Fukusa basami (pouch for a silk wrapping cloth and other small items used for the tea ceremony) (袱紗挟み)

Fukusa basami, also referred to as Kaishi ire (literally, Japanese pocket tissue pouch), is a generic name given to pouches used to put together and carry small items necessary for tea ceremony lessons or tea ceremony parties.

Fukusa basami pouches are comparatively small and each pouch is classified into a three-folded type, a handwoven brocade type, or a double-folded type (also called Rikyu type), but all these types are used for the same purpose. Although men's fukusa basami are somewhat bigger and use cold colors while women's fukusa basami are relatively smaller and use warm colors, their shapes and their purposes of use are almost the same.

Items in a fukusa basami

Fukusa (silk wrapping cloth)
This is a cloth which is used to clean off tea bowls and other tea equipment at tea ceremony. This is also referred to as tsukai-fukusa (literally, fukusa for use). Guests at a tea ceremony rarely need to use their fukusa, but some schools require guests to use their fukusa when they view tea bowls.

Fukusa for the tea ceremony are different from fukusa used for funerals, weddings, and other ceremonial occasions. Fukusa for men is different color from that for women; basically, purple for men and cinnabar red or red for women. Rules of cloth patterns vary depending on schools, and some schools strictly restrict the use of patterns while some schools have no restriction on the use of patterns. Fukusa for men's and women's are the same in size. There are various materials used to make fukusa, such as silk, cotton, or synthetic fibers.

Kobukusa (cloth which is about one fourth of the size of a fukusa)

This is used when tea ceremony attendants view tea bowls or when they carry out already whisked tea and present it to the various other guests. Omotesenke school does not use this.

Sensu (folding fan)

This is a special sensu for the tea ceremony. Tea ceremony sensu are slightly smaller than regular folding fans, and they are also called chazensu (literally, tea sensu). These sensu are not used as an actual fan, but they are used to represent a boundary between a host and a group of guests, or between guests when they exchange greetings with each other.

Some sensu have black-painted sticks and other sensu have plane white bamboo sticks. Sensu with painted sticks should be used mainly by intermediate or advanced level people, and beginners generally use sensu with white sticks. Men's sensu are relatively bigger and women's sensu are relatively smaller, but size also varies depending on schools. For this reason, it is necessary for those who want to buy a new sensu for tea ceremony lessons to clarify which tea ceremony school they are going to join in. It is said, however, that using a sensu of one's own school at a tea ceremony of another school is not rude.

New sensu decorated with the chokudai (subject of the New Year's Imperial Poetry Contest) or the Oriental zodiac sign of that year are released at the beginning of every year.

Kaishi (Japanese tissue)

Kaishi is traditional Japanese paper used for various purposes at tea ceremony.

While in Japanese dress, people keep kaishi inside the front flap of kimono, along with a fukusa and a kobukusa, at a tea ceremony. While in Western dress, people bring kaishi to a tea ceremony, without putting it into a pocket or a pouch. Kaishi for men is different from that for women in size.

Yoji (pick)

This is used to cut sweets when omogashi (moist sweets) is served. Many yoji are made of stainless steel.

Those who do not have any yoji can ask for one at a reception desk, and reception clerks are probably able to provide some kuromoji (high-grade toothpicks) for them.

Kojakin (small wet cloth to wipe a tea bowl)

This is a small cloth used to clean off the lip of a tea bowl after drinking tea at a koichaseki (ceremony of thick tea, which is made with three tea scoops of powdered tea per person) of the Urasenke school. Some kojakin are made of paper (called kami-kojakin).

Kojakin is not necessary if a tea ceremony is not of koicha (thick tea). On the other hand, the Omotesenke school uses regular kaishi.

Zansai ire (take-away bag)

This bag is used to bring back leftovers when a tea ceremony includes a kaiseki (simple Japanese meal served before a tea ceremony). This is folded compactly in a pouch, and it is unfolded into a box shape prior to use. This is not needed if a tea ceremony does not include a kaiseki.

Sukiya bukuro (Sukiya pouch)

This is a bag which is slightly bigger than a fukusa basami. This is used to carry a spare pair of tabi (Japanese split-toe socks), and additionally, this bag is big enough to keep a fukusa basami in it. This bag can be used in place of a fukusa basami.

[Original Japanese]