Nodate (open-air tea ceremony) (野点)

Nodate is an open-air tea ceremony in which people make and enjoy green tea or powdered green tea. Especially in Sado, making tea outdoor is called Nodate. If making tea outdoor conforms to a traditional Japanese style like Sado, they are all called Nodate. In some cases, Nodate is an event easy to participate in where detailed manners are simplified although they are valued in an indoor tea ceremony.

Nodate is held mostly in spring and autumn when the climate and temperature is mild, the weather is good and the sun is not too strong for such an outdoor event. In Nodate, people sit on a felt mat placed on the ground, and enjoy tea. Refreshments (Japanese confectionery) may be served with tea but the main purpose of Nodate is to enjoy tea not food. If the main purpose is to enjoy food, it is called Nogake. Nogake is an outdoor Japanese activity similar to a picnic which originated outside of Japan. In Sado, powdered green tea is usually used but in the broad sense of the word, it also includes enjoying non-powdered green tea outdoors.

These activities are for people to feel and enjoy the change of the seasons, and have been performed since early times in Japan where the spectacle of nature varies greatly between seasons. Along with Nodate, people can enjoy writing or presenting Haiku or Waka poems. Also Nodate can be performed simultaneously with other outdoor amusement. Nodate derives from the outdoor tea breaks that bushos (Japanese military commanders) in the Sengoku period (in Japan) and daimyos (feudal lords) in the Edo period enjoyed during expeditions and hunting respectively. In order to make tea, hot water is needed.

When you have to get some fuel outdoors to boil water for tea, it seems that one can have a valuable experience which is difficult to gain in an indoor tea ceremony as indicated by the anecdote of the tea ceremony in Hakozaki. If smoke from the outdoor fuel gives a flavor to the hot water, that is called 'fusube' (smoked).
If tea is made in this way, it is called 'fusube tea.'

Tea ceremony in Hakozaki (June 14, 1587)
This is a tea ceremony held by Toyotomi Hideyoshi while he was staying at Hakozakigu Shrine for some time to scale town planning in Hakata after the Kyushu Conquest. SEN no Rikyu made tea in a pine forest located in Hakozaki (Fukuoka City). It is said that the smoked scent was pleasant beyond description and added some flavor to the tea ceremony when pine wood was used as fuel to boil the water. SEN no Rikyu dedicated a garden lantern to the Hakozakigu Shrine to commemorate this tea ceremony.
However, in the notes to Iwanami paperback edition of "Nanporoku" (tea book), 'fusube tea' is mentioned as 'Fusube Chanoyu' (fusube tea ceremony) and described as 'a poor tea just something smoked.'

It seems that fusube tea is not so highly regarded. After Japan was modernized, Nodate still survives as one of outdoor amusement which one can often enjoy.

It is presented as a part of a cultural activity related to cherry blossom or autumn leave viewing, as a main event in a garden (Japanese garden) or as an entirely open-air event. Dilettantes may personally make tea outdoors for enjoyment.

Even when making powdered green tea, all you need is basically tea bowls and a tea whisk as tea utensils and a kettle to boil water. Having a cooking stove evolved as outdoor cookware or portable equipment for camping and also having a thermos bottle which retains heat, we can now enjoy tea easily using this equipment.

To be more authentic, tea is made by boiling water with a chagama (iron tea ceremony pot) placed on a mobile or temporary fire, but it is limited to large-scale Nodate. In a non-powdered green tea ceremony, a teiran (basket for storing and carrying a set of tea utensils) is available.

In order to make tea, these utensils are usually used in combination with a bofura (earthen kettle) and a ryoro (brazier) to boil water.

Sado has almost no set rules of etiquette for Nodate. Since Nodate is based on a free-wheeling style that makes it difficult to present a zestful tea ceremony, it seems difficult for even a master of tea ceremony to present zestful Nodate. As tea book "Nanporoku" ('31' (三一) and '32' (三二)) says that 'there is an existing method because there is no existing method; neither being too carried away with scenery nor indulging in amusement like chat is favorable, and only a great master can be successful.

Nanporoku shows useful hints such as choosing a graceful (that is, refreshing) site when making selection, giving first priority to keep tea utensils to be used clean by flushing them out. On the other hand, Nodate is originally not conforming to formality. Therefore, what utensils you use depends on where you are now though using good utensils is preferable. However it says that in order to behave naturally you must be the one who does not have philistine attitude and arrived at a deep awareness of things, and then amateurs should follow such a unworldly person.

[Original Japanese]