Category Archives: 05.無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering (Wu-Wo Tea Ceremory)-Chapter 5-Signing in, Drawing of Lots and Taking one’s Seats -蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering (Wu-Wo Tea Ceremory)-Chapter 5-Signing in, Drawing of Lots and Taking one’s Seats -蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering-Chapter 5-Signing in, Drawing of Lots and Taking one’s Seats -蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

《無我茶會Sans Self Tea Gathering 180條》

蔡荣章著Author:Rong-tsang Tsai

ISBN 978-957-9690-08-9,“无我茶会Sans Self Tea Gathering 180” ,First edition: 1999.9, Second edition: 2010.9.《无我茶会180条》,1999.9第一版,2010.9第二版.台北陆羽茶艺股份有限公司.2012.05.20修订版.-English Translator : Katherine Yip,英语翻译:叶德明.

Chapter 5  Signing in, Drawing of Lots and Taking one’s Seats

38. Signing-in Procedure: drawing of lots, registry signing and others

The signing-in procedure includes registration, time synchronizing, drawing of lots and registry signing, and in some occasions, stamping the participants’ San-self Tea Gathering passbook.

Registration helps differentiate pre-event registrations from on-the-spot registrations, and whether a participant needs to pay. Identification tags will then be issued. If it is agreed that tea be offered to the onlooking public, the organizers will also distribute a certain number of temporary tea cups, or custom-ordered souvenir tea cups to each participant. This should be done swiftly without wasting time on any unnecessary steps.

Drawing of lots decides the place of each participant. In general, these can be small pieces of paper with a number on each.  Fold each into a small square and put them in a bag. If preferred, the lots can be done in such a manner that they can become keepsake when the tea gathering is over.  The participants are then required to sign in the registry for record purpose; meanwhile, as seats are determined by drawing of lots, it will be meaningful to match the signed names with respective seat numbers.

39.  Shortening the drawing and signing processes in the event of a large attendance

To save time, the organizer can set up a few counters for the drawing of lots at the venue.  Place some paper strips next to these drawing counters. Each participant is to sign on a paper strip and write the respective drawn number on it.  Put the signed strips into a ‘signed paper strips collection bag’. At the end of the tea gathering, just affix the signed strips of paper in a book according to the order of the numbers to produce a registry.

A potential problem would be time wasted in fumbling for pens. Just make sure each person conducting the drawing of lots has a pen tied with a piece of string. Participants can then quickly get hold of the pen and sign. Do remember to use heavier grammage of paper for the strips.


40. Handling participants signing in upon arrival

Controlling the number of participants becomes critical if there are a lot of participants with many signing up in groups, and there are both pre-event and on-the-spot registrations. In this case, make sure all participants obtain their identification tags at the registration counter before proceeding to the drawing of lots.  However, the workload will be very heavy at the registration counter, which may cause delay. Under these circumstances, try issue identification tags to pre-event registered participants who have confirmed their attendance ahead of time. They will be considered signed-in participants and can proceed directly to the draw of lots.

41. Controlling the number of participants and seat arrangement

During signing-in, personnel at the registration counter, the lots drawing counter and those who attend to seat arrangement must work very closely with each other. For example, if there are signs that there will be a lot more people joining at the last minute, the number of seats for the scheduled 300 participants will have to be increased to 350. Set the extra 50 lots aside. When the personnel at the registration counter confirm that there is such a need, they will have to inform the personnel conducting the drawing of lots to add the reserved 50 lots into the bag.  Meanwhile, if there is no such need, the personnel in charge of seat arrangement have to be informed to eliminate the extra 50 seats. Depending on the venue, if it is impossible to add or remove the entire 50 seats at the end of the loop formation, try set aside 50 lots at intervals among the 350 lots to be drawn.

42. What if I want to bring along some friends who have not prepared any tea ware?

What should I do if I come across a friend who wants to join me after learning that I am on my way to a San-self Tea Gathering? It will be hard to turn him down. Likewise, some participants may bring their family members along. In theory, these ad hoc participants can only observe from the side because they have not brought any tea ware. However, it is possible to let them draw lots, be seated among participants and be offered tea. The difference is, he and the three fellow drinkers on his left will have one cup less than the others (assuming that each person makes four cups of tea).

If the number of these ad hoc participants is small, they can be considered as participants in the way described above. However, if the number is too large (but try not to exceed 1/3 of the number of tea-brewing participants),  make sure that any two ad hoc participants without tea ware are not sitting next to each other; this is to avoid too few cups of tea for several participants on their left. If such arrangement happens after lots are drawn, the personnel in charge will have to relocate the second ad hoc participant and make the distribution more even.

