People

Dairik Amae

Tea Practitioner

Morning sunlight streams through windows overlooking a small garden with wiry-branched trees and rock-laid paths. The garden provides a rare reprieve from the bustling, modern city of Kyoto—a place where one can find peace in the present moment.

On the other side of the glass, an iron kettle sits above a raised hearth where charcoal burns. The kettle is antique, made by the century-old company known today as Panasonic. Inside stirs natural spring water from Shimogoryo Shrine, which was founded in an effort to calm departed spirits who were believed to protect Kyoto from disaster.

Dairik Amae is sweeping, his face a mask of calm. This is how he spends every morning while waiting for the water to boil. As the bristles of the handmade broom skim across the tatami floor, his senses awaken.

Warmth glows from the hearth he glides past; the room lightens and shifts with the climbing sun; tittering birds and children sound from outside.

Steam begins to rise from the kettle, and Amae’s morning routine is nearly complete. He pours tea into immaculate cups given to him by his grandmother. “You have use for these,” she said, “with lots of friends coming by.”

Friends, no doubt, would be over soon for hot tea, a warm stove, and his kind company. With each piece surpassing its function to play an important role in his daily life, Amae’s ritual is complete, and now he’s ready to face the day.

—Haley Alt

  • Naga-Hibachi a brazier that uses charcoal as its source of heat. The one pictured here is from Kansai area, outfitted with a large table rim. It helps create a cozy atmosphere for tea or sake with friends.
  • Houki is a simple, everyday broom. The one pictured is special for its durability and soft bristles. Sweeping the tatami at least once a day dictates the need for a functional broom, and often brooms made today have a short lifespan.
  • Tetsu-bin this flat-bottomed kettle was a product of Mr. Matsushita, a well-known tea lover and founder of present-day Panasonic. Although the company’s specialty is electronics, homeware products and others were also offered, a trend competitors would follow.
“Dairik Amae is sweeping, his face a mask of calm.”

Plan a visit

Helping spread the knowledge of Japan

Dairik Amae is an Art of Travel representative based in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan and center of many historic landmarks and traditional arts. His classic Japanese-style house is located on a hill in a quiet neighborhood near Daitoku-ji temple, where important architecture, arts, and Zen gardens dominate the politically charged sight.

A cultural specialist with a passion to protect tradition, he performs tea ceremonies in an effort to spread the knowledge of Japanese culture to anyone with a desire to learn. He also has vast expertise in other artistic experiences, such as calligraphy, flower arrangement, and Japanese sweets.

Come meet this energetic next-generation talent and explore traditional, welcoming Kyoto. Contact travel@theartoftravel.net for more information or visit theartoftravel.net.