間 is an interesting character in Japanese. Till writing this blogpost I thought it only meant a door or an entrance. Apparently it can also be used in conjunction with space, time, interval, pause, leisure, room, apartment amongst other words!
So when I was invited for a rendezvous over tea at Chacha-No-Ma 茶茶の間 I thought the meaning of the name of the tea room was a "Gateway to Tea", though I was confused why there were two characters for tea in the name, 茶茶.
Chacha-No-Ma was a really pleasant experience and the company made it more pleasurable. The tea brewing master of the house, Kitagawa san 北川さん, was very much on top of the game and gave a skillful performance with the brew. One can produce the best tea in the world but if the brewing is incorrect then all the effort of the people in making that tea is really wasted: from the time the tea plant was in the nursery, to planting and taking care of the bush through the years and the efforts of the girls plucking the teas and the tea master and the helpers making that tea. Not to speak of the logistics.
For me, most serendipitous thing was when I asked him which teas he liked, he replied, without much hesitation, that he really liked teas from Jun Chiyabari.That was music to my ears!
After he found out that I was from Jun Chiyabari, he brewed various other interesting and delicious Japanese teas including Goishi-cha 碁石茶 or the so called Japanese style Pu-erh tea from Shikoku. And also a most delicious infusion of green tea with lavender, mint and other ingredients which I shall keep secret. But, as can be seen from the images, there is no secret that I also enjoyed the matcha ice cream.
Perhaps the true meaning of Chacha-No-Ma 茶茶の間 is "The Wormhole to Tea Space-time continuum". And the double chacha 茶茶 in the name? Perhaps, like many things in astrophysics, we are destined never understand that either!
At the tea room, Chacha-No-Ma 茶茶の間 in Omotesando, Tokyo with Kitagawa san (May 2013)