Japanese Tea Ceremony on the table
We have the way of tea in table chair style called “Ryu-rei.
It’s the new style created in 1872 by the 11th grand master of Urasenke tea ceremony school. Gengensai, the 11th grand master founded it to welcome foreign guests in Kyoto exposition at Nichihonganji temple, chionin, and Kenninji temple. It was a little criticized in those days because it was too original and fresh, but it is now noticed as the kind style for the young Japanese who can’t sit in Seiza style or advanced aged people who have problems in their needs.
Varieties of table chair style
Table chair style is more casual than tatami room for sure, but not all type is just casual one. I will introduce 3 kinds of Ryu-rei here.
Tencha-ban：11th grand master of Urasenke created. It is the most formal of Ryu-rei styles. Even though it is table chair style, we can’t set them outside. It’s thought to be set inside in tatami room, so we can do the way of charcoal and thick tea (more formal than light one) also.
Misono-shelf：I think it is the most popular Ryu-rei style. It was created by Tantansai, 14th grand master of Urasenke. This picture is Misono-shelf. It is only for light tea, so we can’t do whole long tea ceremony including thick tea or meal. I often see Misono-shelf outside also.
Washin shelf: It was created by 16th grand master of Ureasenke. It is structured by 3taWashinbles inside each other. The shape is circles, triangles, or squares. There is no rules how we set 3 tables. Users can create the way of tea. As the height of the 3 tables is different, we can choose the main table according to the height of the chair we have.
Let’s have light tea with nest tables.
Since many of my guests in Tea Ceremony Koto are from foreign countries, I’d like to introduce the way of tea in Western style. It is the idea from Washin shelf using 3 tables and a book “Ideas for Ryu-rei and the way of tea outside” written by a tea master Sowa Akiyama.
In the middle main table, we put a tea bowl with bamboo tea scoop, whisk, white cloth, and a tea container. On the left side, put electric pot, a brown container for used water, and a second tea bowl. I skipped the container for cold water in this casual style.
Don’t you think you can do this way of tea in your western style house or business office? Almost all Japanese business reception are coffee or leaved green tea, but it’s not only the way of the hospitality. How about do the way of tea and serve matcha with sweets at the corner of your office sometimes?
Choose the best utensils suit to the western style.
Let’s choose the best tea utensils which suit to the table chair style. I think tea bowls with pretty paintings are more suitable than the beauty of primitive or simple for western style. Of course, it will be interesting and beautiful to choose seasonal ones also.
The nest table on this picture is an antique one from England. It’s small and easy to carry. Tea utensils are for Girls’ festival in March in Japan.
A light pink tea bowl with pretty dolls, and a red tea container with Japanese fans. The second tea bowl is “the field of spring”. I chose the pretty ones like the image of girls’ festival.
I recommend you to start from the way of tea in tatami room if you would like to continue learning because we can’t create how we should do in the western style without the basic way of tea on tatami. But how about trying this casual way at your home?