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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四海波静・Peaceful Four Oceans

Dry sweets tray

山中塗前端雅峰作・而妙斎宗匠花押入り – 北加支部40周年記念品 (2010)
Yamanaka lacquer ware by Gaho Maehata with the current 14th Grand Master’s (Jimyo’u-sa’i) signature (Kao’u)
– Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Northern California Region in 2010


「四海波静」(shikai nami shizuka), which literally means: “The waves are calm in four seas.”  What it means to say is that the world is under harmonious governance and in peace.  These words are also especially poignant for Americans of Japanese descent.


Chanting that begins with “Oh, Takasago!” (Takasago ya!) is one of perennial favorites as a celebratory song at weddings.  In the Noh play “Takasago” there is also a stanza that begins with “Shikai nami shizuka.


四海の波は静かで、天下泰平の御代である。めでたい相生の松のように皆が仲良く暮らせるのは、 ひとえに帝のすばらしい御治世のおかげである。我らにとって、わが君の深い恵みは何ともありがたい。わが君の恵みのなんとありがたいことだろう。

The four oceans surrounding this land is peaceful. We live in a peaceful and stable land. It is all thanks to the wonderful reign of Emperor that we all can live harmoniously like the celebrated
Paired Pines. For us all, the generous blessings of our sovereign are truly appreciated. How grateful his blessings!




Originally published November 11, 2015


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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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十一月、冬の到来を待つ・November, Waiting for Winter’s Arrival

Come November, the air definitely gets chilly, thus announcing the imminent arrival of winter.  It is also the season of Robiraki” in the tea world.  “Robiraki” literally means opening of the “ro” (a sunken brazier built in the floor), which has been closed up during warmer months when a furo was used.  November also marks this blog’s anniversary.  It started as, and continues to be, a place for our shachu to chronicle our studies and practice of chanoyu.  The more we learn, the more we share – and everybody benefits.  We appreciate your kind support in our endeavor.

Let’s review some seasonal “me’i“(銘) (names) for November appropriate for tea utensils (based on another blog available here (Japanese only).

(Alternate Names for November)

  • Shimofurizuki (霜降月)(the month of “descending frost”)
  • Shimotsuki (霜月)(the month of frost)
  • Yukimizuki (雪見月)(the month of “snow sighting”)
  • Yukimachizuki (雪待月)(the month of “waiting for snow”)
  • Kagurazuki (神楽月)(the month of kagura)(November in the lunar calendar included Winter Solstice, and kagura – music for gods – was often performed around that time)

(Top “Me’i” Suggestions)

  • Ritto’u (立冬)・・・One of 24 solar terms.  Around November 7.  The beginning of winter, which continues through setsubun (February).
  • Sho’usetsu (小雪)・・・One of 24 solar terms.  Around November 22.  Around this time, snow begins to fall.
  • Shigure (時雨)・・・Intermittent rain that falls between late autumn and early winter.
  • Shikimatsuba (敷松葉)・・・A “blanket” of fallen pine needles to protect against frost – or to add visual interest.
  • Tatsuta-hime (龍田姫)・・・Goddess who turns mountains into crimson leaves (because leaves at Mount Tatsuta were particularly beautiful).
  • Kinshu’u (錦秋)・・・Autumn when crimson leaves are “beautifully woven like a brocade”
  • Gengetsu (弦月)・・・Half moon.  Jo’ugenn-no-tsuki (上弦) is the first half-moon after the new moon.  Kagen-no-tsuki (下弦) is the second half-moon.Also yumiharizuki (because the moon looks like a bow and the string).
  • Oninoko (鬼の子)・・・”Devil Child” referring to a bagworm
  • Shoto’u (初冬)・・・Early winter.
  • Fuyubiyori (冬日和)・・・A nice day in winter.
  • Fuyumeku (冬めく)・・・To become a very wintery weather.
  • Tanjitsu (短日)・・・A short day in winter.
  • Shimoyo (霜夜)・・・A cold, frosty night.
  • Shimogare (霜枯)・・・Withering plants due to frost.
  • Kogarashi (木枯し)・・・Strong, cold winds that blow in autumn and early winter.
  • Ebisuko’u (夷講)・・・Dedications to Ebisu (a god of commerce) by merchants to celebrate good business.



(十一月の異名) 霜降月 霜月 雪見月 雪待月 神楽月

  • 立冬・・・二十四節気のひとつ。11月7日頃。冬に入り、節分まで続く。
  • 小雪・・・二十四節気のひとつ。11月22日頃。雪を見る頃。
  • 時雨・・・しぐれ。秋の末から冬の初め頃に、降ったりやんだりする雨。
  • 敷松葉・・・しきまつば。霜よけ、または趣をそえるために庭に敷く枯松葉。
  • 龍田姫・・・たつたひめ。紅葉に染まる秋山の神。
  • 錦秋・・・きんしゅう。紅葉が錦のように美しくなる秋。
  • 弦月・・・げんげつ。上弦または下弦の月。ゆみはりづき。
  • 鬼の子・・・おにのこ。蓑虫のこと。
  • 初冬・・・しょとう。冬の初め頃。
  • 冬日和・・・ふゆびより。冬の天気のよい日。冬の空模様。冬晴れ。
  • 冬めく・・・ふゆめく。いかにも冬らしい気候になること。
  • 短日・・・たんじつ。冬の昼間の短い日。
  • 霜夜・・・しもよ。霜の置く寒い夜。
  • 霜枯・・・しもがれ。霜にあって、草木などの枯れしぼむこと。
  • 木枯し・・・こがらし。秋から初冬にかけて吹く、強く冷たい風。
  • 夷講・・・えびすこう。商家で商売繁昌を祝福して恵比須を祭ること。

Originally published November 3, 2014