I first fell in love with this bowl while browsing the net when my friend Oolong was over.
The picture is from the Etsy shop I bought it from, Art To Hold
I have a weakness for things with a celestial or star motif and this bowl just called to me. Tea bowls are not exactly inexpensive things, and at the time, I thought I'd put off getting it. But when a few weeks later I was in need of retail therapy (this was about the time my family got the news a very close friend of the family was nearing the end of his battle with Lou Gherig's Disease) I remembered this bowl. My friend loved the night sky as much as I did but for very different reasons (mine more metaphysical and his very strictly scientific). So I bought it.
And I waited...and waited...and waited...
Somehow, for some reason still unknown to me, Etsy grabbed an old address to send it to, my parents' old home half a fair sized state away. Never mind that I had placed an order just a week before and it came to my home just fine, as had the all the other orders I had ever made through Etsy.
I contacted the seller, who was super sweet about the whole thing (really I can't plug his store, Art To Hold enough - if anyone out there is in the market for a Japanese chawan or tea bowl, do check his shop out). He helped me track down phone numbers for the post office to try to sort things out. I got a hold of an actual human being at the post office near my folks old place and she found the package and pulled it so it could be sent to the correct address, no additional charge to me or the Etsy seller.
And then I waited...and waited...and waited...
Somehow, for reasons slightly less obscure but no less frustrating, my bowl got caught up in some strange sorting process based on the bar codes on it and kept pinging back and forth between a few different post offices. It got as close as Philadelphia before it got bounced back to somewhere else it wasn't supposed to go. I got to be quite friendly with the postal employee I has contacted initially. We apparently were both big tea lovers. She collected tea pots and one of her most cherished pieces had come from Japan. I actually talked to her the day my friend died and her kindness then, as well as throughout the whole thing, is something that will stay with me.
Finally - on my son's birthday which happened to coincide with a full moon no less - the bowl arrived in one piece at my home. The first person to drink from it? My friend's daughter, who loves Japan the way I and her mother do and loves the stars the way her father did.
My cha-do set, with it's snazzy new bowl.
So I related this whole story to my tea class and finished with "It really needs a name after all it's been through." (It's pretty common for distinctive tea tools to be given names). I asked the Japanese speakers how they might translate "Starry Wanderer" in Japanese - and got blank looks. Some concepts are hard to translate, but I may play with it it until I find a good translation. In the meanwhile, although it doesn't have a Japanese name, it does have a song.
Song Choice: The Wanderer by Dion