Monthly Archives: November 2007

Wuqinxi: Five Animals Play

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      A friend of mine lent me an interesting book on qigong the other day. I found a description of a Chinese exercise called wuqinxi, or five animals play in it.

     I tried to translate the introduction of the exercise of the book into English because I thought it was very interesting while reading.

 (The book: no to karada ga wakagaeru: yondai kiko nyumon by Takashi Tsumura)

 

Wuqinxi: Five Animals Play

1.Relax the Tension
    
Hua Tuo, the famous physician in legends, did in the jail.

     Hua Tuo was a famous physician in the Three Kingdoms era in China. He was summoned to the palace by Cao Cao, the king of Wei, but didn’t soon, so that he was thrown in prison and died there. According to legends, he was much healthier than jailers. Jailers asked him why he was so energetic even in the jail, and Hua Tuo replied, “I do exercises by mimicking animals in the cell every day.”

     That is, you’ll be getting weaker and weaker if you just sit all day, but you’ll be able to keep your health in such a place if you do exercise well, especially by moving muscles which are not usually used.

      Mimicking animal exercises developed as martial arts in China. It’s totally different how to use muscles between human-being and each animal. They might have thought that taking animal actions was a good way to create new skills.

Release fatigue by mimicking animals.

     The five animals of Wuqinxi, or Five Animals Play, are bear, monkey, tiger, deer, and bird. You can use muscles unused in our daily lives by Wuqinxi. We don’t use all the muscles. Using partial muscles make you tired. If you get tired because of it, you’ll be able to relax by training unused muscles than by having a rest. For example, some people say that they are refreshed by playing golf in Sunday morning. Have you ever wanted to walk in the nature instead of lying on the bed if you get tired? Wuqinxi is a good way to use unused muscles. Besides it has also good effects psychologically and cerebrally.

2. Set “Yourself” Free

Everyone acts themselves.

     You may think you are alive as a human kind. But most of our behaviors are learned ones in human relations than instinctive ones. It’s as if you act “yourself” to be recognized by others.

     What if you didn’t need to work? What if you didn’t go home every night? You may act “yourself in your daily life” by forgetting other possibilities.

Becoming adults means wearing masks.

     The idea reminds me of a wonderful book entitled Engi, or acting in English, written by Michizo Toi, who is an art critic of Noh and Kabuki. The author tried to understand humans’ behaviors as “acting”.     In the beginning of the book, there is an interesting episode: a mother said her baby “Smile!” and it smiled. Babies learn that people would be pleased by their own smiles. And then they start acting their lives. Babies learn that acting “babies” makes adult relieved and happy and that they can have safety lives by the acting.

     You must have learned that it’s necessary for being “nice” to act as a child or as an adult according to time and circumstances in your growth processes. In schools, teachers direct the actions of children. The orientations for newly-hired employees are like drama schools.

Mimicking animals soothe you as a performer

     Many people act “themselves”, hiding their real emotions, and start forgetting what they really want to do. That is, there’s a gap between real “themselves” and pretended “themselves”. You know, some people change their character in the bar.

     It seems to be difficult to mimic animals for people who are used to acting “themselves” because they have to deviate from their usual scenarios. But most people can enjoy mimicking animals after starting. It’s good way to heal you as actors. Mimicking animals is safety and cheap.

Which animal is your type?

     The five animals are chosen as types of characters. It comes from ancient Chinese medicine theory, but all animals were not classified. Chinese medicine doesn’t have psychology as a separated study because of its holistic philosophy, but has studies of characters.

Bear: Slow-witted, but clever for gathering information and keep it.
Monkey: Nimble and clever, but restless as like ADHD kids.
Deer: Active and prompt, but irresponsible.
Tiger: Looks strong but usually sleeping.
Bird: Cowardly but sometimes bold. Have an observant eye. 

     Interestingly, when you are doing Wuqinxi, you’ll find the most suitable one among those five animals for mimicking. You may notice while doing it that you usually look like the animal’s figure to other people.

The others are suppressed “yourself”

     But you’ll feel yourself fitting other animals while doing Wuqinxi. You’ll be able to act naturally what you haven’t thought to suit to you later. Then you’ll start thinking that you don’t need act the only animal that you thought the most suitable first. The first one is “you” that you regard as yourself and you’d like to show to others. And the other four animals are also “you” that you can be but you haven’t because you usually have suppressed within you.

