This is an anecdote taken from “Stories From a Tea Room Window” (茶窓閑話) by CHIKAMATSU Shigenori (近松茂矩), translated by Kozaburo MORI. This story has given me a fondness for totoya bowls.

38. In the Depths of Winter

In the depths of winter, at a certain tea gathering, tea was about to be served in a slightly cracked totoya bowl. When the water was poured in and the tea whisk rinsed, the bowl broke in two, and the tatami was drenched. The host looked quite unperturbed and said, “Excuse me.” He took off his coat, and used it as a cloth to wipe up the water. All those in attendance felt it to be a great pity.