Teacup Shopping with a Tea Master

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How should you select a teacup? What characteristics should you look for when purchasing a handmade vessel? Are there elements that can make or break the design or affect how you use the piece? What are the differences between the various styles of creation? Countless things to consider for just a simple bowl…

As an outsider to the world of tea, all of these little details baffle me. My small collection of teacups is a mix of presents received from friends and guests, and pieces that I’ve picked out solely on looks. There’s got to be more to it than that though, right? That’s why I asked a special friend to join me for a walk through Kyoto’s pottery district. With his trained eye and encyclopedic knowledge of tea, my search for a new teacup took on a whole new level of depth and meaning.

On an unseasonably warm March morning, I met up with Tyas Sosen, a tea practitioner who has achieved the remarkable feat of being the first Belgian national to earn the rank of Japanese tea master. He is passionate about communicating the importance of tea and the formal ceremony connected with it. From this simple drink, Tyas believes that we can learn important lessons about our world. A single cup of tea can open up our mind to new perspectives and fresh ways to approach day to day life. The tea house that he runs in Kyoto offers wonderful tea activities, all narrated in fluent English in a manner that makes the tea ceremony approachable and engaging. Click here for more info.

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