Friday, October 31, 2008

IZ Tribute - Mahalo

This one for Robbie:

Phonetically Challenged Tea???

A new tea retailer blipped on my radar: Sounding like part of a “tongue twister” or “Shibboleth":

Pluckers Pick; from Sri Lanka.

If, Ceylon tea is your choice brew, this might be worth a look. The site provides useful info.

The holding company of Plucker’s Pick is SRJacobs & Company. Rubesh and Carrie Jacobs, an enterprising husband and wife team, founded SRJacobs & Company with the goal of leveraging their talents and experience to capitalize on new and diverse economic opportunities.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hello from Thailand --- Chiang Mai

Rick just sent sent a family update .. We worked together in Colorado. Rick now lives in Chiang Mai with his wife and daughter. We managed a few meetings in China over the years.

"It was nice to see the pics of Longmont you posted on your blog... Don't miss the cold but sure miss the blue skies. It's been raining almost every other day here recently although I am hoping that the rainy season is almost over.... That is good because here coming up in November is the Loy Krathong holiday.... very festive and attracts a lot of tourists. (Attached a few pics of last year)"

Loy Krathong literally means to "float a raft"

Loy Krathong is a delightful, gentle and pretty festival where families, friends and lovers come together to wash away the sins and bad luck of the past year and to wish for good fortune in the coming year.

Krathongs are floats made of natural materials, containing a candle, incense sticks, a coin or two and beautifully decorated with flowers are launched into the sea, or any convenient stretch of water, as a thanksgiving to the water spirits and a cleansing of sins. Thailand is often called the "land of smiles" and rightly so because you will see more smiles per mile than anywhere else in the world.

New Year: In Thailand there are three New Year's days.

The Western, on Jan 1st, the Chinese New Year on the first day of the first lunar month, usually in February and the Thai New Year marked by the Songkhran festival in April.

Chinese New Year: 1st day of the first Chinese Lunar month, usually in February. Businesses close for 3-4 days giving families time to get together and worship at one of the Chinese Buddhist temples. There may also be public celebrations with acrobats, Lion Dance and firecrackers. The latter are believed to frighten away "foreign devils".

Songkran: This is the celebration of the traditional Thai New Year. Buddhists visit the temple for the ceremony of Rod Nam Dam Nua. They sprinkle water on the Buddha images and on the hands of the monks as a sing of respect and as an offering to express confidence that the supply of water will be adequate to cover the dry season. T

his holiday has now become secularised with exuberant merrymakers taking to the streets throwing water at each other by the cup, bucket and bottle or even with a hose. To add to the fun, talc is mixed with the water and may be daubed on your face. Take it all in good part, as no one is exempt. The cool water may even be a welcome relief as the festival coincides with the time when the sun is due overhead and the weather can be very hot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tintinnabular -- 4 am

Ask not: "For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee" John Donne ..

Monday, 4:00am rolls around and its off to LAX, first morning flight to Boston, afternoon arrival .. fortunately clear blue sky, about 60F .. beautiful fall day.

Tuesday, still cold, light rain.. down side some bad weather on its way in .. hope my Wed early flight home can take-off .. fingers crossed. Update: Wed morning, in the Admirals Club in BOS Int. Some patchy light snow last night (not in my immediate area) Strong winds now, but flights are on time ...

Sunday - SCUBA

Back-Yard diver:....Winter in Southern California ...

Back story; my wife Robin (Robbie) is a Multi agency (PADI-NUWI-LA County) certified SCUBA instructor. My friend Robin, about 7 years since he went open water diving .. No problem, get your gear overhauled, come over and check it out in our pool ...
Ashley checks out Dad's new "Stuff"Claudia and kids wach on .....Ben and Ashley watching Dad...Trevor and Ben:...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Colorado - quick trip

Longmont Colorado: .. I made a two day trip to meet with customers.
We stoped into the Prospect district for lunch .. billed as a "New Town"
When I lived here we called it; "Toon Town" ... you have to see it in person to appreciate the Tag.
The Village Green, despite a blue sky .. it was cold and windy.
Some of the homes in Prospect for Sale ....

Monday, October 20, 2008

"How can I buy one?"

On August 21st. I posted an article on my travel tea set.

