Chaji, a full tea gathering, can be held anytime throughout the year. The host arranges it to celebrate special occasions such as the New Year, birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. Sometimes it is arranged for remembrance of the deceased or unfortunate events. Tea gatherings can also celebrate seasonal change: flower viewing in the spring and moon viewing in the fall. The host carefully chooses a theme for each tea gathering and prepares tea utensils suitable to the occasion.
At any occasion, the host invites the guests in order to share a peaceful and quiet time together and to enjoy each other’s company. The host must maintain motenashi no kokoro (the heart of hospitality) to welcome the guests at all times. The guests also must keep in mind kansha no kokoro (the heart of appreciation) to humbly receive the host’s kindness.
Upon the guests’ arrival, the host first serves a meal to the guests. Then, the host proceeds to perform two basic types of tea procedures: koicha temae (thick tea procedure) and usucha temae (thin tea procedure).
There are two types of hearths: ro (炉) and furo (風炉). From winter to spring, the ro is located at the center of the tearoom, placed at the same level as the tatami mat floor. This is to keep the guests warm during chaji. From summer to fall, the furo is placed closer to the corner of tearoom, away from the guests to keep them cool.
Both thick tea and thin tea procedures (using furo) are demonstrated in videos available in the column at left.