The Crucible

A crucible is a severe test or trial or an extremely challenging experience. A situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new. This figurative sense of crucible is based on the literal meaning of the word: a heat-resistant container used to melt metals

We have just completed the first Issoan intensive training on chabako in the midst of a record for Portland for the most days in a row above 95° (35°). Indeed, the students had to endure extremely challenging conditions for this intensive. It was the first in-person lessons we have had since July 2021, and was held mostly outside with minimal shade, due to Covid precautions. Not only was a lot of information presented, some students had never seen or done some the Chabako temae before.

After the first day of tearoom orientation, set up, and cleaning, students had a chance to practice furo haigata and laying charcoal for shozumi. By doing each of the 5 Chabako temae, 4 with haiken for guest part, students were able to see similarities and differences in each temae. We were even able to practice Shikishi Date with the Chakago basket, as well as do haiken, which none of the students had done before.

There were additional workshops in sweets making:

Haigata for the koro and hiire for the tobako bon

We made neriko blended incense for the ro season

And carved our own chashaku

We had a field trip to the Bamboo Gardens, a 20 acre garden and nursery with more than 300 species of bamboo.  The Black bamboo is now in flower, which happens only 120 years or so.   I have never seen bamboo in flower.


On Saturday we attended the Obon Festival at Oregon Buddhist Temple where there was a kimono sale, good eats, entertainment and of course Obon dori dancing.

On Sunday there was the Portland Tankokai/Wakai Seichuki Chakai at the Portland Japanese Garden

Thank you to all the students for your hard work.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: