Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shimizu Genji-san, Part 2 (a review)

The Kabuse Ushirode and Yakishime Tetsuki Samashi are easily two of my favorites. I purchased them both from Rishi-Tea. They were hand-crafted by Shimizu Genji-san in Tokoname, Japan. They are both yakishime, high-fired unglazed stoneware, which gives them a wonderful texture and light weight, allowing for smooth, easy pouring. They are elegant, beautiful and quite gratuitous.

As much as they may enhance the tea making/drinking experience, my $35 shudei kyusu makes tea just as well. While I would reccomend these items to anyone interested in collecting high quality Tokoname pottery, if you are just looking to make a cup of tea, save your money. Purchasing items such as these is half about tea and half about appreciating art.

Kabuse Ushirode
Diameter: 3.75"
Height: 3.25"
Volume: 350ml
Price: $170
Vendor: Rishi-Tea

My wife bought me this pot for Christmas last year, and I've dedicated it to dian hong. The quarter in the picture can help you visualize its actual size. Kabuse translates as wrapped, or in this case "covered lid," and Ushirode means back handle.

I did not get a great picture, but you can see the sasame, clay mesh screen, something that I prefer over stainless steel obi-ami or ita-ami. There was a discussion earlier on O-Cha's forum about the pros and cons of the different filter styles, and it was voiced by some that this style of filter would allow the tea leaves to clog the spout and inhibit the flow. So I ran a test timing how long it took to pour, first using just water, then brewing a pot of tea using a generous amount of leaves. I did this twice, and I am happy to say that each time took exactly 12 seconds. I am told that this filter is made by a machine, and that they spent years researching the different aspects, how many holes and what size, the curvature of the screen for optimal strength. They did their job well.

Yakishime Tetsuki Samashi
Diameter: 3.4 in.
Height: 3.875 in.
Volume: 350 ml.
Price: $60
Vendor: Rishi-Tea

Tetsuki Samashi translates to water cooler with side handle or something. When brewing whites, greens and some oolongs, a water cooler comes in handy. It can double as a sharing pitcher, but it is porous, so only if you dedicate it to a particular type of tea.

You can see in the middle picture one of the things I love about it. Most likely a coincidence, there is a dark ring that marks exactly 8oz. of water, my preferred amount. So measuring water is never a problem, at least with the one that I have.

Not sure what else to say about it. Functional? Yes, but a $2 measuring cup could do the same job. Nonetheless, if I just had to choose, I think this tetsuki samashi might be my favorite piece. Simple. Elegant. Ridiculously superfluous.


Salsero said...


Thanks for these two post devoted to Japanese tea and teaware. As I am just beginning to drink Japanese tea, I found both posts entertaining and helpful.

Bill said...

Teawares undoubtably become an extension of yourself!