Room Preparation for tea ceremony
Preparing for the tea ceremony means hard work for the host. Not only does the host have to select utensils and other equipment, but a theme has to be chosen, flowers ahve to be collected and food needs to be prepared. Ontop of this, the room needs to be in perfect condition and of course very clean before guests can be recieved. Usual flooring of the tea room is Tatami mats which can be cleaned by sweeping them. Sliding doors and windows which have Japanese Washi paper covering, need to be checked for holes or other dirty spots. When these appear unclean, the host needs to have the old Washi paper replaced with new paper. Other preparations include cleaning the garden and Roji path leading upto the tea room.
This small palm-broom is called a "Houki". Most brooms in Japan are called Houki. Houki brooms are usually made from bamboo or Millet grass. Millet is quite soft and won't damage the Tatami flooring.
This a Shouji screen used in most traditional Japanese houses as a kind of curtain. Before glass was introduced, these shoji screens were the only means to have privacy in the house with still enough light coming in to see things clearly. However, since they are made from paper, when a strong wind or storm came over town the shouji screens would be destroyed.
These days we have them inside of the glass windows and they stay much longer. Direct sun exposed Shouji screens will change color in one season and the Washi paper might need to be replaced anually.
Cleanliness before the Tea Ceremony
When the Teishu is preparing for recieving guests to a tea gathering, cleaning is one of the most important aspects. First the Chashitsu must be cleaned. This means sweeping and whiping the Tatami floor mats. Guests will sit on the floor wearing expensive Kimono or Hakama for men, so it should be clean. The Roji garden and the stepping stone path leading from the Koshikake-Machiai to the Chashitsu, need to be cleaned and sweeped. Evergreen trees, bushes and plants need to be cut and trimmed to the best condition. Weed and fallen leaves will be removed from the garden but some leaves will either be left the way they are or be thrown back. Leaving some leaves on the ground will be just like in nature where they are found under the trees, this is to keep the garden looking natural and alive.
Cleaning during the Tea Ceremony
During the Japanese tea ceremony or Chakai, some tea-utensils are ritually cleaned. Utensils such as the Natsume and Chashaku are cleaned in front of the guests before using them. The Natsume and Chashaku are whiped with the Fukusa which the host always carries while performing the tea ceremony. Whiping is done carefully and with full attension to the movements. These utensils are of course clean when they are brought into the tearoom, so it is just the ritual of showing the guests that an excellent hygene standard is observed.