Repose for Tea Whisks 茶筅供養

Bamboo tea whisks, known as chasen 茶筅, are delicately crafted tools which produce many a fine cup of tea. On occasion, memorial services are given to those whisks who have retired from service.  In Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture on June 4, 2010,  I witnessed as a small group of devotees to the art of making tea bid farewell to their whisks which were sent off through a ritual burning.

Kanazawa kuyo 1

A sign announces the memorial service for tea whisks.

Kanazawa kuyo 2

Numerous tea whisks are set upon a temporary altar.

Kanazawa kuyo4

Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as sake are given as memorial offerings.

Kanazawa kuyo

Prayers are given to the tea whisks.

Kanazawa kuyo 3

Tea whisks are placed into the brazier.

Kanazawa kuyo 5

The altar lies bare as the last of the smoldering whisks receive a final prayer.

Kanazawa kuyo 6

An offering of tea and sweets lies in front of the stone memorial for departed tea whisks.

Wajima Morning Market 輪島朝市

The Wajima morning (fish) market in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture is a popular tourist destination. Held on the main shopping street the market opens at 8 a.m. and finishes by noon. Of course, as the saying goes, hayaoki wa san mon no toku 早起きは三文の徳 (“The early bird catches the worm”), so to get the freshest fish you have to arrive early. Not as widely known though is that aside from main market is a smaller fish market held for the locales in the precincts of a shrine.