As a follow up and to answer a common question from a few folks: ..
"How can I buy one of these?"I purchased mine during a visit to Taiwan .. sold in the "high end" tea-pot store in the Ying Ge ..The Parrot (InGa) shopping district, about 45min from down-town Taipei.

One of my Taiwanese friends contacted Bamboola .. Sorry they only sell domestically in Taiwan. No overseas exports.
For Ref here are some of their web site links .. in Chinese (a few western names used)
Home Page:
Stores where products are sold: (not a complete listing) maybe one of these has overseas export capability.
A pictorial of their bamboo processing:

Grand Tea Ceremony to attract thousands

Story from the: Japan Times (Newspaper)
Grand Tea Ceremony to attract thousands
By: Edan Corkill Staff writer
If there was a Guinness World Record for the largest Japanese tea ceremony, then this would surely be in the running.
On the weekend of: Oct. 25 and 26, the Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony will be held at several tea houses within the picturesque Hamarikyu Gardens, in Tokyo's Chuo Ward. The event is expected to attract about 8,000 people.The Nakajima Teahouse at the Hamarikyu Gardens in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, is one of several locations for the Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony on Oct. 25 and 26, which will include dancing by geisha.

TOKYO GRAND TEA CEREMONY IMAGE Of particular interest to JT readers are events designed to instruct English-speakers about the cultural background and details of the famously complex tea ceremony.

At noon and 2 p.m. on both days, 40-minute participatory demonstrations will be held. Visitors will be able to savor the slightly bitter taste of matcha powdered tea and sample sweets prepared by some of Tokyo's best-known wagashi (Japanese sweets) makers.

The number of participants for each demonstration is limited to the first 25 people who collect a ticket at the entrance to the gardens from 11:30 a.m. for the noon sessions and from 1:30 p.m. for the 2 p.m. session. For the general public, there will be a total of 12 indoor tea-ceremony sessions, each lasting about 40 minutes, at the Nakajima-no-Ochaya (Nakajima Teahouse) and the Hobai-tei (Hobai House) on both Saturday and Sunday, and another 25 sessions at five outdoor venues on each day, too.

For those who prefer their matcha tea with a little more spice, from 1:30 p.m. each day there will be what the tea ceremony's Web site describes as a "flamboyant dance of geisha" from Asakusa.

Entrance to Hamarikyu Gardens, close to Hamamatsu Station on the JR Yamanote Line, costs ¥300. Fees for participating in the tea ceremonies are ¥300-¥500. The festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day.

For more details, visit:

Michel's weekend Marathon

CONGRATULATIONS … Les félicitations, très bon. This morning my friend Michel (lives in Evry on the outskirts of Paris) dropped me a note:

"Hello John, Yesterday, I ran my Marathon and I did it in 3H15’O5 . Regards." In Mid-Sept he ran the: Briare Half-Marathon, as a training run for a Marathon. His time:

"Last Sunday, I did it in 1H35’24s. I arrived 8th in my age category.".... .. and 62nd/227 for the whole categories. I am quite happy, it is on my schedule, I wanted to be at 1h35’ +/-1’. Maybe, this is because of your excellent Chinese tea from last Friday!!"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The End of the beginning

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.  but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."Winston Churchill; November 10, 1942.
Starting a project is fairly easy .. finishing, seems interminable .. with work / travel etc getting in the way of it. But. We are closing in on the: Tea Room and Sewing Room. Construction complete, setting up the cabinets. choosing light wood, at the end of the day was the correct choice. Most tea shops in China sport dark wood cabinetry .. but this is a So. Cal home.
Ready to be stocked...
A few pots take their berths:
I'm confidant some "Re-arrangements" are in the offing:
Set-up for our first POT .. TGY . Perfect .. thx Da Xia...

A few changes over the months .. now Aug-2009. The room is very inviting, comfortable and relaxing.
DSC00346c DSC00347
Sewing Room; Robbie's main storage .. again a Work in Process....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Saturday - Part iii

The lake near Combreux: ...
It's not just the men who play with their Balls in; Vitry-aux-Loges, on a Saturday morning

Saturday - Part B

Along the road-side, colours are changing:Chateauneuf-sur-Loire
Sully-sur-Loire:...The foot bridge is open ... "the" place to buy baskets: