Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gourmet teas thrive as global economy sags

From the New York Times:

The global economic crisis may have damped the appetite for high-end goods, but one small daily luxury — gourmet tea — has been posting surprisingly strong sales [. . .]

Read the rest here.

The tasting room at Le Palais des Th├ęs in Paris.

—Mellow Monk

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hachinohe beach

Here is a photo of a beautiful beach in Hachinohe, Japan.

As you gaze at this photo—click for the larger version—imagine you are sitting on these rocks, enjoying a cup of green tea as you take in the sounds and smells of the ocean. Having an actual cup of green tea in your hands will help enhance this mellow-inducing mini-meditation.

—Mellow Monk

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Friday, September 25, 2009

What is green tea? This video explains

Kim Pham, co-proprietor of the Kaleisia Tea Lounge in Tampa, explains how green tea differs from other types of teas. Great video, Kim.

—Mellow Monk

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sketches of Japanese manners and customs

Japanese publisher Doshisha has scanned and published online a book written in 1867 by traveler J. M. W. Silver called Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs.

An album of the book's beautiful sketches can be found here.

A sketch of koinobori on Boy's Day.

—Mellow Monk

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Green tea may improve bone health

Green tea could strengthen your bones and help prevent osteoporosis and other bone diseases that afflict so many, according to a recent study.

Publishing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that certain green tea polyphenols promote bone formation by boosting the activity of a bone growth enzyme, but without any toxic effects to bone-producing cells.

Promoting the good without introducing the bad—that is truly the ultimate goal of all healing.

A nice cup of green, green tea
Who would guess that such a soft, gentle liquid could be so good for toughening our bones—and our teeth, too.

—Mellow Monk

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Bentos and Lafcadio

My monkish instincts tell me that today is double feature Friday, so I present to you Homemade Bento Boxes and Visiting Lafcadio Hearn's Japan.

And as an added bonus, more about Lafcadio Hearn and the bento slideshow's accompanying article.

—Mellow Monk

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ride the rails through Aso's green valley

Japan Railway's Hohi Line passes through the heart of Kyushu, including a couple of stops in the majestic Aso Valley, where our green tea is grown.

A two-car Hohi Line train passing by Mt. Aso.

—Mellow Monk

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In which Dolly Parton mindfulness breaks the cycle of stress

Naturally rich in theanine, green tea helps promote mellowness.

When incorporated into your daily routine, a green tea break—your own personal tea ceremony—is also a great way to practice mindfulness, which can also help break the viscous cycle of stress.

But did you realize that everything you needed to know about mindfulness you can learn from Dolly Parton?

—Mellow Monk

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Monday, September 14, 2009

The heart of the Japanese way of tea

Powdered green tea is at the heart of the Japanese way of drinking tea, and you can cook with it, too.

A tasty, healthful, thirst-quenching glass of iced green tea made with powdered green tea.

—Mellow Monk

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Japanese school bell

Here's a video of an old-fashioned mechanical school bell at an unnamed Japanese school.

Now wouldn't this be great for the P.A. system at work?

—Mellow Monk

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Hands-free tea pouring

If I told you there was a way to transfer tea from a teapot to a teacup without using your hands, and without even lifting the cup or pot, would you believe me?

Because you should.

—Mellow Monk

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Steeped in tradition

Until November 29 at UCLA's Fowler Museum, you can see tea items "practical and ostentatious" at the Steeped in Tradition exhibit.

I'd like to see this exhibit just to learn what the object in the foreground is.

—Mellow Monk

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Life advice from old people

When you need life advice, the best folks to turn to are the old ones, such as Bubby.

—Mellow Monk

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wet leaves

Submitted for your approval—wet tea leaves in Aso.

This tea bush was located in the garden of the tea instructor who appears in part three of the documentary our tea buyer appeared in.

This is also the pic we used for our Twitter background.

A visual haiku.

—Mellow Monk

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Chicago potter's beautiful pottery

Chris Chaney is a professional potter who creates the most wonderful ceramics in Chicago.

This particular piece shown below is a yunomi with white glaze inside and an outside glaze that's a hybrid of amber celadon and tea dust.

Beautiful and unique indeed.

A beautiful vessel like this enhances the tea-drinking experience.

—Mellow Monk

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Tuscan family farm also practices "agriturismi"

A working family farm in the countryside of Tuscany, Italy, offers lodgers the full farming experience—including the amazing food.

The courtyard at Fattoria Lavacchio.

—Mellow Monk

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Get mellow—get outside

To truly recharge your emotional/spiritual batteries, it's not enough just to take time away from work—you have to go outside.

One of the sights that awaits you outside—if you come to Aso. (We took this photo on the way to the top of Mt. Aso.)

—Mellow Monk

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Saturday, September 05, 2009


Here's a photo taken in Aso this summer of a huge bush of flowering hydrangeas.

Click for the big pic.

—Mellow Monk

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Green tea ice cream—more and more choices

If you're not up to making your own green tea ice cream, you can always buy some.

There's even yummy-looking soy green tea ice cream.

I will gladly—gladly—review this product. In fact, I'll pay a tidy sum to anyone who will hand-deliver some to me right now.

—Mellow Monk

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Political reformer, master artist

I'm always trying explain to folks that people in Kumamoto* are different.

Well, here's a good example—Morihiro Hosokawa, a descendent of warlords who served as a reformist governor there, then left politics to become, of all things, an apprentice potter who is now exhibiting his own elegant work along with his family's extensive collection.

The list of politicians who have made this career move must be a short one indeed.

*Kumamoto is the prefecture—equivalent to an American state—that contains the Aso region, home of Mellow Monk tea.

The former gov posing with his works of art.

—Mellow Monk

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Green tea saves teeth

Every cup of green tea you drink each day reduces your chances of periodontal disease—a.k.a. gingivitis—according to a study of nearly a thousand men.

She obviously drinks a lot of green tea.

—Mellow Monk

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Green tea exposed

This picture shows a Mellow Monk grower uncovering his kabusecha. Once the covers are removed, it's a race against the clock: Too much sun will undo all the catechin-stimulating, flavor-enriching good that the 2 weeks of shade did.

Our Shaded Leaf is just such a tea.

The labor-intensive nature of kabusecha makes a higher price than other senchas pretty much unavoidable. But you will definitely taste the difference in the richness of exquisite aroma and flavor.

Some things, Grasshopper, are worth paying extra for—unlike, say, leather bucket seats.

—Mellow Monk

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