Chasen Tea Whisk

Chasen

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The making of tea whisks began in the middle of the Muromachi period (1333-1568), when the younger son of the lord of Takayama was asked to make a whisk by Murata Juko, who had been instrumental in perfecting the tea ceremony. Thereafter, the production method was kept a guarded secret by the lord of the castle and his family and was carefully handed down from generation to generation.


However, sometime later the secret was revealed to sixteen of the family's chief retainers and the techniques were passed on without interruption. Takayama is now the only place in the country where tea whisks are being made.

There are about 120 different kinds of Takayama Chasen, the type of material, shape and number of splines varying according to the school of tea, and also on the kind of tea, whether it is weak or strong, to be served in very formal surroundings or at an open air tea ceremony, or if the whisk is for a travelling set. The taste of the tea is also said to differ slightly according to the workmanship during the whittling process. A part from the traditional whisks, some are now made for decorative purposes, while others are made to produce a good head of froth on milky coffee.

 

In modern times, we usually use chasen only for “macha” powdered green tea. For other types of tea that we get from the best "tea farms" in Uji, Shizuoka, Kyoto areas, all organic, available in store: 2 different matcha, sencha, genmaicha, hojicha, kukicha) which we have at our store : we use tea pots from design specialists.

For this type of tea you can make it much like you would for an Earl Grey tea. According to your preference, you keep the tea in as you like. We usually use the tea leaf for about 1 minute for the first time and then about 2 minutes for the second pot. But it is up to you to determine the taste that you prefer.

The typical bamboo considered good for chasen is said to be that from the mountains of Hyogo, Nare, Kyoto and other areas on the Pacific Ocean side of the Kinki region. This is because this area is low in nutrients causing the bamboo to grow strong and sturdy. The craftsman then takes the piece of bamboo and divides it into sixteen pieces, they’re then cut into large and small segments to make the number of tines required. The ends of the tines are boiled in hot water and placed on a stand, then thinned from the base to the tip. After carving, the bristles are tapered to create a brush-shape, smoothing out all the rough edges and then finish it off by fixing the base securely with thread.
You don't actually "whisk" the tea with them the way you would egg whites; you move it in a "m" motion instead in the tea bowl.

To clean, rinse then dry before storing. You can buy stands (referred to as "forms") that you put them on to dry to help them retain their shape longer.

Old and broken ones are taken to temples once a year, generally around May, and burnt there in a ceremony called "chasen koyō." It is considered bad form to simply toss one in the garbage,

We recommend that you get the bamboo whisk wet just before you use it. The bamboo whisk is susceptible to dry conditions. When it is dry, it becomes brittle and easy to break. 
It is better to store the bamboo whisk on a whisk keeper after using it. This will help the whisk to retain its shape.

These tea whisks are available at our store.

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Nawrap Maruyama Linens

Maruyama Fiber Industry Co. Ltd was founded in Nara, Japan in 1930. They began manufacturing traditional mosquito nets that were woven from cotton and hemp fabrics. Mosquito nets later lost their relevance in Japan because of modern living and convenience. The traditional mosquito net fabric has since been adapted using traditional weaving technologies, into a line of multipurpose eco cloths. This absorbent, quick-drying fabric is perfect for the home. It is high quality, durable and soft. They have products that will work in your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and more!

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What is Multipurpose Eco Cloth?

Multipurpose Eco cloth is made from coarse fabric that was traditionally used by Japanese to make mosquito nets. Due to the increase of modern technology and declining demand for mosquito nets, materials were instead made to Multipurpose Eco Cloth while keeping its traditional weaving techniques.

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The Bath Towels are 100% naturally made. They feature a unique weave that is exclusive to Japan and are made without any dyes or chemicals. The persimmon and charcoal towels naturally absorb odor and bacteria and ideal for after the bath or shower.

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Small Dish cloths are also popular both online and at our store with their antibacterial qualities. These dry quickly and are strong and with care last a long time.  

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Japanese Soba Noodles - An Easy & Healthy Dish For Your Weekend

How To Make Soba Noodles

Soba Is Made With Buckwheat Flour And Is Very Good For Your Health. In Japan We Eat These Noodles Regularly But Especially Just Before New Years As Noodles Represent Longevity And Good Luck. These Can Be Eaten Hot Or Cold. 

Want To Try Cold Soba Noodles In Summer?:

   

 

 

Boil Water And Add The Noodles And Cook For 3-5 Minutes Depending On If You Like Them Soft Or Al Dente. We Usually Eat This Cold In Summer And Rinse In Cold Water Immediately. There Are A Few Types Of Sauces That We Use For Dipping. 

  • Tsuyu : A Mix Of Fish Stock, Sake, Salt.
  • Ponzu : Which Is Made With Fish Stock And Japanese Lemon Called Yuzu
  • Sesame : You Can Make These At Home By Grinding Sesame With Soy Sauce.

