My charming tanzaku-bako, although currently I have Meiji period novels stored in it.

Teach Us Sensei!
Useful Lessons
Basic Course for Beginners
Text: Satou Ryouko

The season of cherry blossoms has come along with the new school year.
Since I have seen my children off into the world, I have began to attend a Chado class that I have long wanted to learn. The students of the class are of various ages and experience with tea ceremony. We have class three times a month, but since I am slow to remember things, I haven’t really been able to advance. Thus, I was thinking I’d like to practice at home when we don’t have class.
What sort of utensils should I buy and how should I study? Kindly teach me, please.
The 24th Year of Heisei, April.

Number 4
Teacher’s Reply
Practicing (okeiko) by Yourself
The temae procedure is not remembered with your head, but learned through your body. As it is explained one the poem of the Rikyu Hyakushu, “Practicing (okeiko) is learning from 1 to 10, then knowing 10, returning to that 1.” There is absolutely no point in practice it is established that here you are done and finished. It is important to repeat your practice however many times.

Practicing by Yourself at Home
At a tea utensil store, you can purchase the individual items needed for okeiko. However, there are also the square-shaped (like a shikishi card) boxset called a “Shikishi-bako” and oblong boxset called “Tanzaku-bako” with have the utensils needed by beginners for okeiko. Including the mizusashi, chawan, natsume, chasen, chashaku, kensui, hishaku and so on, previously it was sold to be included as a part of the a new bride’s trousseau.
Also, there is “Yamamichi-bon” of the bonryaku-date, on which needed utensils (chawan, natsume, chakin, chasen, and chashaku) are set, and for which the kensui is prepared. The kensui as a waste-water container is a bowl in which used water is poured. The tray is of a moderate size, so another tray can be substituted if you have one.

The shikishi-baki and tanzaku-bako are convenient in everything can be put away in the box when not in use. You can choose what utensils you like to put in the box, or there are already prepared sets. As you advance in your practice, what utensils you like or are most convenient will become clear. So, without buying everything at once, why don’t you purchase what utensils you think you need at the time.

When practicing by yourself, it is not entirely nessisary to have utensils at all. “Kara-temae” is a method where you practice pretending you are holding utensils, and pretending you have a furo and kettle. In actuality, you walk to a place where nothing is, moving your body. Thus without concentrating, it is difficult to follow the order of the temae. Karatemae is not just good for remember the temae order, but also is a good practicing method for learning the pose of the body and flow of movement.