Early Summer・初夏

Poetic Name (Mei)


Description / source poetry

Babbling Brook



Catching fireflies



The pastime of catching, or watching the flickering lights of fireflies on summer nights.

Image: @minenomatsu

Spider Dance at Twilight


Kumo no furumai

"Tomorrow's diary: A visit from my lover, under blue-gold sky. So writes this spider at twilight, weaving my dream into night."



- from the 古今集 Kokinshū, translation by Sōmu Wojciński


Since antiquity in China, Korea and Japan, seeing a spider weaving a web at night has been considered an auspicious sign that one's lover will pay a visit the following day. 


*This mei can be used all summer.

Image: @minenomatsu

Mid Summer・夏の半ば

Poetic Name (Mei)


Description / source poetry

In the Shade of a Tree



'Kokage' is the cool shade of a tree – something welcome and pleasurable in the Summer months.
Image: @minenomatsu

To the Edge of the Deep Green Sea



Many people associate summer with the sea. ‘Aounabara’ refers to a vast expanse of ocean. This mei can refer to times one takes a moment to gaze far out to sea that stretches on an unblemished horizon. Yes, I am a Cure fan.

Water Fight



Some days get so hot that continuing in earnest with work or school seems absurd. I remember some days at school in Australia when the temperature was over 40°C. The teacher gave up and let us outside to have a water fight. Then we grow up and have to take a jumper to the office on a  40°C day because the air-conditioner is too cold. Perhaps the parents that complain nowadays that their children get in a water fight at school are the same ones numbed in an over air-conditioned office.

Interestingly, it is stated in the 'Roji-iri', one of the old manuscripts of the Ueda Ryū, that the samurai would not wear tabi (formal socks) in the tearoom on a hot day. Bare feet were allowed in the chashitsu. This too is unthinkable today, in a world of air-conditioned tearooms. 

I know one New York chajin who removed the lid of the mizusashi to reveal a bucket of ice nesting a cold beer for the head guest on such a hot day. 

In a world of mandatory white tabi and air-conditioned tearooms, perhaps a good water fight can remind us that chanoyu is an art that is meant to bring us into deep communion with the seasons. 



Iwashimizu is a beautiful spectacle to enjoy in the mountains. It refers to the pure, cool water that flows between the gaps of large rocks. The wasabi plant naturally grows alongside such mountain steams. This mei evokes an image such a cool, unspoilt mountain sight. 
Image: @minenomatsu

Shintō song


Pagan song



Matsuribayashi is the music one hears from the top of floats or stands at a Japanese festival. Most Japanese festivals are held in order to pray and give thanks to agricultural deities for good crops. When praying to such deities, the music of the whole festivals has a central role. ‘Hayashi’ (festival music) provides a great means for worshiping, revering and asking prosperity from the gods. Upon hearing this mei, one can think of their precious festival memories and the joy of such occasions.

Sea Breeze



Urakaze is the sea breeze whistling through a cove, diffusing into the foot of surrounding hills. 

Green Summer Grove



Natsukodachi is the lush green cluster of trees you see in a summer park or forest. The breeze in lush growth gives a welcome cool relief in the middle of summer.

Cloud Peaks


Kumo no mine

'Kumo no mine' is a cloud formation you see in summer. 'Kumo no mine' means 'mountain-peak clouds'. Here's a haiku by Basho:


Cooling lake breezes

Above, brilliant red cloud peaks

Lament today's heat


- translation by Sōmu Wojciński


The image in the haiku is  one of cool evening breezes blowing in from a lake, and the breezes are giving the subject relief from the heat of the day. Yet overhead still linger stunning clouds like mountain peaks - the day's heat still suggested in the ferocious red colour of the setting sun kissing the cloud peaks.  
Image: @minenomatsu

Cool Respite



Ryōichimi is a word that expresses the feeling of cool with the five senses and the desire to create a cool environment for guests during the hot summer months. In the Nanbō Roku, a text that records Rikyū’s key teachings, are the words: ‘Create a feeling of cool in summer, a feeling of warm in winter’. The tearoom in the middle of summer is a place to pursue ryōichimi for the five senses, a place to offer your guests a sanctuary of cool away from the heat. 

Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing


Afternoon Shadows



As a summer day draws into the afternoon, the hot sun lowers in the sky and creates long shadows from the trees, houses and fences. As the shadows grow longer and longer with the day, people change their path to walk out of the sun and in the cool shadows.
Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing
Image: @minenomatsu

Morning Calm at the Seaside



Summer mornings on the seashore, the wind blowing out to sea from land changes to the wind blowing in from the ocean. For a few moments during this change of the direction of the wind, the wind seems to stop entirely. This is 'Asanagi' - the morning calm. Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing


Lo, the morning clam!

In a veil of ocean mist;







by Adam Sōmu Wojciński 2013

Welcome Rain



After a long period of hot weather when our surrounds have become dry and withered, after long last we are blessed with good rainfall. This is 'Kiu'. 喜 Ki =happines, joy 雨 u = rainfall. Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing
Image: @minenomatsu

Evening Downpour


Shyu-u is the sudden, heavy rain that falls in summer evenings. 'Yuudachi' is another common word for the phenomenon. A term that includes 'Haku-u' is 'Kokufuu Haku-u' or 'Black wind, white rain'. It is used to describe a downpour with strong winds. Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing
Image: @minenomatsu

Summer Night


Natsu no yo

natsu no yo ya

kuzurete akeshi



The short summer night

At dawn has left us a feast

Of cold left-overs

- by Basho 


The balmy summer evenings feel so great we find ourselves enjoying the mild weather until late. The bright moon floats in the black sky – a few degrees cooler than the day. At dawn you wake to a cool house and busily make use of the few hours of light before the day's heat.
Image: @minenomatsu

Late Summer・晩夏

Poetic Name (Mei)


Description / source poetry

White-tipped Waves


Wata no hara               Over the wide sea

Kogi idete mireba      As I sail and look around,

Hisakata no                  It appears to me

Kumoi ni mago           That the white waves, far away,

Okitsu shiranami       Are the ever shining sky.

- by Fujiwara no Tadamichi


The tanka above by Fujiwara no Tadamichi is number 76 of the Hyakunin Isshū (anthology of 100 poems by 100 different poets). The tanka finishes with the word ‘shiranami’ or ‘white-tipped waves’ in English. The poem evokes the image of a vast ocean scenery where the white clouds blend with the white waves of the ocean. The sailor is lost in wonder of where the ocean stops and the sky starts. There is a taste of the Buddhist concept of non-duality or '無一物 mu-ichi-motsu' or '不二 fu-ni'. In the heat of summer, evoking this scene in the tearoom is very cooling.

Dawn Moon



Ariakezuki refers to the moon still visible in the sky after dawn has broken. Here is a haiku with the word in by the poet Takarai Kikaku:


ariake no                  The moon

tsuki ni narikeri      in the dawn sky!

haha no kage          Mother’s shadow

Image: @minenomatsu

Infinite Forest 



in progress

Image: @minenomatsu

Karavana mraků
(Caravan of clouds)



A deep realisation that truth with a capital 'T' is found in nature and that our hearts can be free in nature. This is in contrast to the opression of our hearts that can happen in big cities, in societies saturated in rules and regulations an heavy-handed governments. A caravan of clouds is where one discovers our most essential existential truths and beauty.


This poetic name comes from the Czech song of the same name „Karavana mraků“ by Czech singer Karel Kryl


It is placed in the late summer chashaku names, to remind us of the anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.


But this poetic name can be used anytime your heart looks to the heavens, wishing to join the clouds traveling the boundless sky... 


Image: @minenomatsu

Tathātā Moon

Shinnyu no tsuki

'Shinnyo' (Sanskrit: ‘tathata’ meaning 'suchness') is a Mahayana Buddhist concept that appears in the Diamond Sutra. The word is used to refer to the ultimate, unchanging reality of all phenomena. The Japanese word, has two components, "truth" (shin) and "as it is as such" (nyo). Shinnyo no tsuki is a poetic reference to the moonlight illuminating the darkness with truth. 

Image: @minenomatsu

Creative Commons Licence 

Adam Sōmu Wojciński, 2018 

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