Regarding children performing the tea ceremony for their mothers:

The children rotated the cup so that it looked pretty/clean and placed the tea in front of their mother.

I don't know which part of きれいに見えるように I'm mistranslating but neither of my translations makes much sense. I understand that rotating the cup is part of the ceremony but my translation isn't providing a sensible explanation.


The children rotated/turned the bowl so that it looked pretty/nice to their mother, with the (hand) painted design/motif ([模様]{もよう}/[柄]{がら}) facing her (i.e. so that the front of the bowl faced her).


  • 抹茶用の茶碗って、正面に、絵とか何かの模様か[印]{しるし}みたいなのが付けられていることが多いので・・・
    – Chocolate
    Jan 13 '18 at 5:17
  • 2
    Also there is maybe a misunderstanding on OPs side: This is not about the (usually known) guests rotating the bowl part of the ceremony. The children, after making the tea, rotate the cup out of respect (尊敬) for their guests (read mothers) so that the guests have the most beautiful side facing them. The guests then at some point pick up the bowl and, out of humility (謙遜・謙虚), rotate it twice to the left such that the beautiful side now shows back to the tea maker.
    – Yannick
    Jan 13 '18 at 6:28
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    Furthermore, just to make sure this has been said (and it should be understood from my previous comment) this is not limited to bowls that have things painted on them. When I went to Kyoto's 高台寺{こうだいじ} for a tea ceremony, for example, the cups were black. There is no 'easy choice' for the beautiful side but the cups are of course still meticulously created and very beautiful so you probably should still assume that the tea maker has turned, what he/she believes to be, the beautiful side to you and you should feel compelled, out of humility, to turn it back to him/her.
    – Yannick
    Jan 13 '18 at 6:33

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