Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Old 04-06-2007, 09:16 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Hi all,

I'm going to be in Japan at the end of the month, and I was wondering
if any of you could recommend some tea-related activities or
destinations in either Tokyo or Kyoto. In particular it would be
great to have recommendations for specialty stores in Tokyo, as I'm
spending a lot more time there than in Kyoto and I'd like to bring
some tea back as gifts. Also, it would be good to hear opinions on
whether or not it is worth one's time to seek out a demonstration of
the tea ceremony (leaving aside the fact that I can't sit seiza for
more than about 18 seconds).

thanks in advance

Alex
(on second bowl of cold matcha)


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Old 05-06-2007, 12:15 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 4, 4:16 pm, Alex wrote:

I'm going to be in Japan at the end of the month, and I was wondering
if any of you could recommend some tea-related activities or
destinations in either Tokyo or Kyoto. In particular it would be
great to have recommendations for specialty stores in Tokyo, as I'm
spending a lot more time there than in Kyoto and I'd like to bring
some tea back as gifts. Also, it would be good to hear opinions on
whether or not it is worth one's time to seek out a demonstration of
the tea ceremony (leaving aside the fact that I can't sit seiza for
more than about 18 seconds).


Tea destinations: The city of Uji, outside Kyoto. I haven't been
there in years, but I suspect it still has its charming strand of tea
merchants. Several of them, in the past, at least, also had clerks
who would try to use their English in helping foreign guests. The
city of Uji is the site of the very famous Byoodo-in temple (called
the Phoenix Hall), featured on the back of 10-yen coins, and it's all
so compact you can walk around.

Again, it's been years, but Uji used to have a city-operated cha-
shitsu (place for tea ceremony). For a small fee, you would be served
a bowl of matcha in a traditionally appropriate setting. The hosts
will not be shocked if a foreign guest needs to sit cross-legged on
the floor: Very few Japanese can sit comfortably that way either! Do
not let that very minor detail stop you.

There is a center for foriegn tourists in Kyoto. They speak English,
and would be totally on top of what's current in Uji, what the hours
are, what the fees are, and they are probably also able to hand you
maps for it all.

Tokyo is, culturally, less tea-centric. I lived in Tokyo for 2 years,
but never found any tea shop that was anything unusual (and the ones
that *are* there are going to be less prepared to help foreign guests
than the ones in Uji).

In Tokyo, the Nezu Institute of Fine Art always has a (rotating)
display of utensils for tea ceremony displayed in a staged room for
tea ceremony, so that you can see them in their "natural" setting. I
believe the gardens in the back of the museum are usually open for you
to walk through, and there are-- as I recall, five-- tea houses in
that garden, and is a place where elite tea ceremony practitioners
regularly host tea gatherings. You wouldn't be able to go *inside*
these tea houses, but it might still be of interest.

The Hatakeyama Collection is another museum in Tokyo that usually has
important pieces of tea art on display, though it is a little trickier
to find... and, if you've never even seen a tea ceremony performed,
this might well be jumping to something too specialized.

As for viewing a tea ceremony... my own research is in tea ceremony,
and it is an art form that is not especially accessible to people who
haven't, themselves, studied the art... If you haven't taken lessons,
you often sit there wondering what is going on. In Kyoto there is an
enterprise that gives you a mini-"concert" of various Japanese
performing arts. It is called "Gion Corner." This performance
includes a staged tea ceremony. You still in your chairs watching
from outside, but it is narrated so that you have some idea of what is
going on.

(From my own research, I would suggest that, for tea ceremony elites,
it is a *game* they are playing... it involves being able to recognize
the historical and geographic style of the many pieces of art involved
in making the tea, being able, perhaps, to also recognize the artist
of the tea bowl, the calligraphy, the iron kettle... and then to
figure out the "message" being sent by the host by her use of those
utensils.)

(If you are not able to schedule a chance to see a tea ceremony in
Japan, there is an excellent video available in the US... pricey, but
many universities will have it in their libraries... I could help you
with those details if you are interested.)

In summary, the very first thing that comes to mind is the line of tea
shops in Uji.

Have fun!

james-henry holland

=


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Old 05-06-2007, 03:31 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 5, 7:15 pm, Thitherflit wrote:

In summary, the very first thing that comes to mind is the line of tea
shops in Uji.

