Unique Tea Gatherings
Tea gatherings fall into two broad categories:
Abbreviated Tea Gathering (茶会—chakai)
Typically, this is a gathering of perhaps 3-12 people in a tea-room. Guests watch one procedure, have a sweet, and drink one bowl of tea. A “chakai” usually lasts about 30 minutes.
Unabbreviated Tea Gathering (茶事-chaji)
Typically, there are 2-4 guests. This is an intimate experience that often lasts for four hours. A seasonal meal is served, charcoal is set twice, a main sweet is served with thick tea and a dry sweet is served with thin tea.
In both cases, the host and guest work together to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The host, through careful and creative preparations, sets the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime interaction. The guest, through anticipation and careful attention, prepares to receive the efforts of the host with grace and gratitude.
This is famously expressed as 一期一会 ichigo ichie.