     If you choose bear as your type first, it’ll be difficult to act other four animals: monkey, dear, tiger and bird. But you’ll be able to enter the other animals’ cages easily while doing Wuqinxi. “You” that you’ve tried to show to others are not only “you”. When you understand it exactly, you’ll have composure, and then you’ll be relaxed and confident in yourself.

3. Improve the circulation of the blood in brain

There’s another brain in the depths of the navel.

    We human-beings have never thrown our systems in our bodies in the process of evolution. It’s not too much to say that a cell itself is integrated unicellular monads.

     It is said that our brain fluid and lymph keep ingredients of ancient seawater. It must have been a huge event to get out of the water and to live on the land for our ancestors which had lived in the ocean. That’s why they decided to bring seawaters within them as brain fluid and lymph as if astronauts bring oxygen with them.

     Actually we have another old brain in the depths of the navel. It’s a splanchnic ganglion. It’s a kind of brain formed in the Coelentera Time, and still now we have. The adrenal gland, the gonad gland, and the intraperitoneal ganglion are other primitive brains in the abdomen. They were called “little brains” in the 1970s and were widely noticed.

     But in Chinese medicine, it’s been common knowledge to be brains in the abdomen since the beginning. The brain is classified as a part of kidney there. Not only kidney, some ganglia, plexus, and endocrine glands have been called the abdomen brain. And the brain above neck has been regarded as a branch office of it. That’s why the circulation of chi is important between the abdomen and the brain for qigong.

     The spinal cord was formed when the date processing ability was getting well in the nervous system. And then the top of the spinal cord started becoming bigger. It was medulla oblongata in the Fish Time. The hypothalamus was formed in the Reptiles Time, and the cerebellum was created in the Bird Time, and then cerebral paleocortex appeared when our ancestors evolved as mammal. In the Anthropoid Time, the cerebral neocortex was formed, and then we got the frontal lobe in our brain.

Modern people’s brains are congestive partially.

     The main purpose of qigong is to rest your brain. It means reducing the blood in the frontal lobe. In all the meditations all over the world the purpose is the same.

     Qigong not only reduces the blood in the frontal lobe, but also sends the blood to other parts of the body consciously. When you do mammals’ action, the blood gathers to the central nervous system of the emotion in the cerebral limbic system. When you act like a bird, the blood goes to the cerebellum. One-legged standing like a bird is an action for stimulating the cerebellum. Bending loosely your back like a snake makes the blood gather to the hypothalamus.

     Nowadays, it tends to gather the blood to the frontal lobe, which is the newest part in the process of evolution. So people of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are increasing.

Redistributing the blood in the brain by Wuqinxi

     If you use your brain for thinking, it stimulates the frontal lobe. It’s just feeling and moving to activate other parts of the brain. Wuqinxi is a good way to activate the cerebral paleocortex and cerebellum and refresh the central nervous system of the emotion.

Natural Remedies 6: Aromatherapy

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      I’m now taking an English class at a university. It’s not an ordinary conversation or grammar class. It’s a class for studying many methods of natural remedies. The sixth theme was aromatherapy.

 (The first: http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cons!1D0F2197A6F55843!2040.entry, the second: http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!2071.entry , the third: http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!2081.entry , the fourth: http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!2146.entry and the fifth: http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!2169.entry )

     How do we use aromatherapy in our everyday lives? Actually we’ve already adopted it in many ways for bathing, relaxing, oral care, colds, personal aroma, house work or personal hygiene. For example, we use vaporizer, bath salts, bath oils, mouth wash, perfume, cleaning products, or soaps.

★History
     In B.C.3000, in Egypt people already used aromatherapy. It was for religious rituals, bathing, cooking and making mummies. Frankincense and myrrh were not only necessary for embalming bodies but also meant the sun and the moon each other.

     On the other hand, in India aromatherapy was developed in Ayurveda, mostly as aromatic oil massage. In China after Buddha it was used in religious ceremonies, but they used woods, herbs, and incenses, not oils. At the same time, B.C. 460, in Greece and Italy, aromatherapy was used for medicine and cosmetics by the advent of Hippocrates. In Aztec, South America, it was founded that they had used medical plants.