Have fun!

james-henry holland

=


I will 100% second the opinion of going to Uji. As nice as some of
the temples in Kyoto are, I'd say that Byodo-In rivals any of them, if
not more. The Phoenix Hall, being in a nice little lake of its own
and actually accessible (not like the somewhat gaudy and overvisited
Kinkaku-ji) is charming and nice, and the museum attached to the Byodo-
In has some stunning artwork. The walk from the train station to
Byodo-In takes you past the line of old teashops, which are extremely
interesting in itself. It's a great place to go and really not that
hard to get to. I really want to go back to the Kyoto area, and Uji
is the first place I want to visit again.

Last time I've been there was about 4 years ago, and I suspect not
much has changed. The tea-ceremony place was there when I went for a
very modest sum. Uji is a great place to visit if you love tea and
want to see nice architecture and be away from the big crowds. Bring
your camera.

MarshalN
http://www.xanga.com/MarshalN

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Old 05-06-2007, 07:02 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Alex ha scritto:
Hi all,

I'm going to be in Japan at the end of the month, and I was wondering
if any of you could recommend some tea-related activities or
destinations in either Tokyo or Kyoto. In particular it would be
great to have recommendations for specialty stores in Tokyo, as I'm
spending a lot more time there than in Kyoto and I'd like to bring
some tea back as gifts. Also, it would be good to hear opinions on
whether or not it is worth one's time to seek out a demonstration of
the tea ceremony (leaving aside the fact that I can't sit seiza for
more than about 18 seconds).

thanks in advance

Alex
(on second bowl of cold matcha)

I was in Japan in March on tea business and visited the tea museum outside of Shizuoka. If you take a train from Tokyo to Kyoto, you can stop off here for a couple of hours. You can also wonder into some of the tea fields and they have a shop selling a good selection of Japanese tea products inclusing soaps, face packs etc etc!

--
Questo articolo e` stato inviato dal sito web http://www.nonsolonews.net
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Old 05-06-2007, 09:58 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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MarshalN schrieb:

In summary, the very first thing that comes to mind is the line of tea
shops in Uji.


Last time I've been there was about 4 years ago, and I suspect not
much has changed. The tea-ceremony place was there when I went for a
very modest sum. Uji is a great place to visit if you love tea and
want to see nice architecture and be away from the big crowds. Bring
your camera.


I second every single word said here. Uji is the place to go for some
excellent tea. I was there twice - once in august and once in january.
While the time in august was very nice (and humid, and lots of mosquitos
and rain/typhoons), it was in in january when I loved it most. Uji is a
quite place in summer too, but there is the occasional busload full of
travelling nihonjin. In winter, everything is so quiet. I had a great
time with one of the shopkeepers, talking about the old days of Uji and
his ancestor's teashop - in which we were sitting in. And he poured some
great tea while he did his talking. Ah, the memory.

Anyway, Uji is a great place, but the actual plantations are in the
surrounding mountains. It is possible to get there by bus and local
trains. There aren't to many sights, but strolling along the plantations
is worthwhile, even out of harvesting season. Ask at the tourist office
right outside Uji station, they know about the directions.

ciao
Patrick


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Old 06-06-2007, 07:00 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 4, 4:16 pm, Alex wrote:
Hi all,

I'm going to be in Japan at the end of the month, and I was wondering
if any of you could recommend some tea-related activities or
destinations in either Tokyo or Kyoto. In particular it would be
great to have recommendations for specialty stores in Tokyo, as I'm
spending a lot more time there than in Kyoto and I'd like to bring
some tea back as gifts. Also, it would be good to hear opinions on
whether or not it is worth one's time to seek out a demonstration of
the tea ceremony (leaving aside the fact that I can't sit seiza for
more than about 18 seconds).

thanks in advance

Alex
(on second bowl of cold matcha)


Uji FTW! I had a friend who lived near Uji and the photos were
amazing. So were the teas I used to get from him.

on a different note, if you are a "geek" at all or into electronics
Shinjuku is pretty cool. I worked in the gaming media for a few years
and Shinjuku was always a kind of Mecca.

Enjoy the trip, it will be two years before I can go to Uji but it is
already planned.

