Monday, November 30, 2009

Pooped out with a side of culture

Whew! Made it through Thanksgiving. Good gosh, that was stressful. I'd like to go back to bed for a couple of days. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend filled with all the people and things you love!

After the insane lead up to Thanksgiving Day and the family dinner gathering, we didn't really do much of anything the rest of the holiday weekend except eat out at some of our favorite spots. And eat some more. And watch movies. And be lazy - with a brief but gallant, housecleaning effort hahahhahahaha.

We went to the charming Fowler Museum at UCLA yesterday and caught the closing day of an exhibit about Tea I had been wanting to see (procrastinating again!) and also one about basketry. Both exhibits were so lovely.

They included lots of wonderful quotes about tea throughout the exhibit - I wish I had written them all down. I remembered the gist of the title of two of them and found them on the internet:

The 10 Virtues of Tea

(When the Zen monk Eisai brought tea seeds from china to Japan in the twelfth century, he also imported the following ten virtues of tea.)

1. Tea has the blessing of all the Deities
2. Tea promotes filial piety
3. Tea drives away the devil
4. Tea banishes drowsiness
5. Tea keeps the Five Viscera (organs) in harmony
6. Tea wards off disease
7. Tea strengthens friendships
8. Tea disciplines body and mind
9. Tea destroys the passions
10. Tea gives a peaceful death

Seven Bowls of Tea

The first cup moistens my throat.
The second cup eases my loneliness.
The third cup searches out my withered entrails,
After the fourth cup, I break a light sweat,
After the fifth cup, my bones and sinews relax.
After the sixth cup, I entered the realm of the immortals.
After the seventh cup, a wind rises beneath my arms.

and an alternate translation - perhaps preferable to the withered entrails, huh?! ;)

Seven Bowls of Tea

The first bowl of tea moistens my throat,
the second breaks my loneliness, and
the third bowl racks my brains, bringing to light the texts of 5,000 volumes.
The fourth induces perspiration whereby all ills evaporate through my pores.
The fifth makes my muscles and bones feel light, and
the sixth links me to celestials.
Be careful when drinking the seventh bowl,
as it makes you feel as if a cool breeze were coming from your armpits.
~ Lu Tong, Tang Dynasty poet. ~

oh and also, the seven rules of tea ... cool!

The Seven Rules of Tea
Sen no Rikyu's Seven Rules of Tea

Arrange the flowers as they are in the fields.
Lay the charcoal so it boils the water.
Create a cool feeling in summer.
Make sure the guests are warm in winter.
Be sure everything is ready ahead of time and do not fall behind.
be prepared for rain even if it is not raining.
Always be mindful of the guests. They're your first, your last, your everything.

The baskets were so beautiful! There were several that were made by different generations of the same family - their artistry passed down, kept alive.

Afterward, we went to one of our favorite Indian restaurants for lunch. Then I briefly lost my mind and decided I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble since it was across the street - bad decision. I think the entire neighborhood was there at the mall. I lasted about five minutes and had to leave - so surprisingly, there is a limit to my book and magazine addiction after all! I thought it was surely boundless ... as I ponder the purchase of some of my absolute favorite authors new books: Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jon Krakauer, Michael Pollan and of course craft books!


  1. Thank you for the photos of the baskets. I don't weave in that style, but it was extremely interesting to see. I wish I could visit the exhibit.

  2. Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for visiting my little blog and commenting!
    You're very welcome, I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos. The baskets were so beautiful, I'm sure you would have loved the exhibit.
    Off to visit your blog and say hello! :)