when the tea master presented the perfectly prepared tea, she bowed to us and we bowed to her while sitting on our knees and by placing our hands on the tatami mat in front of us. mochan explained to us that she sets the cup with the more beautiful or more interesting side facing towards the guest. when we picked up the cup, we were to place it in our left palm and slowly turn the good side to face the others in the room.
after our tea was consumed we wandered around the rest of the tea house. there were narrow hallways leading to smaller rooms off the larger communal tea room. one room was the wet room where the tea master prepares the water and her tools for the tea ceremony. there was also a more traditionally sized small tea room for individual visitors. this room had a small door low to the floor so that the room was accessible directly from outdoors. you can see the door from the exterior of the tea house in the photo below. traditionally, you are invited to tea by the tea master. there is a wash basin where you can wash your hands before tea is served. you are then invited to enter the house through the low door. this door requires the visitor to enter the house while bowing showing respect to the tea master.
mt. fuji photo op early in the morning
barrel o' fermenting sake
getting the good stuff
barrels o' sake waiting to be consumed!
usually the wish club tours include more than two people but we came on a slow weekend. mochan made up for the lack of other travellers by inviting some people from shimizu to dinner. if you look closely at the photo below you can see that one of the tables has a blanket below it. most homes in japan do not have central heating even though temperatures can dip below zero. the use of shoji screens, gas heaters and a kotatsu (a table with a heat source and blanket below) keep the main living space warm and cozy. one of the girls demonstrated how at home she would lie beneath the table with only her head and shoulders sticking out of the blanket while she watched tv. we also learned that when pouring a drink for someone you should say "may, may, may" (more, more, more) and that the receiver then says "ote, ote, ote" (stop, stop, stop).wish club dinner guests
we had a great weekend exploring the shimizu/shizouka area but once again we were left wanting more.