Nov 29, 2012

Remembering winter chakai

I remember one of the most memorable chakai was at the Japanese Garden in Winter.   The snow was softly falling and it was only the host and I.  The scroll hanging in the tokonoma read,  "Everything's important, nothing really matters."

He had opened up all of the windows to the tea house and made tea in the cold. We could see the clouds of our own breath and soon we were breathing in unison.    The world was silent and we could only hear the sound of the kettle -  matsu kaze -- sound of the wind in the pines.  We sat in the tea room, watching the snow fall onto the moss in the garden and holding onto our bowls of tea to warm our hands. Max didn't like to say much, and grumbled when there were too many guests, but it was only me and him that day, sitting in silence, drinking tea, watching the snow fall, listening to the sound of the kettle.

Nov 25, 2012

'Tis the season

Yesterday was Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Today is small business Saturday and Cyber Monday coming up.  It is officially now the shopping, buying and consuming season until the end of the year.

When my husband and I were first married, I asked him not to buy me things for occasions like birthdays and Christmas.  Instead, I asked him to buy me experiences.  He has been forced to be creative and yes, he has delivered in giving me experience gifts, from a home-catered meal to a private concert, to season theater tickets.   He also has arranged for me to dig a ditch with a back hoe and a consultation with a master gardener. I have been taken the Highland games and a trip to the Grand Canyon.  He has bought me sewing classes and a chance to race a car on the track Portland International Raceway. 

 We have agreed this year to give only one gift and shop local, and by the way, extra points for experience over things.

Perhaps for this year, you too can give the gift of experience for Christmas.  There is a new Introduction to Chado class beginning in January.  You can also give the experience of a Japanese Tea Ceremony by Issoan Tea School.  For more information, visit