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May 2013 chanoyu goals update

This post began as a general personal goals update, but somewhere into my third paragraph of updates on chanoyu-related goals, I realized this wanted to be its own post. Here are the relevant goals for this year that I posted last month:

Chado-related goals: make shiro-an. Carve a bamboo futaoki (lid rest), at least a fushi-nashi (nodeless) one, which should be utterly simple. Practice carving chashaku, which is not. Try repairing my broken Tamba-yaki idojawan.

The shiro-an is... challenging. I've been using this recipe. Removing the skins from soaked lima beans was much easier than I had anticipated. But my cooked bean slush wasn't moving around in the blender enough to benefit from that device. And getting the blended mush to stratify so I can pour off the liquid on top, not so easy. I've been keeping the mixture in my refrigerator while I procrastinate on further attempts to process it. Note to future self: remove the little nubs from the beans when you remove the skins, because they just won't break down in the course of cooking and blending. When I try again, I think I'll try a different recipe—there are many out there.

After putting out a call for bamboo, I got several maybe-sorta bites, and I even organized some friends for a day of outdoor activities at a park I'd heard rumor to have some bamboo, but we didn't find any there. Someone at work happened to post that she was getting rid of a bunch of bamboo from her backyard, so I snapped some of that up to carve a couple of fushi-nashi futaoki. Just in time to bring them along with my yari-no-saya kensui and ekirei futaoki to my keikoba for short-term loan so fellow students can learn how to use them. Let's say that studying at Gakuen gives one a skewed perspective on the breadth of utensils recognizable to your average overseas (and maybe even intra-Japan?) tea practitioner. We were so spoiled! I'm planning to make a kekkai from the rest of the bamboo I've gotten.

I've been scheming to hold a hango chaji at Washin-an as a thank you to our teachers. It is not easy to convince them that this is a good idea, even without charcoal or cooking. At first I pitched it as an activity that we students, or at least the more experienced of us, could do as a learning opportunity, but I got the classic indirect denial in the form of "Eventually, maybe next year, we might start allowing students to serve as teishu for our seasonal chakai..." At Midorikai we were responsible for everything, but back home, it's different. Now I'm trying again, reframing it as a private rental of our tea space. I'm trying not to be the archetypal Midorikai grad who returns to her home keikoba and thinks she knows more than everyone else. When I show up with strange utensils, suggest kagetsu and sumi temae and hosting a (very simplified) chaji myself, and the teachers demur, I wonder if I'm becoming, if not a know-it-all, at least a pest. Does it make sense to channel that frustration into plans to build my own tea room? (But where?)

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