     Actually, it was recent to be discovered that essential oils have healing power. It was said that the first person who started using the word aromatherapy was a French chemist, Dr. René Maurice Gattefossé in 1920’s. He founded out the essential oils have healing power by accident. During the work, he burned his hand and happened to put his hand into a pot filled with liquid. It seems that he did that because he had thought it was water, but the liquid was not water. It was lavender oil. Surprisingly his injury was healed quickly. Through this experience, he discovered lavender oil’s wonderful efficacy.

★Direction

☆Respiratory System
◎Coughs
●Causes: cold/flu, smoking, allergy
●Method: gargle, dry inhalation, massage oil on chest
☆Oils: black pepper, marjoram, mellissa, sandalwood
●Other Suggestion: lemon drink with honey
◎Hey Fever
●Causes: grass and the pollen allergy
●Method: bathing, massage
☆Oils: chamomile, eucalyptus, rose otto
●Other Suggestion: deep breathing, yoga

★Heart & Circulatory System
◎High Blood Pressure
●Causes: heredity, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle
●Method: bathing, massage, vaporizer
☆Oils: clary sage, lavender, mellissa
●Other Suggestion: deep breathing, relevant exercise, diet change
◎Low Blood Pressure
●Causes: nervous, exhaustion, poor circulation, anemia
●Method: bathing, brisk massage
☆Oils: black pepper, coriander, ginger, rosemary
●Other Suggestion: see the doctor
◎Varicose Veins
●Causes: heredity, too long sitting, low exercise, obesity
●Method: compress, ointment
☆Oils: cypress, frankincense, lavender rose otto
●Other Suggestion: diet, exercise yoga, rest with feet higher than head for 10 minutes a day

★Digestive System
◎Halitosis
●Causes: poor dental hygiene, gastric disorder, smoking, too much alcohol
●Method: mouth wash
☆Oils: bergamot, fennel, myrrh, tea tree
●Other Suggestion: brushing and flossing of teeth
◎Indigestion, Heartburn, Flatulence, Abdominal pain
●Method: abdominal massage, dry inhalation
☆Oils: angelica, clary sage, peppermint
◎Tooth Ache
●Causes: tooth decay
●Method: apply one or two drops directly into tooth cavity
☆Oils: clove, peppermint

★Muscular System
◎Gout
●Causes: build of tissue wastes, fault diet
●Method: footbath, cold compress, ointment
☆Oils: angelica, coriander, juniper berry, pine, rosemary, thyme
◎Sciatica
●Causes: injury, misalignment of spine, constipation
●Method: massage, bathing
☆Oils: chamomile, coriander, lavender, pine, rosemary

★Nervous System
◎Stress
●Causes: adrenalin imbalance, modern life
●Method: massage, bathing, vaporizer, perfume
☆Oils: citrus essences, cedar wood, clary sage, frankincense, juniper berry, coriander, lavender, pine, rosemary
◎Insomnia
●Causes: excitement, anxiety, lack of fresh air or exercise, heavy meal late at night, depression
●Method: massage, bathing, vaporizer, oil on pillow
☆Oils: chamomile, lavender, mandarin, melissa, ylang ylang

★Others
◎Insict repellent
☆Oils: eucalyptus, lavender, patchouli, tea tree
(3% dilution to exposed parts. 1~2 % dilution for face)
◎Sunburn
☆Oils: eucalyptus, chamomile, rosemary, tea tree
(2 or 3 cool baths through day adding 8 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 8 drops of essential oil)

