Sunday, October 3, 2010

More Photos Part 3



At last, I found my shoes, so I went outside. I strolled the main garden pathway and again I met the woman who mistakenly took my shoes. She bowed and apologized again. I bowed back smiling. Then I came to the place as above photo. I went left.



Yes, later I met her again here. She bowed to me again apologetically. I felt bad as if I popped up wherever she went to make her bow more?! But I really wanted to see this Osencha party. Sencha cups are made of using tea leaves, not powder.




His name is Ootake Kakucho. He is a master of osencha. He talked about the difference between the schools of powder tea and tea leaves. He pointed out that osencha way has less rules and regulation. He was a great spokesperson like a comedian. I believe good Tea masters must be humorous to relax people. He kept making us laugh. Usually, photo shooting is prohibited, but he said okay to me. So, I liked him even more. I hope you appreciate his openess.



It was a great cup of tea. The master said, "In Osencha, we drink a cup before we eat a sweet. Then we cut a sweet into three and eat. And we drink another cup of tea. Usually we drink three times, but today, twice." The biggest treat is to be able to see the valuable tea utensils up close and touch. I drank twice, but I could look at three different cups and saucers. They were all beautiful. Again, I enjoyed those handmade utensils and appreciated the unknow artists behind them.



Once, I treated a young American woman a sweet bean cake with a bowl of tea. She made a disgusted face. So, good things are cultural, and much of it, we acquire the taste in childhood. So, you don't need to like it.

The above omanju (sweet bean cake) was so good.

18 comments:

ThirdeYe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ThirdeYe said...

Keiko,

I have just recently found your blog and I've enjoyed the posts I've read so far. That sweet bean cake looks like a work of art!

I believe you when you say it is an acquired taste, one of my good friends went to Japan for a semester of college as a study abroad program and he ended up mostly living off of American foods that he found in a local grocery store.

Take care,
Derek (ThirdeYe)

keiko amano said...

Derek,

You look like the bird I used to have. Her name was Lucy in the sky with diamonds, but she flew away when I was cleaning the cage.

Your blogs are all focused on pens and pencils. They are interesting.

Thank you for reading my blog.

ThirdeYe said...

Thank you for the comment on my bird. Was Lucy a Cockatiel as well? That is Rupert, my natural gray Cockatiel. Also in the picture hiding behind him is my other pied Cockatiel, Charlie. It is hard to make him out though, you can only see a slight silhouette of him in the background. :)

Derek

ashok said...

Hello Keiko,

It looks like you have been to Japanese tea rooms while I was away. Those are beautiful picture and everything there and around them from the bean cake to the tree and buildings is a work of art. It is really amazing how the japanese tea ceremony has become so much education in aesthetics, discipline, culture and spirituality.

keiko amano said...

Derek,

Yes, now I see Charlie behind Rupert. They are so cute. Lucy was all yellow cockatiel. My neighbor in Japan had one, and amazingly she talked a few words. But she too flew away. She was spotted at the river nearby, but it was impossible for the neighbor to retrieve her.

keiko amano said...

Hi Ashok,

Yes, chanoyu is a special art. It covers just about every arts and crafts. I think you'll love it.
Thank you for your visit.

ZACL said...

I really loved looking at the utensils. I have a saucer and two cups the same shapes, the colours and designs are different. They are Japanese.

The sweet bean cake looks most enticing. I must ask, was it iced white?

Hayden said...

It frustrates me when I can't experience the joy that others do in their local treats. When I visited Japan I fell deeply in love with most of the food - but could never manage to eat the sweets. There was a leaf paste I was given that I ate with difficulty too .... other than those things, the food was divine.

Hayden said...

oh, I remember now... it was sasa grass! Sasa is a kind of bamboo, right? This was a paste, skewered and served with a sauce.

keiko amano said...

Hi Hayden,

Thank you for visiting my blog!

I don't know what iced white is. Is it a color or like sherbet or ice cream?

About sasa, I don't think we use the sasa leaves for sweets. We use them for decoration in sushi or other kaiseki type of foods. The skewer could be some kind of bamboo, but those are probably from cheaper functional bamboo. I used to see sasa everywhere, but not anymore. Kashiwa (Japanese oak) leaves are used for sweets, but we don't eat them. We use purplish red leaves like mint (perilla) for sweets which we can eat.

When we say delicious, we say much more than what taste buds tell us. Each traditional specialized sweet reminds us a season, occasion, festival or other kind of cerebration, and so on. And people have many memories, and stories to tell about it for generations.

keiko amano said...

Hayden,

Excuse me. I was wrong about sasa. Today, I saw sweets wrapped with green sasa. And my neighborhood children and I used to suck juice out of some salty and sour plums wrapped in a sasa leaf. I completely forgot about that.

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

I mixed up your message with Hayden's. I'm sorry.

Yes, those sometuke or akae painted pottery cups are popular. The photos don't show how good they are, but they are pretty old, I could tell. Hand painted and about 100 years or older are always somehow kind to our eyes. I think English China are the same. They have the kind of beauty brand new cups do not have.

ZACL said...

Hello Keiko,

By iced white, I mean, is there a white icing paste (made with icing sugar) applied to the cake?

The cups and saucer I have are very old and so lovely to look upon. In themselves, I think they are works of art. New ones are too, but like you say, some objects age very gracefully indeed.

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

Thank you. I should have known it.
But it isn't iced white. I think it is made out of rice powder, but I'm unsure exactly how it was made. Unlike western cakes, we eat omanju (we call that type of sweets) using our hands. It is very small, and the white part is like thin layers of skins. It's dry enough so that it doesn't stick to our fingers.

ZACL said...

Hello,

We have rice paper made with rice powder/flour. usually, we see rice paper attached to the base of Macaroons. It makes the macaroon easy to hold while eating them. The rice paper looks very much like the thin layer of skin that you describe.

The sweet you photographed, should have a number of very interesting textures.

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

I hope I can show you more detail. Maybe I'll cut a sweet in half and peel the skin to show inside and close up.

This past Sunday, I went to Suntory Art Museum to see a Nabeshima pottery exibit.

http://www.suntory.co.jp/sma/exhibition/10vol03/index.html

http://www.suntory.co.jp/sma/

I wish I could show you the famous shigarami plate. It was awesome. It gave me a very clear picture of what shigarami means. It means personal, mental chains. The plate shows a violent stream and a wooden dam. In front of the dam, many wooden poles stand supporting it. And from a several holes of the still-standing-wooden dam, water is splashing and overflowing. I don't know if you can visualize it. But it was really good. It showed me a great conflict, passion, and mental chains. Yes, I could see the word, shigarami, in the blue and white plate.

Also, I liked the famous spider plate. I learned that it is considered a good luck because spiders catch other bugs. It was a small but quite innovative, old plate in mostly white with some blue lines.

ZACL said...

I see what you mean about chains. Curiously, they looked like healthy mushrooms forming chains, then, look again, and the chains are in a more solid form. It is also curious how gentle and firm the design appears to be. It is as if the artist wanted to make a social statement, create a talking point, yet leave the porcelain pleasing enough to grace a dining table.

The other piece is sheer simplicity and complexity combined. It is lovely.