Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Horai Center Attends Sister City Celebration

Ten years ago, the modern city of Kamisu was formed by a merger of the former town of Kamisu and the neighboring town of Hasaki. The city planned to commemorate this event with a ceremony in August, and invited its Sister City Eureka to attend. Harvey II and Holly Harvey of the DreamMaker program Horai Center were appointed as representatives to attend the ceremony.

After becoming Sister Cities, Kamisu and Eureka enjoyed a lively relationship in the 1990s but exchanges tapered off in recent years. As part of a campaign to re-invigorate the relationship, Kamisu city staff introduced us to cultural, political and industrial features of the city and surrounding region in the days prior to its anniversary ceremony, many of which have ties to Eureka and Humboldt County. Here are just a few highlights.

The 10th Anniversary Ceremony was held on Aug. 1, 2015 at the Kamisu Cultural Center. We met and spoke with people at an an information booth in the lobby prior to the ceremony. Kamisu city staff organized the booth with pamphlets, posters and a slide show contributed by the City of Eureka and the Humboldt County Convention and Visitors Bureau. We also visited the small grove of redwood trees planted on the grounds of the Cultural Center, a gift from the City of Eureka in the 1990s.

Harvey II at the Eureka City information booth

Harvey II at the Eureka City information booth

The booth featured posters, maps, pamphlets and
a computer slideshow about Eureka and Humboldt County. 
Redwood Grove adjacent to the Kamisu Cultural Center

Harvey II (left) and Holly Harvey at the Redwood Grove
adjacent to the Kamisu Cultural Center

Behind the Kamisu Cultural Center is Kaminoike Ryokuchi (Gonoike) Park. Its main feature is a long pond crossed by a long foot bridge. On the opposite side stands a redwood gazebo built and installed in the park by Eric Hollenbeck of Blue Ox Millworks. It was recently refinished.

The gazebo is opposite the Cultural Center across a large pond

A gazebo "For friendship between Eureka and Kamisu,
presented by Mr. Eric Hollenbeck, 1994.9.19"

Gazebo detail

A shady seat on a hot summer day

Kamisu is port city with a population of 93,550 about 55 miles northeast of Tokyo. We were given a tour of Kamisu’s harbor and international shipping port from aboard the boat Eureka, cruising past 300-foot-long cargo ships, grain silos, a natural gas power plant, wind-energy turbines and an iron smelting factory among other industries.

The tour boat Eureka

Aboard the Eureka

International shipping

Wind turbines and construction along the waterfront

300-foot-tall observation tower
offers a bird's eye view of the port

Horai Center will address the Eureka City Council on October 15. Anyone interested in getting involved with the Sister City association, student exchanges or home stays may contact us at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Horai Center to Represent Eureka at Kamisu Celebration

Horai Center will represent the City of Eureka, California, at a ceremony celebrating its Sister City of Kamisu, Japan on Aug. 1, 2015 as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of incorporation. 

Below is a video produced by Eureka television station News Channel 3, with a look back to the beginnings of the Sister City relationship begun in 1991 with then-mayor Nancy Flemming.

We look forward to sharing this celebration with our fellow Eurekans and all of Humboldt County. If you haven't already, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Timeless Hour

Scroll and flower arrangement
Ichi-go ichi-e (one chance, one meeting)

This week we had the pleasure to present a demonstration of Cha-no-yu at the Humboldt State University Library. The Library's Lifelong Learning program organizes short lunchtime programs for the college campus and surrounding community. We shared Tea with 40 or so people in the beautiful Fishbowl meeting room. One attendee drove from Smith River, about an hour away.

The enthusiasm and interest in Cha-no-yu was wonderful but bittersweet since we had only an hour to make introductions, demonstrate a short procedure (Chabako, or "picnic tea") and then answer a few questions. But for that short time we slowed our pace and focused on the present, something we don't always do at lunch.

The Fishbowl meeting room at the Humboldt State University library

Demonstration of Chabako, or picnic tea

Explanation of shomen, the front of an object
Photo courtesy of Kumi Watanabe-Schock

Time for questions and answers 

Haiken — appreciation of the natsume (tea container)
Photo courtesy of Kumi Watanabe-Schock

Haiken — appreciation of the natsume (tea container)
Photo courtesy of Kumi Watanabe-Schock

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

To Make a Long Story Short, Join Us For Tea

It feels as though this should begin with a confession: It has been two years since our last tea demonstration.

Two years ago we had good momentum and enthusiasm for our projects, especially the re-energized Eureka-Kamisu Sister City committee. After a good start, things seemed to stall. Later, we had a death and illnesses in our families. We lost our enthusiasm for outreach and fell out of touch with an unraveled Sister City committee. Things still must have been going on behind the scenes, however, and this spring we received a surprising phone call from the Eureka mayor's office that they had received a letter from the city of Kamisu.

It is a wonderful feeling to know that the relationship has been re-energized, and along with it our zeal for sharing the Tea Ceremony with the public. Please join us at the Humboldt State University Library Fishbowl on Wed., July 1, from noon to 1:00 p.m. We will share tea and an update on the Sister City association. Visit our Facebook event page for more details, or email

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy New Year of the Ram

Japanese dorei (clay bells) in the shape of the Twelve Zodiac Animals

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

'Wabi-sabi: Tea Ceremony Ceramics' Exhibit in Arcata

This month, enjoy Lauryn Axelrod's exhibit of Wabi-sabi: Tea Ceremony Ceramics at the Fire Arts Center in Arcata.

Chawan on display in the gallery

A variety of shapes and glazes

Surrounded by pottery in progress, Axelrod offered a demonstration of Chanoyu, a discussion on wabi-sabi and Chado, the Way of Tea, in the studio's working space.

Wabi-sabi: Tea Ceremony Ceramics continues through Feb. 12, 2015 at The Fire Arts Center, 520 South G Street, Arcata, Calif. Call 707-826-1445 for information.

Read more: Perfectly Imperfect — Lauryn Axelrod's wabi-sabi vessels at Fire Arts Center

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Forecast is Green for 2015

Matcha (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Green food, that is: Kalette, pot, and green tea are trending foods for 2015.

Tea is making the food trend lists from CBS to NPR. listed matcha as one of "four foods for health nuts." World Tea News reports that tea was gaining ground in 2014 and will continue to do so this year.