★Effects of Aroma Oils
●Basil: Yang: Tonic, expectoration, cold, fever, stomach, depression, disinfection, perspiration, adrenocortico tropic, vomit, nausea, bronchitis, respiratory organs, ear-ache, hiccough, indigestion, nerves, ventilation, hysteria, whooping cough, insomnia, migraine, paralysis
●Benzoin: Yang: Arthritis, bronchitis, sore throat, cough, asthma, ventilation, dermatitis, cardiac, expectoration, disinfection, analgesic, deodorant, diuretic, cold, wounds
●Bergamot:Yang: Expectoration, cold, fever, depression, disinfection, tranquilizer, deodorant, wound, ulcer, psoriasis, bronchitis, halitosis, mouth ulcer, pimple, skin care, rash, diphtheria, indigestion, varicose veins, nerves, herpes zoster, gallstone, tonsillitis, cystitis, gonorrhea
●Black Pepper: Yang: Tonic, cold, fever, detoxification, stomach, spleen, stimulation, tranquilizer, diuretic, vomit, nausea, anorexia, cough, dysentery, catarrh, diarrhea, dysuria, tonsillitis, constipation, cholera, toothache, upset stomach, dizziness
●Camphor: Yin: Cold, hypotension, vasoconstriction, fever, depression, stimulation, disinfection, tranquilizer, analgesia, perspiration, diuretic, inflamed infection, vomit, ulcer, burn, cold, bronchitis, tuberculosis, diarrhea, cholera, bruise, pimple, toothache, nerves, cardiac, breakdown, skin care, ventilation, hypotension, fever, sprain, hysteria, insomnia, constipation, rheumatism
●Cardamom: Yang: Tonic, cold, stomach, disinfection, antiinflammation, diuretic, vomit, nausea, halitosis, indigestion, anorexia, breakdown, cough, headache, upset stomach
●Cedar wood: Yang: Expectoration, astringency, disinfection, diuretic, catarrh, bronchitis, respiratory illness, pimple, kidney pelvis, dysuria, urinary duct, cystitis, gonorrhea, dermatitis
●Chamomile: Yin: Lever, tonic, cold, vasoconstriction, defervescence, stomach, antiinflammation, depression, indigestion, disinfection, tranquilizer, analgesic, spleen, wound, diuretic, allergy, gastritis, stomach-ache, irritation, jaundice, vomit, burn, menstrual pain, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, menopausal disorders, toothache, ear-ache, gingivitis, indigestion, kidney inflammation, nervous disorder, colitis, vaginitis, headache, urolithiasis, fever, hysteria, dermatitis, anemia, dizziness, rheumatism
●Clary Sage: Yang: Tonic, cold, stomach, disinfection, antiinflammation, uterus, astringency, nerves, tranquilizer, deodorant, infective disease of throat, impotence, ulcer, menstruation, amenorrhea, frigidity, depression, hysteria, whooping cough, conjunctivitis, hypertension, indigestion, breakdown, kidney disease, skin care, leukorrhea
●Cypress: Yin: Hepatic, vasoconstriction, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, deodorant, diuretic, enuresis, diarrhea, menstrual pain, menopausal disorders, hemorrhoids, alveolar pyorrhea, varicose veins, nerves, skin care, dysenteric, asthma, whooping cough, rheumatism,
●Eucalyptus: Yin: Expectoration, fever, stimulation, disinfection, tranquilizer, deodorant, diuretic, wound, ulcer (skin), burn, cold, catarrh, asthma, herpes zoster, gallstone, maxillary empyema, typhus, bronchitis, tuberculosis, diarrhea, cholera, diphtheria, bleeding, diabetes, measles, sinusitis, migraine, indigestion, kidney inflammation, neuralgia, cough, cystitis, malaria, gonorrhea, rheumatism,
●Fennel: Yang: Tonic, expectoration, cold, indigestion, disinfection, diuretic, nausea, menopausal disorders, hiccough, renal calculus, ventilation, infective disease of lungs, stomach, spleen,
●Frankincense: Yang: Tonic, cold, uterus, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, menorrhagia, laryngitis, breeding, indigestion, skin care, cough, gonorrhea,
