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

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立冬と小雪・Ritto’u and Sho’usetsu

Chigusa, like Prince or Sting, only needs a single name. (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)

Copyright (c) 2014 Smithsonian Institution


Ritto’u starts around November 8 and continues for 15 days until Sho’usetsu.  Winter is finally upon us! It marks the beginning of winter, which lasts until the day before Risshun.


And Sho’usetsu runs for 15 days from about November 23.


The sun’s rays are getting weaker, and the chill in the air deepens.  But the dead of winter is still sometime off.  This season is called Sho’usetsu (小雪)(“little snow”) because even when it snows, it doesn’t amount to much.


In the chanoyu world, November has been the time for tea jars full of tea leaves, which had been freshly picked in early summer, to start arriving from tea fields of Uji.  “Kuchikiri no chaji” was a tea event for braking the seal of a tea jar, taking out the tea leaves, grinding them with a mill, and tasting the freshly ground tea.  Fresh tea leaves, after the harvest, were kept in jars and stored in cool places high up in the mountains to pass the summer.  Tea jars let just enough air to pass through, which aided the fermentation of the leaves.


November marks “kuchikiri” and “robiraki.”  It is an important month with meaningful events.





Originally published November 4, 2015


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本圀寺金襴・Honkoku-ji kinran



Honkoku-ji kinran” is the name of a fabric pattern in which mandarin ducks (lovebirds) are depicted looking to the right in one line and looking to the left in the next.  It was so named because it was used to decorate the scroll given to Honkoku-ji, which contained a Mandara painted by Nichiren.


Honkoku-ji, located in Yamashina-ward, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu, is one of the grand headquarters of the Nichiren sect.  When Mitsukuni Tokugawa (徳川光) held a memorial service to his birth mother at the temple, it received a permission to change the temple’s name from 本寺 to 本寺.


この変形の「鴛鴦金襴(えんおう きんらん)」では、蓮華の間に鴛鴦が段替りに織り出されています。

A variation of this pattern is “En’o’u kinran,” which shows lotus flowers between mandarin ducks.



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名残の道具・Utensils for Nagori


October is the season of nagori.


Chaji in the season of nagori is rustic by its nature.  In the tearoom, therefore, shoji screens may have become less white, but they are left untouched.  Holes may be simply patched.  No elaborate repair works are done.  Generally, green bamboo sticks are used with yakimono (grilled item), but white bamboos are used instead.  Dishes for muko’uzuke are not matching as usual, but deliberately mismatched as “yosemuko’u” (random muko’u).  Even chawan with repairs is suitable for use for nagori.

「宗心茶話」(堀内宗心)世界文化社 2010

Originally published October 28, 2015