43. Seating arrangement for ‘non tea-brewing’ participants

San-self Tea Gathering requires each participant to brew tea – this is a key principle. There are exceptions though. If the gathering is held in honour of certain guests who are not familiar with tea brewing, special arrangement will have to be made. Take out the number of lots equivalent to the number of these guests from the total pool of lots for all participants. This forms another pool of lots which only non tea-brewing participants draw from. In this case, it is acceptable even if the number of guests exceed 1/3, since all those present understand that the tea gathering is held for a special purpose. Having said that, if the number of non tea-brewing participants doubles that of other participants, it may mean each non tea-brewing guest will only be offered one cup of tea. As such, seating arrangement for these two types of participants will have to be attended to with extra care to avoid anyone not being offered any tea at all.

44. Is there a need for ‘connecting lots’ in the event that some participants come with their young children?

When we mention ‘participants come with their young children’, we are referring to participants with children who brew tea. Our experience shows that children as young as three years old are capable of the task. For children who can take care of themselves, it would be the best for them to draw lots on their own; this goes with the spirit of a San-self Tea Gathering.  However, if adult assistance is required, participants can put in the request at the time of registration and ask for ‘connecting lots’, which will be drawn by the adult participants. ‘Connecting lots’ are basically lots of two consecutive numbers tied together. These lots should be prepared according to the situation of registration; any extra ones can be untied and used as ordinary lots.

’Connecting lots’ are strictly for adult participants with young children. No such requests from among adult participants will be entertained, as it goes against the spirit of San-self Tea Gathering. Meanwhile, switching places with the others after the drawing of lots is not acceptable.

45. How to ensure ‘time synchronizing’?

All San-self Tea Gatherings follow pre-agreed schedule. There are no designated personnel to facilitate the flow of the tea gathering. The event flow must be in sync among participants; timing is crucial, and they will rely on their watches to ensure this. There should be a clock, which serves as the official timekeeper, beside the registration counter or held up by a person, with a signage: ‘Please synchronize your watch with this clock’.

46. Should there be any ‘facilitators’?

For large-scale San-self Tea Gatherings, some people suggest that we can recruit volunteers to guide participants along at different spots of the venue. We would, instead, encourage self-help made possible by ‘pre-event preparation’ and ‘training’. This ensures that a San-self Tea Gathering is carried out with minimal manpower and resources, in line with what it aspires to. In any event, no newcomers could participate without any idea of San-self Tea Gatherings; participants would have been exposed to certain training of the Way of Tea and attended a related briefing.

47. Should there be personnel assigned to deal with unforeseen circumstances?

When brewing has begun at a San-self Tea Gathering, all members of the organizing team will return to their respective seats and participate, with the exception of the members of the audio and video crew.  However, in a sizeable gathering, especially those with international participants, a couple of personnel could remain at the counter to attend to unexpected events.

48. How to deal with number plates of absentees?

When the ‘tea ware appreciation and networking’ session reaches halftime, personnel responsible for venue setup will have to collect the number plates (including souvenirs) from the seats of absentees in order to keep the venue tidy.

49. When should members of the organizing team be seated at the tea gathering?

With the exception of the video and audio crew, other members of the organizing team, including personnel for venue setup and registration will have to take their seats. They would have drawn lots, identified their seats and laid out their tea ware before they began carrying out their assigned duties. When the ‘tea ware appreciation and networking’ session reaches halftime, the registration counter will be closed, and these team members will return to their seats ready for tea brewing.

50. What would happen to latecomers?

When the ‘tea ware appreciation and networking’ session reaches halftime, the registration counter will be closed. To maintain order of the venue and avoid interruption, latecomers will not be able to join and brew tea. They will observe from the side, or take the initiative to assist at the counter and attend to unexpected events.

51. Seating arrangement for performers and presenters.

For San-self Tea Gathering with briefing arranged for the public, the presenter should be standing away from the tea-brewing participants. The position of the performers will have to take into consideration the wind direction and audio setup. Their places will have to be planned ahead, and exempted from drawing of lot. Their places will still be represented by numbered lots. However, the lots will be handed over to them by the personnel handling registration, instead of being drawn from the bag. When the performers have got hold of the lots, they will need to sign in the registry for record purpose.

Reserve some places near the registration counter or with easy accessibility for participants who have trouble moving around. The numbered lots of these places can be kept by the registration personnel and directly issued to those in need.

52. If for reasons beyond our control, the tea gathering cannot be held as scheduled, what remedial measures can be taken?

San-self Tea Gatherings are expected to take place as scheduled. In the rare occasion when, for reasons beyond our control (such as flight delay affecting the joint organizers), it is obvious that the gathering could not take place at the agreed time, the organizer would have to handle it according to the estimated duration of the delay: for delay above an hour, try inform all participants and reschedule the gathering; for delay within an hour, put up a notice at the registration counter regarding the reason for the delay and the revised time.  If some participants have taken their seats, it would be necessary to announce the delay through the PA system, or having someone going around the venue with a signboard. Make very clear when the tea-brewing is going to begin, because the ‘tea ware appreciation and networking’ session that comes before it can take place first; whereas, the programme to take place after tea brewing will have to be delayed accordingly.