Recent Tea Gatherings 茶会

With many events happening lately, there hasn’t been enough time for practice sessions, but surely there were many special occasions for gathering and sharing tea with great and memorable guests.

With the first group in this series of gatherings, even though it was their first time, it seemed as if they knew what they had to do, which made me feel very proud of them.

In another special gathering, all of the guests were from Saudi Arabia.

Being born in Saudi Arabia, it was great talking about the similarities between the Saudi and Japanese cultures.

This lovely gathering arose the prospects of Chanoyu Arabia in Saudi Arabia.

Dipping the toasted rice cakes, in either soya sauce, and wrapping it with nori (seaweed), or with hot water and sweetened kinako (ground roasted soy bean).

A wonderful couple, full of positive energy. I enjoyed hosting a lot, and hope to share with them more tea in the future.

Our last two guests for this series of gatherings, were two wonderful brothers, who were lured into this experience by a friend of mine, and were pleasantly surprised. 🙂


TEDxDeadSea CreativiTEA Room

On April 30th, TEDxDeadSea attracted over 800 people to inspire a new generation, by sharing ideas on Education, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

Chanoyu Arabia got the wonderful chance to be part of such a great event, and created the TEDxCreativiTEA Room, where it allowed people to experience Chanoyu, and also witness the complex and inspiring work of our Origami (Art of Folding Paper) prodigy, Musa-san.

While people were buzzing outside, the perfect setting of the Tea Room, allowed us to prepare for the scheduled guests, a nice and quiet experience.

The flower arrangement was made of Common Mallow (Malva) コモンマロ خبيزة, and Snapdragon 金魚草 فم السمكة, in a Bizen-ware vase.

The first session was relatively quiet, with three, but very harmonious guests, who made our start a very encouraging one.

The small number of guests at first allowed us to have them inspect the Natsume, and learn a few things about Matcha.

A bigger crowd joined in for the next session, and enjoyed taking part in it.

More people got curious to enter the room.They were greeted by the mind-boggling origami works of Musa-san.

The lovely space we were offered at the CreativiTEA Room allowed many people to be seated either on the Tatami mats, or on the fancy leather seats.

This particular group was one of the most memorable ones, for each and every one of them, were fully present with all their senses.

It was a great pleasure hosting them, and interacting with them in such a wonderful occasion.

They had a lot of good questions, and it felt that they all came in together as one big family, although it wasn’t for sure who knew who before the gathering.

Special thanks to each one of them. They really gave us a huge push, and made us enjoy every minute we spent together.

As time progressed, the number of guests grew bigger, which added more excitement for the whole group.

It surely was a great pleasure hosting familiar faces, and also some old friends, by mere coincidence.

It was a great privilege to have had the chance of hosting not only people from the audience, but also from the great speakers, and the helpful volunteers, who played an important role in this big event.

Some of the guests helped lighten up the atmosphere, which made each session a unique one.

The hanging scroll reads 松樹千年翠 (shouju sennen no midori) which talks about the beauty of never changing green colour, of thousand year old pine trees. A note to pay attention to unchangeable beauty, which is harder than appreciating the changing things around us.

12 guests on the Tatatmi, and several others on the seats. The Mizuya (preparation room) was on red alert.

During one of the breaks, our Origami prodigy offered to prepare tea for one of our distinguished guests, who surely gave us the rare chance of enjoying a spiritual and enlightening encounter.

Musa-san, carefully preparing tea from his memory, without any instructions to guide him.

A new session is about to begin.

In any tea gathering, the main guest is expected to entertain the other guests by creating a dialogue with the host, which would reveal some interesting information, and enlighten everyone in the room.

Another memorable session, that ignited several interesting inquiries, and therefore helped in making it a unique experience for everyone.

The previous event that took place recently, gave us the chance as a group, to train on serving big numbers of guests at the same time.

We were all very impressed with the patience and endurance our guests showed while sitting on the floor.

As the day was coming to an end, more and more people were seeking the comfort of drinking tea, in a secluded area.

Everyone made a tremendous effort in keeping the flow go smoothly, even when we were at full capacity.

A full tea day, from 10:30 AM till 8:30 PM, or what we would call a Matcha Marathon. 🙂

A wonderful experience, with magnificent team work, done with much love, dedication, and true friendship.

Thanks to the impeccable team: Eguro-san, Mariam-san, Mo-san, Musa-san, and our hidden knight Tymoor-sensei, for igniting the first spark that made this event possible for all of us. And of course for giving up attending any of the talks, to document with his lens such a memorable and unique event for Chanoyu Arabia, and be there for us, as always.

Thanks to TEDxDeadSea for organising such a great event, and letting us be part of it, in this delightful way.

Thanks to all of the TEDxVolunteers who helped us tremendously. We are very proud of you, and your promising generation.

Finally, special thanks to all who came, and made us feel it was worth all the effort, and hoping the taste of this experience still lingers on in your memories, and would inspire you in one way or another.

Charity Event with Jordan Scholarship Fund

On April 22nd, an outdoor charity event was scheduled to take place at the Japanese Garden in Amman, but due to the unexpected change of weather, the event took place at Chanoyu Arabia’s Tea Room.

It was an unprecedented number of guests to visit the room at the same time, but surely was a great pleasure to everyone.

A lovely mix of Jordanian students and Japanese professionals.

It was great seeing the guests feel comfortable as they were waiting for their tea session.

