Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tea & Tigers: Winter Sale!

Had enough of Black Friday? Cyber Monday? How about a Green (tea) Friday & Saturday?

This Friday & Saturday, December 11th & 12th, Charaku Fine Japanese Tea / WaSabiDou Antiques & Folk Crafts will hold its annual Open House Sale. Everything in the showroom and on-line will be 10% off starting Dec 11th and continuing through the end of the month.

For those ordering on-line, you may want to e-mail or call for availability of certain items. Most of our craft items are one-of kind. The website will be updated daily for sold items.

WHEN: Fri/Sat. Dec 11-12, 2009 10:00am - 5:00pm

WHERE: 127 N.W. 136th Street Seattle, WA 98177-4041

need directions? please call me at 206-660-4189


Our line of Japanese teas will be available for tasting. Please stop by to pick up the gift of health and culture for a loved one or yourself. Or, just drop in to have a cup of tea and take a break from the rest of your holiday shopping. For those wanting a more formal class, I'll be doing a tea tasting at East West Bookshopon Sun, Dec 13. Advance registration required, contact East West for more info: http://www.eastwestbookshop.com/ , 206-523-3726.


In addition to fine tea, we also have a large assortment of tea and sake cups starting from $15, and a bunch of new & vintage folk toys starting at $20;great gifts that are hand-made! For the collector, we also have plenty of antique furniture, woodblock prints, textiles, and ceramics; and as always, lots of contemporaryceramics from local and Japanese potters.


One more thing, those interested in obtaining the Miharu Hariko Tiger (see photo above) representing next year's Asian Zodiac animal, please give me a shout. The dynamic "koshi-daka" (high-hipped) tiger made by the 14th generation of the Hashimoto Family in Fukushima Prefecture is sure to be in short supply this season. I'll be placing an additional order before month's end to see what's available. The tiger stands 6.5" high and is 5" long. The price will be $75.00. The Hashimoto family has been making these paper-mache dolls for over 300 years. The current family head, Hashimoto Hashime, was invited to show his craft at the Smithsonian. Only the coming year's animal is made each year, and in a limited quantity; and they do not export. If you'd like one, I'll add your name to the list and put in a request. No guarantees as to availability, but I hope there will be enough for everyonewho wants one.

My family and I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season. Hope to see you in the showroom or on-line this weekend!


Tatsuo Tomeoka

Charaku Fine Japanese Tea http://www.charaku-tea.com/

WaSabiDou Antiques & Folk Crafts http://www.mingei-wasabidou.com/

Friday, December 04, 2009

WaSabiDou Updates...long time coming

As you can see by the following posts, I'm a terrible blogger.
I've updated some of the highlights of the past few years all in one day. To sum up; two young kids and devotion to family, two businesses, and living in a rural area where I'd rather be out picking blueberries in summer, or marveling at the flight of snow geese in winter, instead in being inside on a computer make me a lazy blogger. When I am inside, I'd rather be imbibing a bowl of matcha or a cup of tea with my wife. But, I've resolved to do better at this blogging thing.
In the past few years; there have been a number of tea tastings and talks for college classes, pottery and architecture groups on Mingei, Tea, Woodblock Prints, and Wabi Sabi Aesthetics. We've had sales, music events, art exhibits, and more. The following posts are just some of the main events since the time of my last update in May 2005! Reading these will let you know a little more of what I'm all about. Please feel free to write me with any comments or questions. Peace.
P.S. The bowl pictured above is a black raku chawan by George Gledhill.

WaSabiDou Launches Charaku Fine Japanese Tea! December 2008

My long-time love of tea has finally come to fruition with my own line of fine Japanese tea. Charaku, literally the "Pleasure of Tea" was launched in December of 2008 with an independent website, www.charaku-tea.com.

Partnering with suppliers and farmers in Japan, my goal is to introduce the width and depth of the Japanese tea experience. This of course includes well-made tea wares that connect the user to nature and to the artisan. We carry a wide range of leaf teas representing a variety of appellations and processing styles around Japan. We also have Premium Organic Matcha, granite stone-milled for an authetic experience. Our teas are fresh packed in small nitrogen-flushed batches for maximum freshness and health benefits.

Our website and packaging get lots of compliments for their aesthetics and I always like to give credit to these good friends; the calligrapher, Chiyo Sanada; and the web designers, DonnaClaire Design. Please visit the "Resources" page of the website for contact info for both; and continue to browse for tea, tea wares, and tea education. Dozo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.

