The most traditional secret tea function
Chaji is the most authentic style of tea ceremony; so called chaji (tea function). In Japanese, we have some “Ji (事: thing, matter)” words such as ‘Shokuji (食事)’, ‘Keiji (慶事)’, ’Saiji (祭事)’, ‘Kokuji (国事)’, and Chaji (茶事). Japanese people use “Ji” word in sacred meanings when it is closely related to our lives like above. This means chaji is also a sacred and special function for us, so chaji have to be proceeded very ritually.
Preparation of one chaji takes very long time. I have to start the preparation before 1 week at least (over 2 weeks, generally 1 month). It starts from washing charcoals by water at first to let them not spark and smell bad, then I have to dry them for 4 days at least.
While I am drying charcoals, I decide the theme of the chaji with choosing Bokuseki (墨蹟, calligraphy of zen thought written by high priest or iemoto) scrolls. There is a rule that the meaning of calligraphy becomes the theme of chaji.
After decision of theme, I start to choose tea wares following the theme and their each design. At the same time, I start to discuss about the menu with chef by writing the bill of fare.
While preparing each chosen tea wares, I go to an well to draw natural water for the chaji. Water is so important as matcha for my tea ceremony, because water changes every tastes. We, human beings, are constructed from hydrogen for 60&, oxgen for 20% and carbon for 20%. The chemical symbol for water is H2O (Hydrogen and double oxigen), so water shares 80% of our body. Thus choice of water is really important in a tea ceremony in chemical meanings. Hence only whom can be particular about water can draw out the taste of tea.
Tea ceremony is very hard-to-understand culture even for Japanese people. For example, to hold a tea ceremony on their own, they needs much practice for long years, as I have already practiced for more over 25 years. One of the reason why it is so difficult, tea ceremony is based on zen thoughts, and we have to understand zen at first. Chaji, the most authentic tea ceremony, can be also said tea function or tea ritual, so host has to understand its every sequences and manners which longs for over 4 hours.
In other words, chaji is also able to said that it is a traditional entertainment only for who understands the meaning of affluent time. It is not only zen ritual event, but also it has delicious kaiseki and rich taste matcha with beautiful antique tea wares.
In ancient days, tea ceremony used to be an entertainment for high society people, and tea rooms were used not only for entertaining but also confidential politic talks. The records of tea wares of each tea ceremonies were written, but needless to say, contents of conversations were hidden.
Interesting point is the climax of this communication is the taste of tea. If the taste of tea become clumsy, it means host has unfaithfulness in his mind. If guest’s behavior is something wrong, it means he is insincere. Tea ceremony is very useful to penetrate each other’s will in their talk; this is similar to a match of chess.
By the way, chaji was thought that is very difficult to understand its value for people who don’t know about tea ceremony. Even now, the beginners of tea ceremony are not allowed to join any chaji, because each manners are too difficult for them as only 1 of 100 students have experienced chaji.
Not only that, most of tea ceremony students are too shy to introduce their own proud culture and also they can’t explain them in foreign language. Especially zen thoughts that have hidden inside of hosts’ each forms are still very difficult to explain. To introduce chaji, we have to UNDERSTAND zen at first, and that is the most difficult part for every tea ceremony students.
For those reasons above, chaji was hidden from foreign people till these days, but I started to try to introduce this high society culture to foreign people now. Still I am the ONLY ONE who is introduce real zen chaji to foreign people as very PRIVATE tea entertainment with remaking that as amateur people can enjoy.
The contents of chaji
As “What is chaji” page introduces, chaji is constructed with 5 parts, Sumi-demae (炭点前, the manners of putting charcoals), Kaiseki (懐石, kaiseki cuisine), Nakadachi (中立, the intermission), Koicha-seki (濃茶席, the koicha term), and Usucha-seki (薄茶席, the usucha term).
Sumi-demae is most important part for host because of it controls whole passage of chaji. If the temae didn’t work well, charcoals will not burn well; it means water will not be boiled moderately. In a sense, this is most difficult part for host in every chajis. It will take 10 to 15 minutes to finish.
Next term is Kaiseki or tenshin (simplified kaiseki).
3 premium plans for you
Luxury tea ceremony with whole antiques (not chaji)
Tea ceremony in shrine with long history and tea wares are all antique. I will pick up the best antiques and extra fine matcha for you.
Ceremony style : Sumi temae, Koi-cha temae, and Usu-cha temae (kaiseki is NOT provided)
Aprx. 3 -3.5 hours. 2 traditional special sweets, extra fine koi-cha and usu-cha are served, + temae experience if needed.
Fee : JPY 200,000 + tax for 2 persons (extra charge JPY 70,000+ tax for 1 person)
Tenshin chaji (simplified course) with whole antiques
Tea ceremony in shrine with long history and tea wares are all antique. Tenshin (simplified kaiseki cuisine) will be cooked by one of the best chef and come to you. I will pick up the best antiques and extra fine matcha for you.
Ceremony style : Sumi temae, Tenshin cuisine (simplified kaiseki), Koi-cha temae, and Usu-cha temae (Tenshin is provided instead of kaiseki)
Aprx. 3.5 – 4 hours. 2 traditional special sweets, extra fine koi-cha and usu-cha are served, + temae experience if needed.
Fee : JPY 250,000 + tax for 2 persons (extra charge JPY 90,000+ tax for 1 person)
Kaiseki chaji (full course)
Tea ceremony in shrine with long history and tea wares are all antique. Very old style Kaiseki will be cooked by one of the best chef and come to you. I will pick up the best antiques and extra fine matcha for you.
Ceremony style : Sumi temae, Kaiseki (kaiseki full course), Koicha temae, and Usucha temae
Aprx. over 4 -5 hours. 2 traditional special sweets, extra fine koi-cha and usu-cha are served, + temae experience if needed.
Fee : JPY 300,000 + tax for 2 persons (extra charge JPY 120,000+ tax for 1 person)