Friday, October 31, 2008

Green tea: Good for the body and soul

The travel website Galding discusses how green tea is not only healthy but also good for us spiritually, as well.



As you sip your green tea Grasshopper, close your eyes and imagine you are here.


—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beautiful Japanese garden tree in autumn. And clouds over Africa.

Here's a captivatingly beautiful photograph of an autumn-colored tree in a traditional Japanese garden.


(Click on the photo below to see the full-sized version.)







And courtesy of NASA, a satellite photo of a cloud formation over Africa:





—Mellow Monk


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The mobile tea cottage

Wouldn't it be nice if, when you can't make it to your favorite tea room, your favorite tea room would come to you.


Well, if you live in or near Wayland or Hopkinton, Massachusetts, be on the lookout for the GayGrace Teas Mobile Tea Room, which bills itself as "An English cottage on wheels."


I wish someone would start a mobile green tea room. Hey, how about slapping a set of wheels on this one?



Have no fear, the teamobile is here.


—Mellow Monk


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Monday, October 27, 2008

A matching pair of unique Japanese business cards

Here are two interesting Japanese business cards that are imprinted with visual guides on how to properly give (bottom) and receive (top) a business card in Japan:





The basic idea is that you always use both hands when presenting or receiving a gift — and yes, a business card is considering a gift.


[Source: 75 Very Creative Business Cards].


—Mellow Monk


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Japan's "banana zombies" strip supermarket shelves clean

The Muzac you hear in Japan's supermarkets nowadays may be "Yes, We Have No Bananas," for dieters there are stripping the yellow fruit off the shelves as the country is swept up in a banana diet craze.



There are more bananas on magazine covers than on store shelves this week.


—Mellow Monk


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Optical illusion: It only appears to be waving

Check out this optical illusion: Look from one stop to another anywhere in the image and the image appears to wave like a flag.





But this is not an animation, and it only appears to be moving. Interesting, no?


[Source: Pitchforkmedia.com.]


—Mellow Monk


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Friday, October 24, 2008

Green tea may stave off type 1 diabetes

Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia have found that the powerful green tea antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may delay the onset of type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes.



Drs. Drs. Stephen Hsu (left) and Kevin Gillespie, who headed up the research project at the Medical College of Georgia.


—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Japan embraces its inner geisha. (Yes, this does tie in with green tea.)

Instead of looking toward cities like Paris or New York for inspiration, Japanese fashion designers are embracing their culture's traditional aesthetics, and this trend, some say, is what is driving the global popularity of products containing Japanese ingredients such as green tea.



Misaki Itoh in a Shiseido ad. The tag line reads: "Follow. Run away. Summer gaze."


—Mellow Monk


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The world's most relaxing room?

If you're ever near the University of Hertfordshire, you can stop by for a 15-minute session in what's billed as the world's most relaxing room.



"Could I also have a cup of green tea?"


—Mellow Monk


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Green tea, island style

Because of the tea plant's climate needs, there aren't many tea farms in North America. In fact, the Charleston Tea Plantation bills itself as "America's only tea garden."


The folks on Wadmalaw Island, SC, will have to change their sign, though, because a new tea garden has opened up on the Big Island of Hawaii.



Onomea Tea Company's tea bushes on the tropical north shore of Hawaii's Big Island.


—Mellow Monk


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mother-to-baby benefits of green tea

Research conducted at Oregon State University and reported in the journal Carcinogenesis suggests that pregnant women who drink green tea may confer cancer-fighting benefits to their babies.


—Mellow Monk


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Monday, October 20, 2008

Russia's old-school trains

I've always been fascinated with trains. There's something calmly reassuring about them. Maybe it's a guy thing: Guys hate to ask for directions when they get lost, and it's almost impossible to get lost when traveling by train.


At any rate, if you like trains, then you'll positively love this photo collection of old Russian locomotives that are (mostly) still in operation today.



Reminds me of a scene from the film "Runaway Train."


—Mellow Monk


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The cellphone orchestra

A Japanese video game company has released software that turns ordinary cellphones into musical instruments, which can also be played together in a virtual orchestra:





—Mellow Monk


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

The mellow Hawaiian sounds of Sistah Robi

One of my favorite contemporary Hawaiian music artists is Robi Kahakalau, a.k.a. Sistah Robi.


To get a feel for what her mellow music is like, you can sample the song "Ku'u Mau Lei Onaona" (which means "beautiful scented leis") from the album "All I Want."


Here's her singing "Dreamland":






Robi Kahakalau, a.k.a. "Sistah Robi."


—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Green tea bracelets and pillows

San Diego-based Zenlet is now offering green tea bracelets and green tea spa pillows, which stylishly and comfortably confer the health benefits of green tea by osmosis.



Zenlet's "Green Tea Compassion Bracelet."


—Mellow Monk


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mellow Monk releases two new teas — Blissful Buds and Shaded Leaf!

Mellow Monk is proud to announce two new additions to our lineup of family-farm green tea: Blissful Buds and Shaded Leaf.


Blissful Buds is a mecha ("bud tea"), made from only the most tender young buds. This is the same kind of premium tea served at the best sushi restaurants. The full-bodied flavor of Blissful Buds makes it the perfect tea for post-meal palate cleansing ... or for any time of the day!


Shaded Leaf is our most premium tea ever: Three weeks before harvest, our growers shade these pampered tea plants with special woven covers. By blocking out just enough sunlight, this shading produces a simply exquisite flavor (by stopping the leaves from "baking" in the sun) and also stimulates the leaves to produce even more super-healthful catechins, including EGCG.


Please join us in welcoming these two new teas to the Mellow Monk family.



Introducing our most premium tea, Shaded Leaf.


—Mellow Monk


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tea boom in the coffee kingdom

The Seattle Times reports that in America's coffee heartland, more and more people are discovering the surprising accessibility of tea.



Serving freshly-prepared English tea at Seattle's Queen Mary Tea Room.


—Mellow Monk


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Japanese cathouse — the world's most cat-friendly home?

Modern Cat magazine has done a writeup of what could be the most cat-friendly house in the world — Japan's Plus-Nyan home, one of the models offered by builder Asahi Kasei Homes.


("Nyan," by the way, is the Japanese language's equivalent of "meow.")



This could also be the worst house in the world for a mouse. (Cue the song "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide.")


—Mellow Monk


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Banya tree panorama (and other amazing pics)

Every wonder what it's like to stand in a grove of banyan trees?


Well, brew up a cup of green tea, sit back, and prepare to be astounded, because you can experience what it's like with this amazing panorama.


There are more panoramic pics here.





—Mellow Monk


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beautiful photos of "Earth from Above"

Even if you can't make it to New York next year to catch photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand's exhibit "Earth from Above," you can see some of his breathtaking photographs online.



Koh Pannyi, Thailand.


—Mellow Monk


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Green tea brims with benefits

Bastyr University faculty member Paul Anderson — who is a regular green tea drinker — talks about the many benefits of this wonderful green beverage.



Actress Reiko Takashima making a green tea promo. Yes, I know this picture has nothing to do with the article, but it's nice to look at, no?


—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Our sun — an extreme close-up

From the NASA website: an extreme close-up of the sun showing the dark region near a planet-sized sunspot.


(Click on the image below to see the full-sized version.)





—Mellow Monk


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Feather-duster eyelashes: a new fashion trend in Japan

Fashion designer Shu Uemura offers a wide range of head-turning false eyelashes — including ones that resemble feather dusters — at her his Tokyo Lash Bar.



Like Grandpa's bushy eyebrows, only positioned an inch or so lower.


—Mellow Monk


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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Food art and the Tiger's Nest

Food that looks good just seems to taste that much better, and here are some Japanese bentos so artfully crafted that they almost seem too good to eat.



The bell pepper basket is a nice touch.




I also found a beautiful photo of Bhutan's amazing Tiger's Nest monestary, which looks like the perfect place for getting away from cell phones and telemarketers:



I think I see Bruce Wayne in there.


—Mellow Monk


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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hokusai prints online — hundreds of 'em!

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has an online collection of over 800 works by famed Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849).



Famous bridges of Japan, by Hokusai (1760–1849).


—Mellow Monk


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Monday, October 06, 2008

The stray cat who became stationmaster and saved a city

No, it's not the plot of a Japanese animated film; it's the true story of Tama, the stray cat who "adopted" a train station in the small Japanese town of Kinokawa.


After word of the cat spread (thanks to a TV appearance), massive numbers of tourists flocked to the town, giving the local economy a much-needed boost.



"Tickets, please."


—Mellow Monk


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The bad patient (who saved his own life)

When he was being treated for leukemia, actor Evan Handler learned that being a "bad patient" is literally a matter of life and death:

In many ways, Handler is the ultimate empowered patient. "I learned that I must always remain in control, double-check everyone's work, and trust no one completely," Handler wrote of his approximately eight months in the hospital. "I must have been sheer hell to be around. But I know that my cantankerousness saved my life on several occasions."


Being a "bad" patient probably saved his life.


—Mellow Monk


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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cat weight lifting [video]

In this segment from a Japanese variety show, the object was to see how big a fish the stray cats in a neighborhood could carry away. What's interesting to see is that at about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), some cats give up, while others decide to eat it on the spot instead of carrying it into the bushes.





—Mellow Monk


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Friday, October 03, 2008

The art work of Mother Nature

Mother Nature is quite the artist, and here are 15 examples of her earth art.



The Pembroke Green Bridge of Wales, U.K.


—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Scenes of Kashmir and an Indian step well

Today's double feature is a slideshow of beautiful scenery in Kashmir and photos of an Indian step well that is the world's deepest.



The Chand Baori step well Rajasthan, India.


—Mellow Monk


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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rare birds get a royal send-off in Japan

Japan's Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko recently held a royal "release" ceremony in which 10 crested ibises raised in captivity in China were released into the wild on Sado Island.


In the last couple of decades, Japanese strategy toward a bird that once filled the country's skies have shifted from preservation alone to preservation coupled with active reintroduction.


Fans of our feathered friends might also be interested in this list of nine spectacular flightless birds.



Houston, we have lift-off.


—Mellow Monk


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