Glossary for the Tea Ceremony

Aisatsu (挨拶) (greeting) : Aisatsu literally means greeting in Japanese and is deeply rooted in the culture. At a full tea gathering the first Aisatsu will be at the gate before the ceremony starts. Then, when the Teishu opens the sliding-door, greetings are exchanged. Greetings are usually accompanied by a deep bow in the direction of the person you are greeting. At this first Aisatsu inside the tea-room, the Sensu or folding fan is placed in front of the knees leaving some space to place the hands behind it. Also during the final greeting from the Shokyaku thanking the other guests for their participation the Sensu is again placed on the Tatami in front of the knees when greetings are exchanged.

In daily Japanese life the Aisatsu is a common practice. When we break down the word we get four syllables A-I-SA-TSU; "A" stands for "Akarui", which means bright of lively. "I" stands for "Itsumo", which means always. "SA" stands for "Saki" ni, which means before someone else does. "TSU" stands for "Tsuzukeru", which means continuously or continuing.

Chabana ( 茶花 ) (a type of flower display for the alcove of the Japanese tea room) : The Japanese traditional art of flower arrangement is called Ikebana, this art form involves the arrangement of many flowers in a vase or bowl. For the Japanese tea ceremony however, only a few flowers or tree branches are needed so a unique art form was created for the tea ceremony. Flower vases can be made of ceramics or bamboo and are placed in the Tokonoma. Ceramic vases are placed on the floor of the tokonoma under the Kakejiku hanging scroll but not in the exact center. Bamboo vases are usually hung from the Tokobashira supporting pillar. ( See Tokobashira supporting pillar )

Chado (茶道) (the way of tea) : Chado literally translates to "tea way". Before this, the pronunciation used to be Sado which used the same Kanji characters. But when the tea ceremony started receiving more attention from foreigners, the association with another less attractive meaning of the word aroused the wrong impression of this subtle art of tea.

Chadou Sentei ( 茶道筌蹄 ) (important book on tea written in 1816) Various volomes exist, with the first one containing writings on how to perform the tea ceremony and following volumes describe tea masters, tea rooms, tea utensils, and go into detail about Chawan, Natsume, Chashaku etc.

Cha-e ( 茶会 ) (early name for tea ceremony) : This name literally translates to "tea meeting", because before Sen Rikyu the consumption of green tea or powdered green tea was among feudal lords and aristocrats as a means of entertainment. When this changed to a more spiritual and religious way of consuming powdered green tea the name also changed to the more appropriate Chado, as a certain life style and way of living according to the correct spirit of tea.

Chaji ( 茶事 ) (full length tea gathering including meal) : During a Chaji the host will serve a meal as well as Koicha and Usucha. A full chaji includes changing the charcoal twice, which is called Sumidemae. The whole gathering might take between two and three hours to complete. Here is the simplified order of a Chaji : First the guests will arrive at the tea house and enter the Machiai waiting arbor. Then the Guests enter the tea garden following the stepping-stone path to the Koshikake and wait there until the Teishu comes to exchange greetings. The guests then proceed to the Tsukubai to rinse their hands and proceed to enter the Chashitsu through the Nijiriguchi. A Kaiseki meal is served after which the charcoal is changed during Shozumi. Sweets or Wagashi are served to sweeten the pallet after which the guests leave the Chashitsu and wait at the Koshikake in the garden. With a bell the guests are called back to the tearoom for Koicha. After Koicha the Charcoal under the Kama is burned up and dead, so Sumi is added during Gozumi charcoal-procedure. Finally, Usucha is served, Aisatsu greetings and thank-you's with bows are exchanged and the guests are seen off from the Nijiriguchi by the host.

Chakai ( 茶会 ) (tea gathering) : Chakai tea gathering looks like Chaji but instead of a selected group of guests, everyone is welcome to join. Usually there will be several servings of green-tea during the day and the tea-room will be full with guests lined up along the wall. Only the first three guests (Shokyaku, Jikyaku, Teishi) will be served a bowl of green-tea by Teishu. The other guests receive a bowl of Macha from the Hanto after the Shokyaku has been served. During the day, guests may attend several different rooms where teachers display and use their tea-utensils. Several high-ranking teachers might gather to organize a Chakai and they will have their own students prepare the tea in the room while other student take the role of Hanto to distribute bowls with sweets and tea. Usually the teacher will sit behind her student to make sure he or she doesn't make any big mistakes and also to communicate with the guests about the ceramics, Kakejiku hanging scroll, Chabana and other tea-utensils.

Cha-no-yu (茶の湯) (lit. hot water for tea/ the tea ceremony) : The Japanese tea ceremony has various names in Japanese. Chado or Sado is often used these days to refer to practicing and learning the way of tea from an experienced teacher. Chado no Keiko means to go and practice the tea ceremony. Chanoyu is also used to refer to the Japanese tea ceremony but this is usually used between people who are actually studying it. People who are invited to or attending a tea ceremony will say they are going to a Chakai ( a tea meeting ).

Chashitsu ( 茶室 ) (tea room) : Chashitsu is a word that referrers to the room where a tea ceremony is held or practiced. But it also referrers to a stand-alone house or hut where the tea ceremony is held. Great masters of the past had a separate house where the tea ceremony could be practiced. This house was solely for the practice of the Japanese tea ceremony and had no other function. These days people who do not have the luxury of owning a tea house usually have one room within their house for the purpose of teaching and holding the tea ceremony.

The Chashitsu basically should consist of a sliding door, Tatami flooring, a Tokonoma, and a fire pit for the winter season. Preferably there should be two sliding doors, one for the guests and one for the Teishu.

Daimedatami ( 台目畳 ) (Short Maru Tatami) Daimedatami is a shorter Tatami than the regular one because the width of the Daisu (Utensil stand) and the Byobu (folding screen ) is subtracted. This Daime Tatami is not necessarily used in every tea room or Chashitsu. When it is used, there would be one, or very sporadically two. Measurements of the Chashitsu are made using Tatami and Daime-tatami sizes.

Dairo ( 大炉 ) (rectangular firebox in the Mizuya) The Dairo is used to warm the water in the Kama before it is brought into the Chashitsu for Keiko of a Chaji tea ceremony. The Dairo contains fine white sand in which charcoal can be burned. Charcoal is fired up in the Dairo and is transferred to the Ro or Furo to further heat the Kama's water. Some of the charcoal is also place in the Taboko-Bon (smoking box) for the guests to light their sigarets. The Dairo can also be used to place the charcoal in after it is used in the Ro or Furo to let it cool down safely.

Ganro ( 丸炉 ) (small cylindrical firebox) A Ganro is used to warm water in a kettle before pouring it in a Kama. Ganro is only used in the Mizuya and is not shown to the guests. In old days a Ganro was packed with charcoal to warm water but these days electric Ganro are used for ease of use and for fire-safety. (even Furo and Ro are available these days since some public tea rooms have strict fire-safety rules which prohibit open-fire.

Haiken (拝見) (viewing - of objects) After a proper tea ceremony (Chaji or Chakai) guests can ask the host to show some of the utensils used during the preparation process. Just when the host is about to clean the utensils to take them back to the Mizuya, the Shokyaku can request Haiken of some utensils. Utensils that can be displayed by the host during Haiken are: Natsume, Chaire, and Chashaku. Another form of haiken is when the Teishu displays the Mizusashi, Hishaku, and the Futaoki on the Tana. In some cases the Tana has two shelves, bottom and top. Then the Mizusashi is displayed on the bottom Shelf and the Hishaku with Futaoki on the top shelf. Displaying utensils ono the Tana can be done in various ways according to season, type of ceremony, and type of Tana. One more form of Haiken is when the Teishu uses two Chawans to serve Usucha. The guest sitting left to the Shokyaku can ask for Haiken. When the Shokyaku has finished with his or her Haiken the Chawan is passed down to the next guest, and the next guest, and the next... At the end it will be removed by the Hanto who will take it to the Mizuya for cleaning.

Hantou ( 半東 ) (host’s assistant) Hanto is an assistant who helps during Chakai or Chaji. During a full tea ceremony, the teacher's best student will be the one doing the Temae. The teacher will sit behind or near the student who is preparing the tea to answer Shokyaku's questions and to guide the student where needed. Hanto will sit by the sliding door and will bring in an extra Chawan when needed from the Mizuya and will take the Chawan with Macha to the guests so that they don't have to stand up.

Hakogaki (箱書き) (Box inscription) Hakogaki is written on boxes containing tea utensils. Hakogaki tells us the name of the craftsman who made it, the name of the utensil, where it came from (prefecture/ city and its lineage. Utensils which come in a Hakogai box are usually of high value due to the material used or are made by an established craftsman.

Ichi-go-ichie ( ) (every moment is unique, and will never come again)

Iemoto ( 家本 ) (Founder or grand master of a certain school of art) When the tea ceremony gained popularity a few hundred years ago, different styles were developed by experienced tea masters. To protect and promote their particular approach to preparing the way of tea, they established their own schools. The head of a school of tea was the Iemoto. He was the one to instruct students and lead the school to prosperity. In those times, a son of the Iemoto would take over the role of Iemoto to continue the family tradition. Incase the Iemoto was unable to produce any bloodline-successor, he would choose his best student.

Jikyaku ( 字客 ) (second guest) After the Shokyaku, the Jikyaku is the next guest in line.

Junbi ( 準備 ) (preparation) The word Junbi is a common Japanese word which is used in daily life. When coming for Keiko (tea lesson) Jumbi means to prepare all the utensils, the Furo or Ro, and the sweets which are served to the guests. Jumbi is performed in the Mizuya (preparation room) where all utensils are stored and placed on shelves and in boxes. The Jumbi also has a specific order and the teacher will probably start by teaching the proper preparation procedure before one actually starts to learn how to prepare tea in the Chashitsu.

Kaiseki ( 懐石 ) (tea ceremony meal) Kaiseki meals are prepared for guests who are invited to a Chaji tea ceremony. Much care and consideration for season and type of meeting is taken when choosing ingredients for dishes. Teishu might take several days (sometimes with a Hanto) to prepare a Kaiseki meal.

Kamaeru ( ) (Holding something in front)

Kashi ( 菓子) (sweets served before drinking green tea) Traditional Japanese sweets such as Omogashi and Higashi are always served before tea is offered to Guests. Before drinking Koicha (thick green tea) Omogashi (moist cakes made with jelly and or Anko sweet-bean paste) are offered to balance the palate with sweet before bitter. Higashi are usually served before offering Usucha (thin tea). Kashi often takes the honorific "O", so one will hear Okashi. Wait before eating Kashi untill Teishu has warmed the Chawan and has discarted the water into the Kensui. During a Chakai where many Hanto's will bring in Chawan's with tea, the Teishu or Teacher might "Okashi wo doozo" which means: "go ahead and have the sweets."

Keiko ( 稽古 ) (practicing tea ceremony with a teacher) : Keiko is Japanese for practice, study and training. In tea it refers to the regular lessons most students take with a teacher. It is often given the honorific "O", as in Okeiko.

Koicha ( 濃茶 ) (thick tea) During a Chaji tea ceremony, Koicha is the first type of Macha offered to Kyaku. Koicha is a thick blend of Macha powder and hot water. A Chawan with Koicha is often shared between three Kyaku. This means all three should be able to drink about three medium sips before passing the Chawan to the next Kyaku. But before passing the Chawan, one should carefully wipe the rim with a Kaishi paper, because the next Kyaku is going to drink from the same place. Be careful not to wipe too deep into the Chawan because the Macha used is very expensive and there isn't much of it.

Kyaku ( 客 ) (guest/ guests) When in Japan one hears this title in almost every shop entered. It could be followed by "San" as in the honorific for "Sir or Mrs". So "Okyaku-San" comes to mean something like "dear guest".

Macha ( 抹茶 ) (powdered green tea)

Machiai( 待合 ) (waiting room/ hut) : When guests arrive at the tea house for a tea ceremony, they are asked to wait at the Machi-ai. usually it is a simple hut in the garden with a small roof incase of rain. During a full tea ceremony, the guests are asked to go outside for a short recess so that the host can clean and prepare the room to continue with Koicha and Usucha. Of course it would be rude to let the guests stand and wonder through the garden while they wait, so a small bench with roof is provided for them to wait till the host will call them inside again.

Mizuya ( 水屋 ) (preparatory kitchen for the Tea Ceremony)

Mizuya gatte ( 水屋勝手 ) (various tools used un the mizuya)

Nagashisunoko ( 流し簀子 ) (slatted drain board)

Nakadachi ( 仲立 ) (short recess between kaiseki meal and koicha service) During a Chaji full tea ceremony, the guests are asked to wait outside in the machiai before Koicha and Usucha are served in the second round. During Nakadachi Teishu cleans the room, changes or removes the Chabana flower arrangement, and changes the Kakejiku.

Nijuudana ( 二重棚 ) (Double hanging shelves)

Okimizuya ( 置水屋 ) (Portable assemblage of tea ceremony utensils)

Omogashi ( ) (Japanese moist sweets) : Omogashi are mainly presented to the guests before Koicha is served in order to prepare the pallet for the bitter Macha.

Oyu ( お湯 ) (Hot water)

Shoukyaku ( 正客 ) (Principle guest)

Teishi (停止) (Third guest after shokyaku and jikyaku respectively)

Teishu (亭主) (Tea ceremony host and teacher)

Temae ( 手前 ) (General term for the ritual preparation of tea or the procedures used in making tea)

Tsume ( 詰め ) (last guest)

Usucha ( 薄茶 ) (thin tea)

Wabi ( 侘 ) (the aesthetic of quiet elegance)

Wagashi ( 和菓子 ) (Japanese traditional sweets): Wagashi is a collection word for all sweets produced with ingredients native to Japan.

Zen ( 膳 ) (meal tray)

japanese green tea


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