Season of Ro

You might see a big iron tea pot is inside the tatami mat in the picture above. In November all tea ceremony hosts change their iron pot from “Furo” style to “Ro” style. We use Furo (with the iron pot on top of a table or on top of tatami mat) from May to October and we use Ro from November to April. Basically, Ro’s iron pot is bigger, and we can put a lot of charcoal underneath and near to our guests, so guest and host can share the warmth of charcoal together in winter.

In the summertime, we put a little tatami mat to cover the hole of that.

November is also the time to enjoy shincha matcha  (this year’s fresh tea). Matcha tea leaves are harvested in May and steamed, dried for 5 months and ground carefully. The whole process takes six months, so we open this year’s fresh tea in November. Some tea ceremony lovers say November is like New Year’s Day for them to open Ro and enjoy some shincha matcha (Tsubokiricha matcha).  

I still remember very clearly, when I started to practice the tea ceremony over 25 years ago, my tea ceremony teacher had a very traditional tea room that we could see large pine trees from. In November we made chestnut cakes together and had a cup of matcha tea on the tatami mat with “Ro” setting. It was a very cold and windy day, but we were warm with the large iron pot and charcoal, listening to the bubbling noise of hot water from the iron pot. The tea ceremony is a comprehensive art, we use all five sense to enjoy a perfect cup of matcha tea. I can recall the smell of tea, taste of chestnuts and matcha tea and the feeling of the tea bowl in my hands. I won’t forget these memories and I always remember this scene every November for years to come.  

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