The Jordan Scholarship Fund is run by Japanese volunteers working in Jordan, who want to support Jordanian university students.

At the end of each session, the guests get to inspect closely the Natsume (tea caddy) and the Chashaku (bamboo scoop).

People enjoyed the warmth of the indoors, while it was cold and rainy outside.

Students from three different universities attended the event.

The main sweet was butter cookies with three flavours, the green was matcha, the beige was kinako (soy bean flour), and the grey had a black seed known as Nigella Sativa. The secondary sweet was Wasanbon that is basically Japanese sugar, moulded into shapes.

The Hanto (Assistant Host), helped in delivering the prepared tea and taking away the finished ones.

The Jordan Scholarship Fund group prepared some Japanese food for the guests.

While the host prepares tea at a normal pace for certain guests, the Hanto delivers the other guests, tea made by another assistant in the Mizuya (back room), so they wont have to wait for a long time.

Managing the flow so that the last guest has his tea, before the first one gets bored is very important.

All guests await the host to purify the Natsume for the second time, so they get to pass it around and look at it closely, along with the Chashaku.

The host makes sure the Natsume is clean from inside as well.

Sitting Seiza (sitting on the mat properly) is never an easy thing to do for an extended period of time, especially after the invention of chairs. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who came and supported this event.
Thanks to Jordan Scholarship Fund for asking Chanoyu Arabia to be part of this great event.
And thanks to our great T-sensei for documenting such wonderful gathering, and giving us the chance to share with other people, our joyous events.

Chakai 茶会 (Tea Gathering)

In April, M-sensei came from Cairo to Amman to be part of the Japanese Speech Contest jury, which was a great chance to host him at Chanoyu Arabia’s Tea Room. The scroll reads 松樹千年翠 (shouju sennen no midori) which talks about the beauty of never changing green colour of thousands of years old pine trees. A note to pay attention to unchangeable beauty, which is harder than appreciating the changing things around us.

Having such a special guest as M-sensei, was a great excuse to share Koicha (thick tea) with him, along with A-sensei, H-sensei and T-sensei.

The main guest approaches to reach for both the Chawan and the Kobukusa (a square silk cloth to hold the chawan with).

“A Cup of Humanity”

After having the Koicha, the guests get to see the Chaire 茶入れ (thick tea container), the Chashaku 茶杓 (tea scoop) and the Shifuku 仕覆.

A macro shot by our great T-sensei.

After having Koicha, the guests go out to the garden to refresh, while the host prepares for Ususcha (thin tea).

Thanks to T-sensei for capturing this wonderful occasion with his high sense of beauty, and thanks to M-sensei for accepting this humble invitation, and making it a memorable chakai.

April Chanoyu Okeiko (Tea Practice)

Using a Hisago Natsume (container with a dried gourd motif) .

Mixing the first bowl of Usucha.

Bizen-ware vase with azalea and cherry blossoms. The scroll is “wa-kei-sei-jaku” (harmony-respect-purity-tranquillity).

Getting better at handling the Hishaku (bamboo ladle).

Our “Hand Mixer”.

Three generations enjoying tea.

Those Chawans -among other utensils- were a gift to the Japanese Embassy, from the Kobori Enshu Iemoto, when he came to Jordan in 2004.

Explaining “okibishaku” way of handling the Hishaku.

Experiencing making tea at an early age.

Sitting Seiza (properly) is never comfortable, and needs time to get used to it.

One of the most active members, enjoying being a host.

After the conclusion of the gathering, when using a Tana (shelf), the Mizusashi (cold water container) stays in the room, and gets refilled by a pitcher.

A very curious and attentive little disciple, watching quietly each step of making Koicha (Thick Tea).

The youngest Arab to taste Koicha, and actually like it.

All the guests drink koicha from the same chawan. The chawan is held on top of a square silk cloth called Kobukusa.

When using a Tana, the Shifuku (silk pouch) is placed on top, and not on the tatami mat.

“Hot Water for Tea” by Amr Toukhy

A glimpse into the serenity and beauty of Chanoyu, by Amr Toukhy.

Thanks to Amr for having the interest in filming this with his unique vision and talent.
Thanks to Malekun for introducing me to the organic music of Nagata Sachiko 永田砂知子.
Thanks for the kind and talented Nagata Sachiko for allowing us to use some of her “Sound of Hamon 波紋音” Music.

Jubilee School Cultural Day

On the occasion of Jubilee School’s Cultural Day, Chanoyu Arabia was present as part of the Japanese corner, among other cultural centres, promoting their own culture to the aspiring, all A-class students of Jubilee School in Amman.

A first time experience for the students and their parents.

The tea was received well by most of the guests.

In addition to tea, students got the chance to learn a lot about Japanese language and culture, which were passionately introduced by our renowned language teacher T-sensei, and our origami prodigy M-san.

Some of the guests were asking for the biscuits’ recipe.

The location of the tea corner allowed people to have a good look at the process from different angles.

The main guest, willingly offering his tea to the second guest.

The phone cameras helped document the event for most of the students.

The hanging scroll featured “Wa Kei Sei Jaku” (Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquillity), the four virtues of the Way of Tea.

Most people were impressed with the vibrant colour of whisked tea.

With all the events that took place on that day, the flow of guests kept going steadily all through the day, without disappointing anyone, or being too hectic.

Thanks to T-sensei for taking all the photos, and documenting the event, even though he was busy with his own guests.