using furo in ro reason

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To what extent is it acceptable (in your tea tradition) to use furo in ro season? And to the extent that it is, is anything done differently than in furo season? (For example, adding fresh water to the kama just before making koicha in the Urasenke tradition, which was explained to me as accounting for the matcha used in furo season being older and thus more susceptible to negative effects from too-hot water? Or the type of ko used?)

  • Admin Admin
    Moved by Admin: I don’t have enough points to comment or vote on answers, so please excuse my writing this as an “answer”, but thank you all for the responses. I should have clarified that I meant my question to be in the context of lower-level temae, not using a daisu or anything like that. I see there are good reasons behind several different approaches. Not yet having a tea room/space that accommodates a sunken ro, I have hesitated to get an okiro, just because of how it blocks the guests’ view of much of the temae in a standard tea room configuration. (That said, placing the okiro in the mukōgiri or sumiro position would seem to solve that problem.)
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First installed by Murata Jukō in the famous 4.5 tatami room, the use of ro was promoted by Takeno Jōō as a component of wabicha. This practice was brought to a further extend by Sen no Rikyu. However, furo was the ordinary setting before their time. Even at the time of Sen no Rikyu, temae using a shindaisu (ordinary daisudemae), which is not to be mixed up with the high-level shindaisu temae (shin-no-gyô as it is called in Urasenke), were always performed with a furo. This usage is documented in Nanpōroku, in the chapter that pertains to Daisu. Tea offering in temples and shrines is always carried out with a furo, regardless of the season.

In modern settings where there is no space to install a ro, many people would use an okiro instead. How aesthetic is that ? Would we use a furo rather than putting a wooden box on the tatami ? That is up to personal appreciation.

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I think using furo during the ro-season to be acceptable. If I was doing it I would do everything as I would in furo-season. The argument about the tea being older is mute in our modern society with freezers. But I get to do both furo and ro and therefore experience the changes in seasons.

 

If for any reason I could only use a furo all year I think I would look for a way to use it more like a ro to get some changes from season to season

  • Tea Meditation
    Some schools would put the furo on the right-hand side and the muzusasahi on the left-hand side during a certain time of the year, so the furo is closer to the guests. This is still hongatte temae.
  • Marius Frøisland
    In Urasenke that is called nakaoki and is usually done in october, but that could be a nice thing to mark the difference in season if your going to be using a furo all year.
  • Elmar
    In winter (ro season if you will) it is assumed that the world is a lot colder than during the rest of the year, and the tea is also fresher. So it would seem that one should not open the mizusashi early to add water to the furo, but leave it closed until just after the matcha is put into the bowl (source: chanoyu-to-wa blog on tumblr). Also, since things cools off much faster, cold water is not added to the kama on the furo in winter before making the tea, not only to preserve heat, but as mentioned, also because in summer the tea is “older” and needs cooler water so as to not lose its aroma too quickly, but in winter, the new matcha has just been taken from the tea jar, and is strong. It is always acceptable to use furo – but how much you moderate the temperature of the water in the kama differs between the seasons. For myself – I put the furo on the left (guests to the right) with nagaita and (take-)daisu, but on the right with koita.
  • fukuda
    If you want to ‘omotenasu’ your guests during winter with a furô, placing the furô on the right hand and the mizusashi on the left hand of the temaeza(gyakukatte) is a solution as mentioned earlier. Going through a book from Urasenke on “Ryurei in 12 months”, there are no mentions on applying ‘rô’ procedures (closing the kama lid, opening the mizusashi etc) in the otemae (tenchaban, misonodana, etc.)- so I believe that would apply to the tatami setting as well.
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Furo also show up in lots of iconographic evidence from the Muromachi period from itinerate tea vendors to the fellow in『酒飯論』Shuhanron. Regardless, since we have gyaku-temae, I just wanted to chime in that the position of the kama should generally be discussed in relation to the shōkyaku rather than in terms of left and right. Yes, use of a daisu further restricts arrangement. I was stupid and didn’t buy one. I own a pair of naga-ita, but that is it for that sort of thing. As for oki-ro, I think that those are really a contrivance to allow practice when you do not have an actual ro available to you. The ro was really brought into the tea room from the daidokoro where they had evolved into a common architectural feature. The daidokoro was apparently originally an antechamber to the dining salon in the private imperial residence immediately West of the primary palace building. Apparently, various food displays were staged their prior to actual presentation.

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Whenever I present demonstrations on tatami mats, I always use furo style because I don’t have a ro and i believe an oki-ro would detract from the overall experience.  However, I teach using and oki-ro (even though I don’t like them) so my students can learn ro style.

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I don’t have enough points to comment or vote on answers, so please excuse my writing this as an “answer”, but thank you all for the responses. I should have clarified that I meant my question to be in the context of lower-level temae, not using a daisu or anything like that. I see there are good reasons behind several different approaches.

Not yet having a tea room/space that accommodates a sunken ro, I have hesitated to get an okiro, just because of how it blocks the guests’ view of much of the temae in a standard tea room configuration. (That said, placing the okiro in the mukōgiri or sumiro position would seem to solve that problem.)

  • Admin Admin
    I’ll move it to a comment. You can always edit your own questions, but adding comments require 15pt
  • Elmar
    Putting an oki-ro on the temae-za (either muko-giri or sumi-firi) seems to me to be redundant to having a furo there, since it is in essence a furo. The only difference would be how you handle the hishaku, afaik, right? For me, part of the joy of ro comes from putting it at the 45 degree angle off to the side of the temae-za, and thus shifting the host angle towards the guests to engender a closer feeling of communion.
  • JOHN LEON LARISSOU
    I think it depends on why you are doing this. If you are practicing to learn temae the okiro can be useful. Also if you want to keep the feel of the season with fellow practitioners the same would hold. If you are entertaining guests things get more complicated. I frankly do not see much use for them other than for the above and even then don’t like them. I senior teacher friend would put a hot plate on the tatami with a robuchi around it and balance the kama on the hotplate. The fact is when your situation is not conventional you are free to do as you think best. One Senior Urasenke teacher friend would commonly use a Tokyo temple for Oyoseichakai. One of the tea rooms had no ro so in winter she used a furo. Using an okiro in the sumiro or mukogiriro positions is fine but again why? As for any variation from the norm you really should have a good reason.
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