●Geranium: Yin: Tonic, depression, hemostasis, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, adrenocortico tropic, wound, diuretic, stomach-ache, sore throat, jaundice, ulcer, burn, ophthalmia, diarrhea, mouth ulcer, rash, bleeding, neuralgia, renal calculus, skin care, herpes zoster, diabetes, dermatitis, infertility
●Hyssops: Yang: Tonic, expectoration, cold, blood pressure, fever, disinfection, nerves, tranquilizer, perspiration, diuretic, catarrh, bronchitis, tuberculosis, dyspnea, cough, asthma, anorexia, indigestion, urolith, hypotension, hysteria, dermatitis, whooping cough, tonsillitis, rheumatism
●Jasmine: Yang: Tonic, depression, disinfection, tranquilizer, impotence, menstruation, uterus, skincare, cough, anxiaty, frigidty
●Juniper: Yang : Tonic, cold, stomach, anti-toxic, astringency, disinfection, nerves, tranquilizer, perspiration, wound, diuretic, ulcer(external) ,liver cirrhosis, kidney pelvis, renal calculus, neuropathy, skin care, cough, ventilation, diabetes, areteriosclerosis, urinary tract infection, infective disease of lungs, dermatitis, cystitis, amenorrhea, menstruation, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, indigestion
●Lavender: Yang: Cardiac, tonic, cold, anti toxic, depression, tranquilizer, deodorant, perspiration, spleen, wound, diuretic, vomit, nausea, alopecia areata, burn, catarrh, blepharitis, psoriasis, bronchitis, gallstone, typhus, headache, heatstroke, tuberculosis, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, hypertension, halitosis, laryngitis, pimple, ear-ache, rash, hysteria, dermatitis, whooping cough, insomnia, migraine, cystitis, diphtheria, indigestion, palpitations, breakdown, nerves, asthma, gonorrhea, rheumatism,
●Marjoram: Yang: Cardiac, tonic, expectoration, cold, disinfection, menstruation, hypertension, indigestion, nerves, asthma, headache, arteritis, hysteria, insomnia, migraine, constipation
●Mellisa (Lemon Balm): Yang: Cardiac, tonic, cold, fever, stomach, depression, uterus, nerves, tranquilizer, infertility, hypertension, indigestion, allergy, vomit, nausea, perspiration, menstruation, indigestion, palpitations, dysentery, asthma, migraine, dizziness
●Myrrh: Yang: Tonic, expectoration, cold, stomach, antiinflammaiton, uterus, amenorrhea, stimulation, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, mouth ulcer, catarrh, tuberculosis, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, gingivitis, alveolar pyorrhea, indigestion, anorexia, cough
●Neroli (Blossoms of Orange): Yang: Cardiac, tonic, depression, indigestion, disinfection, deodorant, tranquilizer, nerves, skin care, insomnia, hysteria
●Patchouli: Yang: Tonic, antiinflammation, depression, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, deodorant, skin care, anxiety,
●Peppermint: Yang: Liver, cardiac, expectoration, cold, vasoconstriction, fever, stomach, antiinflammation, astringency, disinfection, nerves, tranquilizer, perspiration, stomach-ache, vomit, nausea, cold, bronchitis, tuberculosis, menstruation, diarrhea, halitosis, cholera, toothache, indigestion, palpitations, nerves, neuralgia, breakdown, cough, asthma, gallstone, headache, ringworm, hysteria, dermatitis, sinusitis, migraine, paralysis, diziness
●Rose: Yin: Liver, tonic, stomach, antiinflammation, depression, hemostasis, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, spleen, impotence, menoxenia, uterus, infertility, menstrual pain, frigidity, vomit, nausea, conjunctivitis, ophthalmia, nerves, headache, insomnia, constipation
●Rosemary: Yang: Liver, cardiac, tonic, cold, stomach, stimulation, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, perspiration, adrenocortico tropic, wound, diuretic, jaundice, itch, burn, bronchitis, tuberculosis, menstruation, diarrhea, indigestion, palpitations, breakdown, skin care, nerves, asthma, gallstone, ventilation, headache, hypotension, arteriosclerosis, hysteria, whooping cough, migraine, rheumatis

