Stolen

Giichi opened the dogu box honoring his brother on the family shrine. Would blasphemy make matcha taste even sweeter? Yuuki would not have shied away from either thievery or blasphemy if it stood between him and a perfect bowl of tea.  His heart thumped as he pulled out a tea scoop. Yuuki had sacrificed himself because Giichi’s failed attempt at stealing dogu refined enough to use with it. The rightful owner caught him in the act, demanding Yuuki’s servitude in exchange for Giichi’s life.

No one was here to thwart his thieving this time. Making a bowl of tea with this particular scoop would be a better way to honor Yuuki than letting it remain unused.

Giichi had been snooping around his brother’s room the first time he held this scoop. As he pulled it out he heard, “Can I help you with something, ototo?” from behind him. Yuuki stood where a flower arrangement had been a moment before. Giichi hadn’t realized that he could change himself into smaller, non-animal objects yet. At 180, Yuuki was young for a kitsune to be able to do that.

“Did you really steal this from a warlord?” Giichi said.

“No, I stole it from a merchant. One of my bowls was from a warlord, but it was a gift,” Yuuki came over to Giichi and took the box. “If you ask nicely I will show all my dogu to you.”

“Please?”

Yuuki arranged the box’s contents in front of Giichi, explaining each’s purpose. Giichi wasn’t very impressed with the tea scoops.

“They’re just bits of curved bamboo,” Giichi said.

“To eyes that rush maybe. That’s why it’s best to ask. You can take the time to appreciate them. Each has a special name, sometimes associated with something seasonal. This one is called Ginpu,” Yuuki said, lifting one.

Giichi studied the scoops. “I like the first one,” he said, picking it up. “What’s its name?”

“Its previous owner didn’t tell me. I suppose I’ll have to think of one.”

“Can I name it?”

“Yes, but put it down carefully. Each tool should be handled like you are saying farewell to a dear friend whom you are unsure of meeting again.”

The next day Yuuki performed a ceremony for Giichi’s amusement, claiming he needed to practice a special form reserved only for royalty. Though he knew nothing of tea etiquette then, Giichi played the part of the noble. He had fidgeted, wolfed down every sweet Yuuki had talked a cousin into preparing, and demanded Yuuki name the scoop “Prince Giichi” even as his affronted cousin rolled his eyes at the inappropriateness of the name.  Still, Yuuki kept the name until the day he was stolen.

Giichi’s mind returned to the present as he made himself a bowl of tea. He handled each tool just as his brother had taught him, and drank. It was exquisite.  He picked up the scoop again.


“When I find you, oniisan, call it whatever you like. But while it’s mine, its name will be Matsuyuuki. Each bowl I prepare with it honors you.” 




Japanese words:

dogu: tools used in Japanese tea ceremony
ototo: little brother
Ginpu: "reading poems in the autumn breeze while moon gazing"
oniisan: big brother
Matsuyuukiliterally "snow covered pine", which is a fine name for a tea scoop, but it is also a play on Yuuki’s name (which means snow) and pine, which oddly enough has a similar double meaning in Japanese and English (both a tree, and to wait or long for something). 

Song Choice:  My Hero by The Foo Fighters





This is some of my dogu.



This short story was created as part of October's Heart Bits With Magaly: Love is Love is Love and Words. Follow the link to see other fun offerings. Long time readers might remember Yuuki from several short stories I've written before. If you are new to the blog and curious as to what actually happened to Giichi's brother, you can read about it here.

27 comments:

  1. Oh that was such a beautiful story. I love the meaning of the final name of the scoop XXX

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    1. Thanks! I have a big tea intensive training coming up and have had nothing but tea and writing on the brain for weeks.

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  2. I love the relationship between the brothers, and the storms that will brew out of their separation. I'm quite taken by the fact that you used your word-love to show us how someone can love tea and be inspired by it (to do all sorts of things). I can't wait to see what else happens with Giichi, Yuuki, and the newly renamed Matsuyuuki.

    Thank you for enriching my October's Heart-Bits with your yummy brew.

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    1. Thank you for giving me another excuse to add to Yuuki's story and get a little bit of tea love out while doing it.

      Yes, Giichi will play a role in some future exploits.

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  3. Oh this is so incredibly charming, Rommy!💞 I love how you depict the significance of the 'dogu' and the wisdom in "To eyes that rush maybe. That’s why it’s best to ask. You can take the time to appreciate them" .. we can only truly understand something if we care enough to pay attention. Beautifully rendered!💞


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. *giggle* This story could have been 1000 words longer because I had to much I wanted to say about that. I've been studying hard for an upcoming tea intensive. One of the big parts of any ceremony is admiring the tools that are used. There's a whole bunch of etiquette around it, with guests getting to handle the tools and the host explaining a little bit about them after the tea has been drank.

      I suppose going into a full fledged explanation would have been too much for anyone but a hard core Japanese tea ceremony enthusiast, but I am glad I managed to convey an aficionado's love, not only for the taste of tea, but warm sentiments towards the tools that create a delicious experience.

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    2. And you did.. that too.. beautifully!💞💞

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  4. What an interesting tale, all over tea making. I went back and read it again after I saw the Japanese definitions. Delightful!

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  5. So intriguing a story.loved this!!.and feeling/witnessing the relationship of these brothers! Fantastic and beautifully written! Love all of the meanings behind the words! I am feeling even more in love with tea after reading this..beautiful!
    Victoria

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I almost went with writing a blog post about my love for tea, but when I realized this was also a perfect chance to add a bit to a story of a character I love writing about, I opted for that instead.

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  6. This is such a beautiful and interesting story! Thankyou for the meanings of the words! Big Hugs!

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    1. I often feel a little overwhelmed at all the terminology in tea, so I thought it would be helpful to add the meanings for those who quite likely are unfamiliar with them.

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  7. I really enjoyed your story.
    blessings
    ~*~

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  8. So super lovely! The relationship between the brothers, the slow, quiet sensuousness of the ceremony description, and Giichi's wonderful behavior during a royal tea ceremony ;)

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    1. *snickersnort* Yes I had lots to draw upon imagining Giichi's enthusiastically bad behavior. I have to remember to keep my voice calm and serene when describing the treats instead of acting like a jacked up Sailor Moon. :D

      Also...I just got a dragon tea bowl from a garage sale. :)

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  9. Your depiction of Japanese tea ceremony is fascinating and rewarding even for me, a novice. The etiquette is something to be admired. But what melted my heart is the brotherly love that comes through your absorbing story. And the appendix, explaining Japanese words used, is a welcome bonus. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Khaya. I really wanted to see if I could play with some of the things that come up from my love of tea to create a short story that still would resonate with readers. I'm super happy the brotherly love shone through.

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  10. The relationship between the brothers is wonderful. This story has caused me to stop and ponder. I love that about your writing for Ms. Magaly's October Heart Bits. Thanks for the great read, xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. Woot! Any time I can get that sort of reaction is a big win in my book. Thanks for the kind words. <3

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  11. I have enjoyed all your Yuuki stories, but I love the extra element of weaving in the tea ceremony, and adding the glossary of terms. I travelled to Japan when I was younger and reading this has me feeling all nostalgic!

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    1. That is awesome that I could inspire nostalgia! *happy dance* Thank you so much for continuing to read my scribblings. :)

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  12. Great story and I typically can't read fiction very easily. This, I loved.

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    1. Woot! So happy you stopped by Buddah.

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  13. Beautiful honouring of tea tradition! Great writing!

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