"Autumn Moon" Concert at Bloedel Reserve; Oct. 11, '08

The Japanese Garden of the beautiful Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, was the scene for an evening of music with World Flute Musician Gary Stroutsos. The Guest House in the Garden, designed by legendary Pacific NW architect Paul Kirk, housed about 40 guests for this intimate engagement. Prior to the music starting, and during an after-concert wrap-up; WaSabiDou was on hand to serve tea. Aa subtle asamushi sencha from Ashikubo in Shizuoka was the main selection. For those wanting to avoid caffeine, we had a nice roasted houjicha to enjoy. Gary is a close friend of mine, and we've collaborated on numerous projects in the past. This was just a relaxing evening of meditative music, in a beautifully designed building, set in an etheral natural landscape. It couldn't be called be work by any stretch of the imagination. Please visit the Bloedel Reserve's website www.bloedelreserve.org and that of Gary Stroutsos www.garystroutsos.com to take you to a place of relaxation wherever you are.

The Pleasure of Tea Open House Sale; Sept 27-Oct 5, '08

This sale featured not only tea wares; such as new kyusu pots from Mashiko, contemporary tea bowls from artists like Lee Love and George Gledhill, and antique bowls from SE Asia; but we also introduced a number of teas from partners in Japan. Two separate tasting sessions were held giving guests the opportunity to taste Japanese teas representing a variety of appelations and processing styles. Gyokuro from Fukuoka, deep-steamed Sencha from Shizuoka, roasted Houjicha, pan-fired Kamairicha from Miyazaki, and varying taste profiles of Sencha from Shizuoka, Kagoshima, Saitama, and Uji, just to name a few. We also featured freshly made wagashi, seasonal Japanese sweets, made by Tokara in Seattle. How lucky we are to have one of the few professional Japanese sweet makers in the whole country just down the street! Below are some photos of the showroom to give you an idea of what things look like in a typical open house sale.

Mashiko Tea Cup Sale; Oct 27-Nov 4, '07

An Open House sale featuring a large number of individual yunomi or tea cups from Mashiko. Many were obtained during my stay there in 1999-2000, and on the numberous visits (almost monthly) made back there until moving back to the States in the late summer of 2002. I also picked up several on my recent visit last year for the Sacred Clay Japan music tour I produced.

I tend to favor those utilizing traditional Mashiko glazes such as nami jiro (white), kaki (brown, literally "persimmon,") Mashiko guro (kuro-black,) ame (a yellow resembling butterscotch,) and seiji (celadon green) with simple or little brushwork.

Sacred Clay: Japan 2006

Producing this international music tour for good friend, World Music Artist Gary Stroutsos, was something I had wanted to do for a long time. After having him perform with master koto musician Elizabeth Falconer for a Moon Viewing concert at the Seattle Japanese Garden, I knew that I wanted to take Gary to Japan and that his heartfelt music would be well received there. Gary has a thick resume, with multiple CD's and performances in venues like the White House (for President Clinton due to his soundtrack work on Ken Burns' Lewis & Clark documentary,) Canyon DeChelley (live recording work on Native American flutes,) and Seattle's Benaroya Hall, to name just a few of many. His music is hard to pigeonhole, but floats across world cultures and traditions through the
vehicle of American Jazz.
The concert tour included 9 performances in 6 cities starting with a formal concert in Tokyo's AKO Studio (an acoustic performance hall made entirely of the same wood used in pianos, spruce I think. Gary was a special guest of Yamaha keyboardist Chiaki Sato, a nationally recognized synthesizer player since a child (and my cousin!) Besides a duet performance, Gary got to play & display a number of clay flutes and whistles made by Ceramic artist Rod Kendall. here's a shot of Gary & Chiaki in a Yamaha rehersal studio.

Below is a shot of Gary performing INSIDE an old pottery kiln in the ancient kiln city of Tokoname. A Kyoueigama Gallery in Tokoname, 65 seats fit into this old kiln that formerlyly fired a few thousand pots at a time. The glazed brick interior was an acoustic blessing and it was a real treat to hear Rod Kendall's clay flutes in there.

