My first chawan, ichigo ichie

I think I had been studying for about 3 years when I thought I would like to acquire my first teabowl.  In those days there was not the internet nor eBay to purchase utensils.  So we had to ask someone to buy it for us in Japan or find some other way of acquiring utensils.  I used to haunt antique shops and estate sales because living on the Pacific rim there were many people who have traveled to and from Japan.

In an antique shop one day I found a modest brown and white chawan.  Though I went to look at it several times, I didn’t want to buy it yet because I didn’t know if it was a good one or how much I should pay for it.  In those days, I wasn’t making much money and the $40 price tag was rather a large commitment for me.  I asked my sensei to look at it and give me her opinion.  So she went to the shop and talked with the owner and came back and told me it was a good bowl for me to get and that she had negotiated the price to $30 because I was her student.  Yay!

not the original, but similar

not the original, but similar

I went the the shop and purchased the bowl (it had no protective box) and brought it home. I was so happy.  To thank my teacher, I gave a chakai and invited her to tea at the tea house at the Japanese garden.  It was a lovely chakai, and sensei said that the bowl had presence and she was glad to drink from it.

At home, after the chakai, I was unpacking the car.  The tea bowl slipped out of the protective wrapping and dropped to the driveway, shattering into dust. There were so many small pieces, I could not even pick them up.  I had to sweep them into a dust pan. There was nothing left to save.  Truly ichigo ichie.  But at least sensei got to drink from it one time.

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