Saturday, April 28, 2007

teapot no. 27 - kami 神 in the pot

Watercolor in a Moleskine watercolor journal.

I painted this in brush calligraphy style as if i were writing Japanese with the correct stroke order (20 strokes total). I used a small flat watercolor brush instead of the 筆 (fude = bamboo brush) used for 書道 (shodou = calligraphy). The red seal is one of the first I carved over 20 years ago and shows the full moon through a 鳥居 torii (gate).

A torii 鳥居 is generally part of a Shinto shrine compound and stands as a symbolic gateway, reminding the community of the presence of kami 神.
(Ono, S. 1998. Shinto: The kami way. Tokyo: Tuttle).

kami 神 = god(s), goddess(es), spirit(s).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Latest teapots (nos. 22-25) and watercolors

Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god.

"Jai Ganesha
Jai Ganesha
Jai Ganesha, Deva
Mata ta Paravati
Pita Maha Deva"

teapot no. 25

teapot no. 24

teapot no. 23

teapot no. 22

I was inspired to paint this carp after listening to Joan Halifax Roshi's dharma talk on Sansheng's Golden Fish. I liked the talk so well that I listened to it three times.

Monday, April 23, 2007

You are beauty

Last night I made my favorite banana bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. The grated lemon peel in it gives it a zesty, unique flavor. I ate the banana bread this morning with a bowl of yoghurt with almonds, oats, sesame seed, flax seed, raisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, plus some orange wedges and a pot of matcha iri sencha 抹茶入り煎茶 (Japanese green tea with powdered green tea added).

* * * * * * *

This phrase was in my mind when I woke up this morning:

"You are the Universe's expression of Beauty"

The "you" is impersonal you, meaning all of you (including me). There is no finer expression of Beauty and Love than each and everyone of us. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could actually remember this truth and live by it in every moment. Jalalludin Rumi wrote: "Let the beauty we love be what we do."


Here is the recipe from Tassajara Bread Book (Edward Espe Brown, 1970, Berkeley: Shambhala)

for breakfast or dessert. A heavy.
(1 large loaf)

2 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 c oil
1/2 c honey
1 grated lemon rind
2 beaten eggs
2 c ripe banana pulp
1/4 t salt
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c raisins (optional)

Sift together flour and baking soda. blend oil, honey and lemon rind until nearly smooth. Beat in eggs. Add sifted ingredients in three pats alternately with banana pulp, beating until smooth after each addition. Fold in chopped nuts. Place in greased loaf pan. bake for 50 minutes at 350° or until fork or toothpick in center comes out dry. cool five minutes before removing from pan (p. 117).

[ t = teaspoon; c = cup. I make mine without raisins. I find that the honey is sweet enough for my taste].

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Teapot no. 21 - Takis at Seven Cups

Pencil and watercolor in a Moleskine watercolor journal.

I sketched this in pencil while at Seven Cups Tea House in Tucson with Takis (pictured) and his grandpa hialoakapua yesterday afternoon over a pot of tea. Today I watercolored the color. The tea we are drinking here is "Meng Ding Cui Zhu Green Bamboo 2007", a rare green tea which is certified organic. Meng Ding Cui Zhu Green Bamboo is a first flush tea from this year's spring harvest. It was brought back in suitcases from China last week with lots of other fresh teas by the folks who run Seven Cups Tea House.

Here's a photo of Takis that Ross (hialoakapua) took at Seven Cups.

Friday, April 20, 2007

teapot no. 20 - 魚島

Fish Island

teapot nos. 18 & 19

Teapot no. 19 (of the second set of 100 teapots)

Teapot no. 18 (of the second set of 100 teapots)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Language Loss, Language Gain

Click here for an interesting video lecture on language loss in the "ethnosphere" given by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis. He says, "language is a flash of the human spirit" and a "watershed of thought", "an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities".


Here's the source page for an article I've pasted below about Professor Stephen Neyooxet Greymorning's Accelerated Second Language Acquisition (ASLA) technique. According to Greymorning, ASLA results in indigenous language learning at a much more rapid pace than what he calls standard language teaching/learning methods. I want to find out more about ASLA since the article doesn't describe the method in any detail, and if it really works, then could it not be applied to any language one wants to learn?

Visiting scholar offers exciting new way to learn languages - 19/03/2007

Visiting North American Indigenous scholar Stephen Neyooxet Greymorning has come to Australia to share an astonishing language technique.

