Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Searchlight Serenade: Big Bands in the Japanese American Incarceration"

This week, instead of regular okeiko, or practice, we went to see the premiere of "Searchlight Serenade: Big Bands in the Japanese American Incarceration." Producers Claire Reynolds and Sam Greene of our local PBS affiliate, KEET-TV, collaborated with local artist Amy Uyeki. Together they created a touching documentary which tells the stories of former internees who played music in the camps through interviews along with historical footage of the camps. 

Click here for more information about the documentary.

An animated segment based on actual events involving jazz bands in the camps was created by artist Amy Uyeki whose parents were both interned with their families at Gila River and Minidoka Internment Camps. The animation was created from woodblocks done in a traditional Japanese style, bringing to life some of the occurrences that happened with the bands in the camps.

"Searchlight Serenade" premiered Oct. 30 on KEET-TV and at Humboldt State University as part of the 15th Annual Campus Dialogue on Race.

Your local PBS affiliate can broadcast this film!

Contact your PBS station and let them know that KEET-TV is making this film available to them. They can download the documentary on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET, HD04. For more information, contact Claire Reynolds by email or at (707) 445-0813.

You can also purchase DVDs for yourself, schools or library for $25 from KEET-TV.

The four of us gave it two eight thumbs up!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oregon Tea Journey

Our summer road trip through Oregon was about catching up with family and friends — and meeting new friends too. We were fortunate to be able to enjoy a little Tea and learn some lessons along the way.

The first leg of our trip was a weekend in Bend, Ore., with family. We dined on sushi one night and recipes from the French Laundry cookbook the next. Enjoyed a museum and a brewery. No Cha-no-yu, but a great visit.

Next stop: Portland and Forestville. We stayed with friends in Forestville who have a lovely three-mat chashitsu in the living room. Their energetic ten-year-old twins also enjoy tea. To be invited into a friends' tea room is an honor and a pleasure.

Chashitsu at friends' house in Forestville, Oregon.
Preparing for chabako temae,
Forestville, Oregon

We had but one day to inhale Portland. (This is not recommended. It takes more than a day to enjoy that beautiful city.) Our itinerary was three stops: The Portland Japanese Gardens, a street-food lunch from a food truck pod and a one-hour blitz through Powell's.

Tea garden
Portland Japanese Gardens

Tea house
Portland Japanese Gardens

Tea house
Portland Japanese Gardens

Portland Japanese Gardens

Portland Japanese Gardens

On our last day in Portland we were invited by Marjorie Yap to her lovely Issoan tea room and tea school. Earlier in the year, when we were beginning to consider where we would go on our vacation, I tossed out the question to Facebook friends: "San Francisco or Portland?" Marjorie, whom I'd only "met" online, replied, "I'll make you tea if you come to Portland." And she did! A Facebook friend became a real friend.

Issoan "One Grass Hut"
Portland, Oregon

After the heat of Bend and Portland (the temp was climbing toward 100° the day we left), it was a relief to head West to the coolness of the coast. One night of camping, two nights at a vacation rental, three days of beach bummin' and hanging out.

Camping, Beachside State Park,
Waldport, Oregon

Cheddar Bear and his Do Matcha are now part of (Maybe he's cute enough to win us a free tin of matcha!)

Tsunami debris watch signs, Beachside State Park,
Waldport, Oregon

Harmony on the beach.
Waldport, Ore.

Our way home, heading south on Highway 101, we stopped in Yachats for a cup of coffee … and what the heck is that? Chawan? Matcha? Nice! And fair prices too.

Matcha, sencha and chawan at Ye Olde Green Salmon
Yachats, Oregon

And there's matcha on the menu?

Matcha on the menu! Ye Olde Green Salmon,
Yachats, Oregon

How often does one have the opportunity to have a bowl of matcha at a commercial establishment in the U.S.? The coffee drinks looked great. The food smelled fabulous. I shushed my inner voice and decided to try it.

As I stared at my enormous, full-to-the-brim, scalding hot bowl of too-thin thin tea, I was reminded of a story that Marjorie had told us just a few days earlier about her experience with a minimally-trained person offering tastes of an American-label matcha at a promotional event. The maker added a small scoop of matcha to a tea bowl, filled it up with hot water and lightly swooshed the whisk through it. Marjorie politely declined to drink any of that tea, seeing that it would be too watery and whisked inadequately.

Matcha at Ye Olde Green Salmon
Yachats, Oregon
Harvey-sensei ordered espresso. Next time I will too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"To the top!"

(Thanks to our friend Kumi for sharing this!)