Fresh bamboo. In tea this usually means that it should be green and cut only a few days before an event.
It is possible to keep bamboo looking fresh for some time by either:
- wrapping it in plastic foil and putting it in the freezer.
- keeping it in water, but changing the water often.
It can be very difficult in our modern times to get ao take. Even in Japan you will have to order Ao Take a week or more ahead of time. Therefore many people provide fake ao take, that is some thing that looks like green bamboo but will stay nice and green forever. This is not recommended for events but is nice for Keiko.
Note that for many dogu you may use dried up (white/yellow) bamboo instead of green fresh bamboo if it has a painting or a Kao on it. Another exception is to keep the Futaoki from your first event in Furo season and use it again in October (last month of Furo)