Saturday, October 3, 2009

A book and a center

Okay, those are not autumn flowers, but they're still pretty. Today was a glorious day! Warm, sunny, a perfect day for a drive through the hills of the Southern Tier of NYS. That's a little east and south of the Finger Lakes. Our two biggest crops are hills and valleys and water. Rills, streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, we've got them. You can certainly tell the glaciers came through here and gouged out the land. Every now and then I remember that the glaciers were 1 to 2 miles thick and I am amazed the land was able to withstand it. Actually it kinda freaks me out that there was once so much stuff over my head!
No tea review today, but I do have a short book review, The Book of Green Tea by Christine Dattner published in 2002. I think it is most probably a French book, certainly European, but in English. It has gorgeous photos, which makes it expensive - $35. I think I received it as a gift. I had hopes of it really giving me the low-down on green tea, but I was disappointed. The first 60+ pages were a history of tea and a description of the manufacturing of tea. Not just green tea, but all kinds of tea. It was adequate, but I was eager to get to the meat of the book. It covered tea ceremonies and a section of tea recipes, tea pots, beauty secrets, etc and finally, on page147 there was a 4 page section on different kinds of green teas. Then it was over! I felt quite cheated, as I really wanted to learn about green tea. Guess I'll just have to start drinking!
Let us move to a cheerier topic. I was reading through some of the tea archive articles in the NY Times and found one about Yamada Hisashe Sensei, a Japanese master of the art of the Chanoyu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony. He founded the Urasenke Chanoyu Center in NYC and taught there for many years until his recent death. The website is It is well worth going to, to learn about both the ceremony and the center.
Japan has a wonderful system of Living National Treasures. These are people who are masters/mistresses of ancient arts, such as music, pottery, tea ceremony, sword making, dance, etc. They are set up in schools and supported by the government as long as they are practising and teaching their art to others. There was a program on TV awhile ago about them - really fascinating. I wish we did that here.

No comments: