Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gaiwan?? Tea cup with lid

Cups with lid are often used when you serve tea for guests in Japan. They are kind of formal. They have a lid not to get the tea cold easily.

A man who read my blog asked me what is the name for this type of cup. I’ve been calling this type of cup just a cup with lid. Many Japanese tableware shops also call them a cup with lid, which is futatsuki-yunomi or futatsuki-sencha in Japanese (futa=lid, tsuki=with, yunomi or sencha=a type of tea cup). It doesn’t seem there is a certain name for it.

To answer his question, I looked up the internet and my dictionary. The cups with lager lid than the cup body (like this picture) are sold at Japanese table ware shops, and called futatsuki-yunomi or futatsuki-sencha. On the other hand, the cups with smaller lid than the cup body are mostly sold at Chinese tea ware shops, and called gaiwan. Gaiwan is not only used as a cup but also as a teapot. We do use gaiwan for Japanese susuricha, but I could not find the word, gaiwan in my Japanese dictionary. So, gaiwan may not be proper Japanese, and seems Chinese name, used in Japanese as an imported word. Japanese tea culture and also kanji characters are originally from China. We have many similar aspects, so I have never gave a thought if it is Japanese or Chinese.
After all, I could not find the certain name for the tea cup with lid in Japanese. What I can say is that we, Japanese typically call it just a cup with lid, futatsuki-yunomi or futatsuki-sencha.

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