Photographs were taken by Shinohara Hiroaki.
Personalized tea time: My “three treasures” in tea ceremonies
A tea wisk and Eto’s favorite Okinawan tea cup by Jissei Ohmine.
We interviewed Kazumi Aso, Osamu Saruyama and Aya Eto who incorporate Chanoyu, or the practice of Japanese tea, into their everyday enjoinment. Each one has developed their own style and way of enjoying tea, from their approach to the activity itself to their unique and even bizarre choices of equipment. Here, we will introduce each of their “three treasures” that sets the tone and theme of their tea ceremony.
“Three treasures” of Eto’s tea ceremony
Aya Eto / Proprietor of Natsutsubaki, offering wares from noted modern craftsmen and other handicrafts for daily life. Her store, where she made tea for us, is in traditional Japanese style with a lovely garden view.
1. An iron kettle to boil the water
For each morning’s sip of hot water and her thin tea, she heats the water in an iron kettle over a charcoal fire. The well-cared-for Nambu iron kettle is from the Suzuki Morihisa Studio, working in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, since 1625. When boiled in an iron kettle, the hot water is more mellow and gentler on the body.
Nambu iron kettle from Suzuki Morihisa Studio in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
2. An old brass spoon for measuring
This brass spoon is from Taiwan and is small for easy measuring. It carries a lovely engraved design. The cup, which she changes from day to day, is a celadon creation by Arata and Atsuko Anzai. Spoon and cup are displayed on a wrought iron tray by metallic artist Takayoshi Narita.
An old brass spoon from Taiwan used for measuring.
3. An Okinawan cup with a fascinating texture of the soil
Using clay from Okinawa and fired in an ascending kiln, this tea cup is by Jissei Ohmine. “What I find wonderful are the grainy consistency of the original soil and the touch of the well-fired base of the cup. Nothing makes me happier than enjoying green tea from my favorite well-made cup.”
An Okinawan tea cup by Jissei Ohmine.
Gazing out at the garden while sipping from a modern craftsman’s tea cup…
Tools laid out on wood craftsman Shingo Tsukuda’s copy of a Wagata-style tray.
Sipping green tea in the quiet morning sun—the tray, scooped out and finished with wiped lacquer, is wood craftsman Shingo Tsukuda’s copy of a Wagata-style tray. The powdered tea is kept in a covered container from Taiwan. “Having a nice tray makes laying out the tools all the more fun.” It’s also quite pleasant to carry the tray to a favorite spot and make your tea there.