Next, we were off to four Buddhist Temple concerts in Gifu Prefecture. Here Gary is outside of Houfukuji in Kakamigahara City, not far from Nagoya. Inside, he played an evening concert lit only by the temple's candles and incense. Afterwards, the guests were treated to a shojin ryori (temple food, mostly vegetarian) meal prepared by Mrs. Nishibu (Rev. Nishibu's wife) and temple staff. Another temple concert was in the mountain town of Takayama at the historic Kokubinji Temple (founded in the 7th century.) After these concerts, we headed to my old town of Mashiko, where the annual Pottery Festival was going on. Gary played at the Mashiko Messe Ceramic Museum in front of the Hamada Shoji House. The next day, a performance held in a stone "kura" (storehouse) converted to a cafe made another great acoustic venue for Gary's flutes. It was a memorable trip and we have plans for another Japan in the near future!
For all ceramic-instrument music, check out the CD "Sacred Clay." Gary Stroutsos on wind instruments and Grammy-nominated percussionist Will Clipman on udu and other percussion instruments, all created by Olympia, WA clay artist Rod Kendall. Available through our website, www.mingei-wasabidou.com.

Mingei: Theory Aesthetics, Spirit; Shoreline Community College March 4, '06

This was a lecture/discussion and exhibit at Shoreline Community College just north of Seattle. Several items from our collection were on display: small furniture, lots of pottery, textiles, folk toys, etc. The discussion was meant to expose Yanagi Soetsu's "mingei biron" (Mingei Theory) to the local public. While many mingei discussions revolve around the objects themselves in an anthropological sense; the basis of mingei actually is centered on Yanagi's theories, many of which are rooted in Buddhist philosophy. It is this theory that brings to the light the possibility of bringing mingei out of the realm of the "Unknown Craftsman" of yesterday into that of the contemporary studio-artist. During the preview and intermission, soothing Okinawan folk music by played on shamisen by Mako. With an authentic Kumejima kimono displayed behind her, all we needed was an island breeze to make us feel like we were in Okinawa. See http://mingei-folkcraft.blogspot.com for more information on this event.

Mingei Open House Sale: Feb 24-March 19, '06

This was the Open House Sale & Exhibition that accompanied the lecture at Shoreline Community College. The postcard at left featured the following three items featured in the sale: Teacup by Shimaoka Tatsuzo (National Living Treasure,) ca. 1970's; Woodblock Print of Jar by Tomimoto Kenkichi (National Living Treasure,) ca. 1955; and a kasuri kimono from Kumejima Okinawa (designated a National important craft,) ca. 1960's.

Below is a wonderful tea cup attributed to Hamada Shoji, early 1970's.

Found In Translation: Asian Traditions in Contemporary Art; Nov-Dec '05

Found In Translation is an exhibition that I am very proud of. Held at TORA Gallery in the scenic Skagit Valley of Washington State, the show brought together over 40 contemporary artists from the US & Japan whose work has been inspired by Asian traditions. Feature artists inlcuded furniture maker Evert Sodergren (whose chairs are featured in the Smithsonian,) sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa (whose giant "Glove" adrons the entryway of the Seattle Mariner's Safeco Field,) textile artist Kikuko Dewa (whose great uncle is a Textile National Living Treaure in Japan,) and many more talented individuals. It also featured live performance calligraphy by Chiyo Sanada and contemporary koto music by Silk Strings. Duo En's koto & shakuhachi concert and haiku reading in Japanese & English. Please visit http://foundintrans.blogspot.com/ for plenty of photos and information. This was a lot of work and a lot of fun!

Voice of Flying Ink: Calligraphy by Meredith McPherson; Oct.'05.

This was a show I curated for friend and talented calligrapher, Meredith McPherson at Floating Leaves Tea House in Seattle. Meredith had long studied with master calligraphers in China, and has since had numerous showings of her work in the U.S. I've done a few solo shows of her work, and have also included it in a number of group shows I've produced. See more of her work and read more about her at www.zeninkart.com. Floating Leaves has since moved to smaller digs without a gallery or cafe space where they can focus on their primary mission, purveying high quality Taiwanese Oolong tea. See www.floatingleaves.com for the best Taiwan Oolong around.

Tougei Taisai at Tsubaki Jinja; August 21, 2005

I put together this event as a way to show appreciation and support for local potters and for my friends at Tsubaki Shrine; located in Granite Falls, WA. It's not unusual in Japan for a Shinto priest to come out and bless a kiln prior to an important firing. Here, we had potters come out to the shrine (the only one of its kind outside of Japan, we're lucky!) and be blessed by Reverend Koichi Barrish. Potters also had pieces blessed that were later sold at a fundraising event held on the shrine grounds. About 30 potters had work in the sale and about 50 attended the event overall. Flutist Gary Stroutsos performed an offering concert on all ceramic instruments created by potter Rod Kendall, of Olymia, WA. See a separate blog at http://sacredclay.blogspot.com/ for full details. See http://www.tsubakishrine.org/ for info on the shrine.