●Sandalwood
: Yang: Tonic, expectoration, cold, antiinflammation, depression, astringency, disinfection, tranquilizer, diuretic, vomit, nausea, catarrh, cough, bronchitis, tuberculosis, diarrhea, pimple, skin care, hiccough, nerves, insomnia, cystitis, gonorrhea

●Ylang Ylang: Yin: Hypertension, depression, disinfection, tranquilizer, impotence, palpitations, nerves, skin care, insomnia, frigidity

     We may make our lives richer and more comfortable if we make the best use of aromatherapy in our everyday lives.

Discovery

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     I cannot help checking new things and shops, especially restaurants, cafés, bakeries, bookshops, and variety stores. But I tend to ignore my neighborhood. Probably it’s because I think I can go there anytime.

     There’s a soba, or buckwheat noodle, restaurant named Yutorian in my neighborhood. It opened last year. The place had been abandoned for a long time since an old Japanese restaurant closed down. I hadn’t felt like trying the new soba restaurant until yesterday because I had a bad image of the former one.

     But suddenly I wanted to try the soba restaurant somehow and I had lunch there yesterday. The restaurant was more beautiful and fashionable than I had imagined. 

     I ordered something named Sakura. Sakura usually means cherry blossoms in Japanese, but the Sakura doesn’t. It means dried sakura-ebi, or pinkish shrimps. A lot of dried shrimps and nori, or sea vegetables, were topped on soba noodle. The soba itself was very nice and the combination with those toppings was also wonderful. 

     But I’m going to try just soba next time because it looked very delicious…

     After lunch, I went to a café, which is also in my neighborhood. The café is on the second floor of a building, and the first floor is a car shop which sells only English cars. 

     The café’s name is Morning Grace and the car shop is H&M Garage, and a couple runs each other. I mean the wife runs the café, and the husband owns the car shop.

     The passage between the parking lot and the café looks like a gallery. You’ll see many English classical cars there.

     I like the café. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy delicious food and coffee there. They have wonderful curry and pita sandwiches. I was able to have a nice day in my neighborhood. Yeah, I live in a nice place!

My Recent Days in November

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     Oh! This month will be over in only five days! It seems that time is going faster than I think. I’ll write about my recent days.

     About two weeks ago, some of my friends and I had a birthday party for an English man. One day, a friend of mine mentioned that she was going to have a birthday party for him. Strangely at the same time, another friend of mine told me that he was going to have a party with him as well. They were planning to have their own parties on almost the same day!

     The English man is an English teacher and has many classes at different places. So, those friends who were going to have parties were his students, but they are not in the same class. They happened to take it into their heads to have parties with him at the same time!

     Although they didn’t know one anther and about the each other’s party plans, I know the both of them and the teacher, and heard about the both plans! So, I thought it would be a good idea that the two parties became united…

     Then we had the party together at a Vietnamese restaurant. That was quite fun! 

     All the foods were fantastic! I love Vietnamese food! It was nice that the people in the two English classes made friends each other at the party. I’m not in the neither classes, and haven’t even taken the English teacher’s classes before though! Ha ha!

     Last week, I had an experience to go to a jazz live with some of my friends. It was held in Okazaki City. A friend of mine drove us to the live house. The live had a title: Live in the autumn breeze. The performers were a trio: a pianist, a violinist and a guitarist.

     Their music amused us. They played some pieces of music in standard jazz, and also played by arranging various music for jazz: classical music, popular songs, film music, cartoon songs, and even enka or Japanese traditional-style songs.

     They played my request as well, which was a theme song of a cartoon entitled Lupin the Third. That was wonderful! It was no longer a song for kids. It was jazz for adult!

     The pianist said, “As you see, we look very different. A woman and men, young and old. But there’s only one thing we have in common. It’s the all of us are single!” But I found out another thing they have in common. It’s that they love playing music!

     The other day, I did tai chi together with some of my fiends at a park in my neighborhood. It was windy and cold that day, but we had a good time. It’s really nice to do exercise outside! I’m sure it refreshes you!

     Many people passed by suspiciously. Probably they don’t know what tai chi is or we didn’t look like doing tai chi at all!

     After the exercise, one of us made tea at an arbor. She brought a picnic set! We relaxed by tai chi and then we enjoyed chatting over delicious tea and chocolate. What a wonderful time we had!

     Those were my recent days. Yeah, I’ve been very fine and spent wonderful days fortunately!

Tea Tasting Party

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     Last Sunday I joined in a tea tasting party with some of my friends. Do you know M&P’s Tea? http://mptea.com/ It’s a tea company established about 10 years ago in Nagoya, Japan. I visited their Tea House in Moriyama Ward for the party.

     They not only sell their tea but also have wonderful Tea Concerts about two times a year. At each Tea Concerts, the participants can enjoy the music, of course, and then also many kinds of tea with delicious cake and snacks. So whenever they have the concert, I always join them with my mom. I went to their Tea Concerts more than 5 times, but it was my first time to have joined in a tea tasting party.

