirits or fairies could more easily come into our world and were particularly active.  The souls of the dead were also said to revisit their homes.


So, whether the Celtic tradition or the Christian feast, Halloween is a time to remember the dead, and the occasion is celebrated with lighting of candles and food.  Does it remind you of Obon?


Originally posted on October 31, 2014

Leave a comment



In the tea vocabulary, October is called “nagori” (lingering).  Only a few tea leaves remain at the bottom of the jar opened the year before, and you feel a tinge of sadness to see them all used up.  That’s “nagori.”  Autumn chills deepen in this season.  “Naka’oki” is practiced in hiroma (a large room) to bring furo (a brazier) closer to the guests and remove mizusashi (a water jar) away and behind furo.  Because furo is placed in the middle of tatami, it is called “naka’oki” (center placement).


From long before, there has been otema’e to place furo in the middle of naga’ita (a long board).  However, it was Joshin-sa’i who established “take-da’isu hitotsu kazari” – an arrangement to place furo in the center of the bottom board of take-da’isu.



Originally posted on October 24, 2014

Leave a comment

紹鷗茄子・Jo’u’o’u Nasu


I was surprised to learn that there are two cha’ire named “Jo’u’o’u Nasu“.  They are both Chinese made, considered as o’ome’ibutsu.  They were both named after their owner J’o’u’o’u Takeno.  This one was used at Kitano Great Tea Event, hosted by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1587, and is now held by Sanritsu Hattori Museum of Arts.


When the owner’s name is adopted as the name for a tea utensil, it is customary to take the first owner’s name.  However, when a subsequent owner is more famous, that name may later be substituted.


The other “Jo’u’o’u Nasu” has J’o’u’o’u’s writing (that reads: “miwotsukushi“) and signature at the bottom.  For that reason, it is also referred to as “Miotsukushi Nasu.”

Originally published October 27, 2014