Monday, March 30, 2009

A Drink for a Smaller Waist

Of course!

Here’s an easy way to turn a routine workout into a powerful waist-whittler: Drink green tea.
– A tip from

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rykubondate practice, March 17

Chabana, March 17 – flowering quince

Last week, we set up the chashitsu with two furo for tea practice so two people could make tea at a time. It was cozy with two furo in a four-and-a-half mat room. Because of the new configuration we had to make some adjustments, but since two people at a time could make tea more people got to practice.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring tea harvest in Kyoto!

Kumi found this photo on Asahi Newspaper a few days ago. Enjoy!


What exactly is a chaboo? It's a sweet little table from designer Ken Tomita named after the Japanese word for low table (chabudai) and what it's made from (bamboo). Even sweeter is that Tomita didn't keep this minimalist creation all to himself. He invited other artists and designers to put their touches on these tables or reinterpret the design from scratch. The results show just how much variation creative folks can produce on a single simple theme. And the online gallery might inspire a custom remix of your own.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tsagaan sar!

Yesterday, Harvey and I got to enjoy Tsagaan sar, Mongolian New Year, at the home of Susan Fox and David Thewlis with their friends Ganaa, Ricardo, Diane and Dave. Ganaa, a native Mongolian, was very gracious in sharing her culture with us and showed us how to make buuz (pronounced "boze"). I'd call buuz Mongolian potstickers -- ground meat wrapped in dough and steamed, then eaten with whatever sauce or condiment you choose. Ganaa tried to teach us how to say "happy new year" but I have to admit I can't remember the phrase now, probably owing to following the Mongolian custom of celebratory drinking -- we toasted with lots of beer and "Ghingis Khan" brand Mongolian vodka (very tasty). Since Mongolian beer isn't available in the U.S., they offered Singha, a Thai beer (available at our local Co-Op), and the closest in flavor they have found.

I got the impression that Tsagaan sar seems to be a progressive party with family groups going from ger to ger during the course of the celebrations which last for several weeks and involve eating and drinking to excess. For instance, one night you and your family would come to my place tonight, we'd give you gifts and feed you. Lots. Then tomorrow, I and mine would come to your place and you'd reciprocate. Mongolians are generous and hospitable to a fault, sometimes going hungry themselves when hospitality requires them to entertain a guest. It seems no one is ever turned away from a ger, and always welcomed with tea and whatever food is available. (It's common for us to call Mongolian homes yurts because that's what occupying Russians called them, but the correct Mongolian word is ger, pronouced "gare".)

Ganaa, Ricardo, Susan and David all shared stories of Mongolia. After dinner, Ganaa and Susan shared pictures on the computer.

Here are some nifty links:

Naturally, we ate and drank to excess. I believe I need an aspirin.

Paper Hina-ningyo for Hinamatsuri

Upcoming tea practice falls on Hinamatsuri and since we don't have proper Hina ningyo to display, so I found this online to celebrate Hinamatsuri in proper fashion:

You can download the pdf, then print and cut out the tiny paper figures, then glue it up to make a three-tier display. I don't recommend this unless you have sharp scissors or xacto blade, magnifying glasses and an obsessive-compulsive personality. However, the figures are beautifully drawn and it's darling without being exceptionally cutesy. Also on the same website are paper crafts for other Japanese holidays, which promise to be equally challenging.