What a Guest Should Bring to a Tea Gathering

I’m volunteering for the tea ceremony presentation at Seattle Japanese Garden this weekend.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, this is one of only few public parks in the US where you can enjoy an authentic tea ceremony as a guest, not only as a spectator.  If you haven’t visited there, I highly recommend you do that.

If it is your first time attending a tea gathering like this, you don’t have to worry about what to bring.  We volunteers make sure to prepare for everything you need.

You might be interested, however, in what a guest normally brings to tea gatherings.  Here I have taken a photo of all the things I put in the pouch, for your information.

Sensu (a small fan)

You use this small fan not to open it and cool yourself.  It is rather a symbol of expressing your humbleness.  You use it when you exchange greetings with the host and other guests, or when you take a closer look at the scroll in the tea room.

Kobukusa (a small cloth)

Made with silk, with normally elaborate design.  You use it when you take a closer look at certain tea utensils.

Fukusa (larger cloth)

Also made with silk, usually with solid color.  A host use this cloth to purify tea utensils.  A guest sometimes uses this cloth for appreciating tea utensils, too. In the photo, Fukusa looks smaller than Kobukusa, because it is folded in four.

Kochakin (small linen cloth)

You keep this cloth wet in a small pouch.  After having thick tea, you clean the tea bowl with this cloth.

Kaishi (a bundle of white paper) and Kashikiri (a small pick)

You put your sweet onto this paper and cut the sweet into pieces and eat with the pick.


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