What Sparks Joy: Chawans (Japanese tea bowls)

In a time not too long ago, we had a collection of mismatched coffee mugs.

Some were collected from around the United States, others were purchased at Christmas, some were given as gifts, and others came with the mixed sets of dishware that we had purchased or inherited.

It got to a point where the mugs were overflowing out of the cabinet, and I was tired of them. Tired of looking at them, organizing them, washing them.

I decided it was time to grow up and stop using ugly coffee mugs. I didn't even really drink coffee at the time, preferring tea instead.

The mugs went to Goodwill, and in their place I started using a chawan.

A chawan is a Japanese tea bowl. It's a heavy container, usually holding around 2 cups of liquid, and is a handmade glazed ceramic.

Let me tell you something - if you haven't drank tea (or coffee) out of a chawan, you haven't lived.

There's something about the solid feel of the bowl and the way your tea rests in it that just is so much fuller, so much more than drinking it out of a mug.

It's no surprise that these tea bowls are used in the chado, or Japanese tea ceremony. The way they feel and handle is very well, ceremonial. You feel like you're drinking something very special, very significant.

Interestingly enough, the chawan keeps my tea hot far longer than a coffee mug ever did. Once you get the hang of it, it's easier to drink out of as well, and doesn't leave those terrible dribble marks that coffee mugs do.

There's also the fact that I love the way the chawans look in our cabinets - like works of art, each unique in their make and color, but functional pieces that I use everyday.

Yes, these indeed spark joy. Do they spark joy with you?

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