Posted on 25th Nov 2019
My office is in Yokohama, so I some times go to Yokohama-Chinatown for lunch. The Dong Ding tea I drank at a Chinese tea specialty shop I happened to enter was wonderfully delicious, so I ended up buying the same tea leaves. At this Chinese tea specialty shop, you can enjoy high quality tea leaves being prepared in a high quality teapot. When I got back to the office, I wanted to enjoy tea while I worked, so I boiled some spring water and brewed oolong tea in a small teapot, but the flavor was clearly inferior. The aroma only spread a little, and the flavor also felt weak. Incidentally, the teapot I used at that time was a small clay teapot from Yixing made in the 70s, so it was in no way inferior to the teapots used in the Chinese tea specialty shop. I thought it was odd that I could not get the same flavor with this, so when I went to a teahouse in Chinatown and explained to the shop manager what was going on, I realized that there really was not much difference in the teapot I had used. I had brewed the tea in accordance with what I learned about the amount of tea leaves used in proportion to hot water and also the temperature, so I should have been able to enjoy the same flavor. So then what was different? One day when I was at a restaurant in Chinatown, I was able have a friendly chat with one of the employees who was from Fujian, China, so when I told her about this, she said that it probably had to do with the difference in water. At this sort of shop, the water used to make tea is thoroughly controlled, and the flavor becomes richer if spring water is allowed to rest in a teapot for several days, so the tea ends up being made with exceedingly good water.
Indeed, I had heard that putting sake into a bizen ware sake bottle made it taste better, but I had never actually tried it out myself.
Now that I think about it, soil is just a lump of minerals, and that must be why the water flowing in rivers through mountain forests is so delicious.
I feel like this ended up being a good opportunity for me to become interested in the relationship between pottery and the taste of water.
my favorite Yixing tea pot
The head temple of the Rinzai sect’s Daitokuji school of Buddhism, also known as Ryuhozan.The temple was established by Zen Buddhist monk Shuho Myocho (Daito Kokushi) in 1315, in the latter years of the Kamakura period. It was severely damaged during the Muromachi period Onin War but was restored by Ikkyu Sojun. In the wake [...]
Koraimono - Korean wareKoraimono is a general term referring to tea utensils produced in the Korean Peninsula, in contrast with the Chinese-produced style of pottery known as "karamono." Around the mid-16th century, corresponding with the rise of the wabi-cha style of tea ceremony, this multi-purpose bowl produced in ordinary kilns throughout the Korean peninsula came [...]
This is a celadon longquan-ware incense burner, once owned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. An anecdote about Ishikawa Goemon is relevant to Chidori. He was ordered to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi by Kimura Hitachinosuke, a vassal of Toyotomi Hidetsugu (Hideyoshi’s nephew). One night Ishikawa Goemon finally succeeded in creeping into Hideyoshi’s bed room in Fushimi castle. But Hideyoshi [...]
The "Tsukumo-nasu" is a Chinese-imported ceramic tea container in the nasu ("eggplant" - rounded with a slightly larger bottom) style originally belonging to the third shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408). It is said that he even carried it to battle with him. After that it was handed down as a favorite possession [...]
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A katatsuki-style tea container imported from China. One of the three most famous katatsuki-style containers. Said to have been one of Yang Guifei's oil jars. Named "hatsuhana (the first flower of the season, or a girl who has just flowered into womanhood)" for its elegance by Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Oda Nobunaga acquired it from the merchants [...]
Said to be the most prominent of tea utensils and of koraimono is the story of the Kizaemon Ido. Early on in the Tokugawa Period, around the Keicho era, a wealthy Osaka merchant by the name of Takeda Kizaemon owned a specially produced tea bowl. Kizaemon spent much of his time on tea ceremony as [...]
One famous Longquan ceradon bowl is named Bakohan, and is a National Treasure of Japan displayed in the Tokyo National Museum. According to a document from the Edo period this beautiful green tea bowl was made in a Longquan kiln between 1127-1279 (the South song era) and gifted from China to Japan's Taira no Shigemori [...]
Murata Juko (1423-1502) is known in Japanese cultural history as the founder of chanoyu (or sado, Japanese tea ceremony), in that he was the early developer of the wabi-cha style of tea enjoyment employing native Japanese implements. In the shogun family of the Muromachi period , the Tenmoku tea bowl or celadon porcelain tea bowl of [...]
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