Are you feeling writerly on a scale even smaller than one hundred and forty character micro-blogging? Consider entering Ito En‘s haiku contest. Ito En is the company that manufactures a lot of the bottled and canned green and oolong tea sold in Japan and the United States. Submissions are due by July 6th, 2009. I’m not sure I’m capable of being quite that terse myself, but I might get inspired to write something.
“From the beginning of time, poetry, especially haiku, has been used to convey the most important of messages. This year, we invite you to express yourself – your views and feelings – about these themes through the time-honored medium of haiku.
Create a haiku that reflects your vision of tomorrow based around Change, Hope and Progress and send them to us for a chance to have your haiku featured on one of our TEA’S TEA bottles next year.”
As additional inspiration from Japanese poetry forms, here is the jisei no ku (辞世の句), or death poem, written by Yukio Mishima as an element of his full ritual seppuku. Apologies for not presenting it in the original Japanese. You can find it here if you can read Kanji.
“A small night storm blows
Saying ‘falling is the essence of a flower’
Preceding those who hesitate”
In a more strictly tea-related vein, Sen no Rikyu, the man most responsible for the development of Chanoyu (the Japanese tea ceremony) in the 16th century also committed ritual suicide.
“According to Okakura Kakuzo in The Book of Tea, his last act was to hold an exquisite tea ceremony. After serving all his guests, he presented each piece of the tea-equipage for their inspection, along with an exquisite kakemono, which Okakura described as “a wonderful writing by an ancient monk dealing with the evanescence of all things.” Rikyu presented each of his guests with a piece of the equipment as a souvenir, with the exception of the bowl, which he shattered, uttering “Never again shall this cup, polluted by the lips of misfortune, be used by man.” As the guests departed, one remained to serve as witness to Rikyu’s death. Rikyu’s last words, which he wrote down as a death poem, were in verse, addressed to the dagger with which he took his own life:
Welcome to thee,
O sword of eternity!
And through Daruma alike
Thou hast cleft thy way.”
– excerpted from source linked above
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Balanced love isfound,shared smile,KISS the lip,love iseverywhere. Poem and illustration copyright to author Jennifer Cook Read more articles by this author here!
As someone that has done a fair amount of content on tea, I have a lot of mixed thoughts on the way information is passed. With tea reviews or discussing a specific tea I have struggled with the question: how to talk about an individual tea or tea in general in an interesting or useful way.. Whether you like or dislike TeaDB episodes largely depends on whether you enjoy watching two particular people drink and binter. This is fine enough and it is certainly fun for Denny & I to create, but I’ll also agree with the sentiment that it’s not necessarily the most substantive way to review a tea in depth. There’s some signal but there’s also a lot of noise. Writing about a specific tea also isn’t easy and I think is actually very difficult to execute in a way that is actually consistently interesting or useful for people. Most people just want to know if you liked or didn’t like a specific tea. Making something that piques interest beyond that is a challenge and even if you don’t like them a place like Mei Leaf has succeeded in creating content that really does engage their viewers. You also have to consider that the majority of people have not had the tea or are even unfamiliar with the basic taste profile (i.e. Denny & I describing a traditionally stored pu’erh, when the audience has never had one).. Here are some phrases I dislike and hear frequently enough that I find them unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive.
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