- Dominic

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Old 07-06-2007, 07:43 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 6, 2:00 pm, "Dominic T." wrote:
On Jun 4, 4:16 pm, Alex wrote:





Hi all,


I'm going to be in Japan at the end of the month, and I was wondering
if any of you could recommend some tea-related activities or
destinations in either Tokyo or Kyoto. In particular it would be
great to have recommendations for specialty stores in Tokyo, as I'm
spending a lot more time there than in Kyoto and I'd like to bring
some tea back as gifts. Also, it would be good to hear opinions on
whether or not it is worth one's time to seek out a demonstration of
the tea ceremony (leaving aside the fact that I can't sit seiza for
more than about 18 seconds).


thanks in advance


Alex
(on second bowl of cold matcha)


Uji FTW! I had a friend who lived near Uji and the photos were
amazing. So were the teas I used to get from him.

on a different note, if you are a "geek" at all or into electronics
Shinjuku is pretty cool. I worked in the gaming media for a few years
and Shinjuku was always a kind of Mecca.

Enjoy the trip, it will be two years before I can go to Uji but it is
already planned.

- Dominic- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions. I will definitely try
to drop by Uji.

Dominic - I'm not that much of a geek but my cousin lives near
Shinjuku so that's where I'm staying in Tokyo. It's a pretty amazing
place.

Thiterflit - I don't suppose you could recommend a book or article
about the tea ceremony? I read a bit of anthropology so perceived
dryness or academic tone is ok. Also, thanks for the recommendation
on Nezu, I will definitely check that out.

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Old 07-06-2007, 09:02 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 7, 2:43 pm, Alex wrote:
On Jun 6, 2:00 pm, "Dominic T." wrote:



On Jun 4, 4:16 pm, Alex wrote:


Hi all,


I'm going to be in Japan at the end of the month, and I was wondering
if any of you could recommend some tea-related activities or
destinations in either Tokyo or Kyoto. In particular it would be
great to have recommendations for specialty stores in Tokyo, as I'm
spending a lot more time there than in Kyoto and I'd like to bring
some tea back as gifts. Also, it would be good to hear opinions on
whether or not it is worth one's time to seek out a demonstration of
the tea ceremony (leaving aside the fact that I can't sit seiza for
more than about 18 seconds).


thanks in advance


Alex
(on second bowl of cold matcha)


Uji FTW! I had a friend who lived near Uji and the photos were
amazing. So were the teas I used to get from him.


on a different note, if you are a "geek" at all or into electronics
Shinjuku is pretty cool. I worked in the gaming media for a few years
and Shinjuku was always a kind of Mecca.


Enjoy the trip, it will be two years before I can go to Uji but it is
already planned.


- Dominic- Hide quoted text -


- Show quoted text -


Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions. I will definitely try
to drop by Uji.

Dominic - I'm not that much of a geek but my cousin lives near
Shinjuku so that's where I'm staying in Tokyo. It's a pretty amazing
place.

Thiterflit - I don't suppose you could recommend a book or article
about the tea ceremony? I read a bit of anthropology so perceived
dryness or academic tone is ok. Also, thanks for the recommendation
on Nezu, I will definitely check that out.


As always I recommend "The Book of Tea" by Okakura. It is available
for free online or for only about $4.00 at a bookseller.

Also, you lucky dog, I'd kill to have family by the Mecca of
geekness

The shots of Uji I saw were awe-inspiring and I can't see how anyone
could go wrong with a trip there.

- Dominic

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Old 08-06-2007, 06:06 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Dominic T. wrote:
Also, you lucky dog, I'd kill to have family by the Mecca of
geekness


Is there such a thing as cha-otaku?
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:12 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 8, 1:06 pm, DogMa wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
Also, you lucky dog, I'd kill to have family by the Mecca of
geekness


Is there such a thing as cha-otaku?


If there is, I think a lot of us qualify. I know that many of my
friends find my obsession creepy.



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Old 08-06-2007, 06:57 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Jun 8, 1:06 pm, DogMa wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
Also, you lucky dog, I'd kill to have family by the Mecca of
geekness


Is there such a thing as cha-otaku?


haha, yep. I think you just coined a new term. I think we're a long
way from being nationally recognized and signing our charter, but
maybe 4 or 5??

- Dominic



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