The Pleasure of Fine Japanese Tea
"Tea is nought but this: First you heat the water. Then you make the tea. Then you drink it properly. That is all you need to know."        -Sen no Rikyu, 1522-1591.

cup of teaThe words of the great 16th Century Tea master, Sen no Rikyu, still ring true today. However, the simplicity of his message is in no way a recipe for the mundane or mediocre. It represents the essence of the Way of Tea, a spiritual path which emphasizes the four principles of wa – harmony, kei – respect, sei – purity, and jaku – tranquility, using tea as the medium of practice and study. But like most Zen traditions, simplicity and essence are often difficult to attain. Without good tea leaves, proper water temperature, the correct utensils, and the knowledge of proper preparation techniques; one cannot produce a good cup of tea.

It is our mission at Charaku Fine Japanese Tea to provide you with the materials and resources to create a thoroughly enjoyable tea experience; whether it is your own personal daily ritual for physical and spiritual health, or a desire to offer the ultimate in omotenashi, “hospitality,” to your guests. We offer a wide variety of high quality teas from various appellations throughout Japan. We also offer Certified Organic Matcha, produced from tencha, hand-picked and granite stone-milled in the traditional method. Our teas are sourced from artisan producers, many of whom are multi-generational, family tea farmers. Charaku teas are fresh packed, in Japan, in nitrogen-flushed small batches in order to bring you the freshest (and therefore healthiest) Japanese tea possible.

We also carry the utensils and accessories necessary to properly prepare and enjoy our quality Japanese tea. This includes hand crafted tea wares, carefully selected from Japanese and international artists. In addition, we provide the educational resources to enhance your understanding and appreciation of Japanese tea. Charaku literally means “Tea Pleasure,” and our hope is that our products and services will enable you to experience the pleasure of fine Japanese tea to the fullest extent!

Please travel through our website to explore the world of Charaku: The Pleasure of Fine Japanese Tea.

Fresh Cup

Charaku News and Events: FEBRUARY 2014

Fresh CupIn Asia, New Year is celebrated at various times; January 1st on the Gregorian calendar is the most common in modern-day Japan, the Lunar New Year is ushered in in late January or early February in Chinese communities, and in Southeast Asia the Buddhist New Year occurs in April. I like the celebration of Setsubun, the ancient division of the seasons, which takes place in early February each year in Japan. Beans are thrown for good luck and also to drive away demon oni. It's a boisterous time at Shinto Shrines, Buddhist Temples, and in homes around the country. Many, however, are unaware that it was the traditional New Year in ancient Japan, and that the next day marks the beginning of Spring. For those in the tea trade, it also marks the time to starting down to the new crop tea harvest in May. So Happy New Year, with high hopes and best wishes for a great year and for great tea!

We again have LOTS of new pottery inventory posted on our craft site, WaSabiDou, http://www.mingei-wasabidou.com. We are happy to be showing the wood-fired pots of local potter John Benn who has been a making wonderful work in the Pacific NW for over 27 years. Rare woodblock prints from Serizawa Keisuke, who was designated a National Living Treasure in 1956, of traditional Japanese Folk Kilns are also still on our WaSabiDou site. These prints were issued by the Japan Folk Craft Museum over a few years, and these prints (one in English and one in Japanese) were hand printed in 1970. There is also a Tea Bowl by National Living Treasure, Hamada Shoji, available in our collection.

We also have an on-line exhibition of George Gledhill's work. Many of our customers have been collecting George's work through our website, and these particular pots can only be seen here in this catalog. There are nearly 200 pieces available to view at http://www.flickr.com/photos/110543685@N07/sets. The collection includes Tea Bowls, Tea Cups, Sake Cups, Vases, Dishes, Plates, Incense Containers, and more. As always, thank you again for another year of sharing tea and crafts. Tatsuo Tomeoka, Charaku-WaSabiDou.