     There were about 15 people in the party. And each one tried to describe the features: name, leaf appearance, color of liquor, aroma, and flavor of each tea on the tasting sheet. We tasted 8 kinds of tea! Darjeeling Castleton first flush and the second flush, Keemun Hao ya A and B, Ceylon Uva, Ceylon Dimbula, Elephant Assam, and Earl Gray.

     The participants started with Darjeeling Castleton first flush. According to Paul, the president of M&P’s Tea, Castleton is one of the greatest areas that produce good quality tea leaves stably. First flush teas are picked in spring. It smelled to me like grass. Paul recommended having it with smoke salmon sandwiches. And we did! Hmmm, delicious!

     Next we tried Keemun Hao Ya A. Keemun is preventative in Chinese tea. Hao Ya means tip of bud in Chinese, that is, unopened baby leaves. So, each of the Darjeeling’s tea leaves are quite big, but Keemun’s is very small. According to Paul, Keemun became famous because of winning the gold medal at Panama Expo in 1915. Speaking of Expo, Aichi Expo was held two years ago and I went there over 40 times. That was fun…Anyway, we had the tea with sweet cake! Hmmm, delicious!

     The three of most famous teas in the world are Darjeeling, Keemun, and Uva. So, we had Uva next. I like the Sri Lankan tea because of its flowery and fruity aroma. Paul recommended having the tea with cucumber sandwiches. So, we did! Hmmm, delicious!

     Then, we had Assam, Keemun Hao Ya B, Darjeeling second flush, Earl Gray and Dimbula, of course, with delicious food! 

     Look at this picture! Paul has two tea pots: the dark red on the left is Darjeeling second flush and the golden orange on the right is Darjeeling first flush. Second flush teas are picked in early summer. They are the same Darjeeling teas produced in the same estate Castleton. Only picking seasons are different. But the leaf appearance, the color of liquor, the aroma and the flavor were totally different!

     Paul said to me like this. “There are many kinds of teas and each one has features and matching food. We can choose tea as to food and time. That makes our lives richer.” I think he is a kind of missionary of tea…

     Anyway, all the teas and foods were excellent! I had a wonderful time!

M&P’s Tea: http://mptea.com/

Music class?

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      I take an English class at a university on Thursdays. It’s for TOEIC & TOEFL speaking tests. Actually I have no plan to take those tests…But each class opens my eyes! Through the class, I can learn many things.

     Last class was especially excellent! You’ll know what I mean when you see these photos!

     My teacher is a great collector of musical instruments. He used to a music teacher in the U.S. It seems that he’s leaned playing the shakuhachi, or Japanese bamboo flute for many years as well.

     He brought and showed students some of his collections last Thursday.

     He’s now very interested in Africa: countries, people, culture, etc…So the musical instruments he introduced were mainly from Africa.

     These are called Mbara or Calimba. It seems that the instrument was born in Zimbabwe, Africa. The same kinds of things have many different names and exist all over the world to date. 

     You can buy a cheap one at an ethnic shop for around 1800 yen. But one of my teacher’s is more than 40.000 yen! And the one made in Europe has a jack for plugging into an amplifier.

     This is a bamboo flute from Thai.

    

     

      And this is a horn recorder from Czech.

     Well…what class was I supposed to take?

Crazy Night

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     That was really fun! I had a party with my friends at ISONA, an Australian pub run by a friend of mine between Ikeshita and Imaike.

     Look at these photos! Crazy! Most of them are good mothers, fathers, daughters, teachers and workers! I forgot about it at the party…ha ha.

      At the beginning, Reiko, my friend, and I were going to have a small party with an Australian teacher M. We tried to have that opportunity because the teacher would go back to Australia next spring and we didn’t have so many opportunities to see him.   

     So I invited people who had taken his classes for the party and 13 people came there. But our teacher didn’t show up! 

     But Reiko and I had expected that because we had been out of contact with him recently…

      Are you OK, M? Your students have been really worried about you!

     Anyway, I’m sure all the participants had a really wonderful time! 

     Everyone must have been under much stress…And they must have been able to release it!

     We sang many songs and danced together, over lots of delicious food and drink! What a happy time that was! I think I’m a very lucky person because I have many nice friends and have such a wonderful time together! Thanks!