We Garnish This This With Spring Onions (Negi) Which Can Be Found In Most Supermarkets. If You Can Find It, We Put Some Wasabi Or Grated Ginger For Extra Taste And Vitamins. 

Cold Soba Can Also Be Eaten With Mixed Salads, Daikon Radish, Tomato, Carrot’s, Cucumbers, Avocado, Etc, With Mayonnaise Or Your Favorite Regular Salad Dressings. 

Or If You Prefer The Traditional Hot Soba Noodles?:

For Hot Soba Recipes Cook The Noodles For Less Time (2-3 Minutes) And Pour It Out, Then Make A Bowl Of Boiled Water With Hot Water And Tsuyu Sauce Or Ponzu Sauce.

Inside The Hot Soba You Can Put Spring Onions, Vegetables, Spinach, Corn, Peas, Mushrooms, Seafood, Beef, Chicken, Duck, As Well As Tempura.

Japanese Green Tea - Matcha & Sencha

Matcha and Sencha are both made from green tea however Matcha is grown in the shade and uses the whole leaves made into powder so it is stronger then Sencha, which is grown in full sun. 

Matcha powdered tea is stronger and is usually better in the morning as it has more caffeine than coffee, yet many people comment that it is much more calming and you don’t get the jittery feeling that some people feel from coffee. Put a small amount around 1 tsp or more to your liking, into a cup. Add hot water (just under a boil). Then use a chasen bamboo tea tool and whisk vigorously in a zig zag motion until the tea is frothy and enjoy. This Macha powder is also used to make sweets, cookies, ice-cream, as well as beauty products. Masha tea is popular because it has more nutrition in it as the full leaf is dried and grated where as with Sencha or other teas, you lose some of the nutrition when you throw away the old leaves. Macha has more vitamin B6 and beta-carotene while Sencha has more vitamin C and vitamin E. 

Sencha has less caffeine so you can drink it later after dinner without worrying about not being able to sleep. This more commonly comes in Leaf form as opposed to powder form. Generally best to use a small amount in a Japanese tea pot. People often brew the tea for too long, for good tea you should brew the first batch for about one minute. Keep the tea in the pot and you can usually get at least 3 brews. The longer you keep it, the longer you brew the tea, about 2 minutes. 

Green tea is full of antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, is known to fight cancer, does not raise insulin. It is also known to calm and relax you and is used during meditation. 

Having a cup of green tea is proven to keep you healthy. Green tea skin products are also known to be effective. Enjoy your tea in whatever way you like it! 

SIWA - Taking Japanese Washi to the next level

SIWA is a brand of Japanese paper products that can be used in daily life. It was developed jointly by Onao, a Japanese paper manufacturer located in Ichikawadaimon, Yamanashi Prefecture, and industsrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. The brand capitalizes on the benefits of Naoron, a type of paper for sliding doors developed by Onao: resilience, lightness, and high water resistance. Although the products in the Siwa brand are made of washi, they can be used in daily life just like leather or denim items.

 

The name Siwa is both a reversal of the characters in the word washi (Japanese paper), and a word meaning „crinkle“ in Japanese. As the name suggests, all products in the SIWA series are made of washi. Ichikawadaimon, a town located in Yamanashi Prefecture and home to Japanese paper maker Onao, the company behind SIWA, boasts a washi-making history spanning 1000 years. Today, it is famous as a production center for shojigami (paper for sliding doors). Not only does Onao manufacture such paper, but it also develops and produces washi accessories.

Ai Ichinose, brand producer at SIWA, was originally involved in manufacturing washi accessories. After realizing the limited sales potential of such products, however, she felt a growing aspiration to create washi products geared toward the modern lifestyle that both men and women, and she personally, would like to use. That led to her encounter with industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, another native of Yamanashi Prefecture.

Their research led them to shojigami that is commonly used in homes as well as commercial settings. Shojigami is extremely resilient, but the drawback ist hat once it crinkles, the paper cannot be smoothed out – even with an iron.

Designer Fukasawa, however, felt the texture created by such crinkles had appeal and pushed forward with product creation. The first items to be developed was a simple bag and book cover. Today, they have become representative products of the line, but the creation team had to initially overcome a series of difficulties, including developing techniques to dye the originally white shojigami and to sew paper.

As for the most important element, the crinkles, Ichinose explains that there are good crinkles and bad crinkles. Just because something is crinkled does not mean that it is aesthetically appealing. According to her, while there is a baseline, as feelings and intuition also play a significant role it was difficult to standardize the product. Furthermore, since Fukasawa is an industrial designer, his specifications and size designations are precise to the last millimeter. That is why the finished products are so crisp and sharp, despite being handmade from paper. Some of the crinkles appear during the creation process, others in the process of using the product. Making a modern product appear vintage is what Ichinose refers to as a subtle balance.