Professor Greymorning has developed a way of teaching languages, called Accelerated Second Language Acquisition, so that a total novice can be speaking and understanding a foreign language with conversational ease after as little as 18 hours’ tuition.

He has been successfully using the technique, which he developed after extensively studying how children learn language, with Indigenous Americans.

Now he is visiting Southern Cross University’s Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples to explore how his methodology might apply toward the teaching of Indigenous Australian languages and to see if there are any language teachers in Australia who are interested in learning the method.

An Arapaho Indian, who teaches in the departments of Native American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Montana, Professor Greymorning is acutely concerned about the rapid rate of loss of Indigenous languages throughout the world.

“In North America there are between 270 and 300 Indigenous languages still spoken but 88 per cent of them are in danger of becoming extinct within 20 years,” Professor Greymorning said.

“It is clear that our young Indigenous people are not having any success in picking up the language of their tribal groups. Even though they are showing interest, standard teaching methods are slow and require a great deal of patience, study and application, which is not very appealing to many people, even if they want to learn a foreign language.

“I spent many years observing and documenting how children learn language, which subsequently led me to develop this new methodology that has been yielding dramatic results.

“The results have been mind-boggling. After a first lesson of just one hour, students can have acquired over 80 useable phrases. After four hours of being taught a language through this new method, most students have been able to speak and understand hundreds of phrases.

“After 12 hours of tuition they are able to have a good conversation with full understanding and to translate from English to the new language and from the new language back to English.

“The technique can be used to teach a single individual or groups of people; to date the largest single group I have worked with has been over 140 people.

“Students achieve rapid success which is highly motivating. An Indigenous community in Quebec, Canada, has reported students at the end of class not wanting to go home. They enjoyed it so much they literally had to be pushed out of the door.

“The lessons are short and I only teach for two hours a week, this is primarily because a different part of the brain is used with this particular methodology. It is not the usual part of the brain that processes new tasks so you don’t have to memorise anything – you learn to understand the new language conceptually.

“I have successfully used this technique with over 40 different language groups in the US and all have had similar results.”

Professor Greymorning, who is now looking to share his knowledge with Indigenous language groups in Australia, reported he had just returned from giving a presentation at the Muurrbay community in Nambucca Heads. Community members there were literally overwhelmed at what they saw and have asked Professor Greymorning to return to train them in how to use his methodology.

“One of the things I hope to accomplish while in Australia is to have language teachers learn about my methodology if they are interested,” Professor Geymorning said.

“The main difficulty is in getting language teachers to not be afraid of trying a radically different approach. People who have been teaching the same way for decades are often highly resistant to change. It seems to invalidate their life’s work and teaching.

“But I would encourage them to keep an open mind and give it a try. The results will be immediate and speak for themselves.”

Professor Greymorning has developed what he calls a ‘language map’ for language teachers which he teaches in a three-to-five day intensive group program.

Anyone who is interested can contact him at Gnibi or email him at

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This afternoon I sat on this bench to enjoy the shade and sunshine while sipping a fruit smoothie I bought at the nearby Jamba Juice store. While seated there, a young woman approached to ask me if she could interview me for a journalism class assignment. She wanted to know my reactions to the Virginia Tech shootings. She wanted to know my first reaction to the news. I said that, 1) I hope the shootings do not motivate other potentially dangerous people to enact similar tragedies on US campuses and, 2) that after finding out the boy was Korean, I hoped that people would not use "Koreanness" to justify bigotry, hatred, and prejudice against other Koreans or Asians (as if there is a uniform homogenous Asian!). She also asked me whether the Virginia Tech shootings have affected my sense of safety on the UA campus. I responded that I do not feel fearful--I feel quite safe, actually--and that I trust the UA Police Department, UA Security, and the Tucson Police Department will continue to do their best to ensure the safety of the campus and surrounding area.

The empty bench, for me, symbolizes the young Korean man and his alienation from society. How can we reach out to people who need care from the community?




* * *

Real Time Webcast Available at

KAHULUI, MAUI, HAWAI'I - (April 10, 2007) - In an unprecedented show of collaboration and partnership by the Maui community, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, will have the entire world as his audience as part of a "real time" webcast of his public appearances on the island of Maui on April 24 and 25, 2007.

With broadband computer access, those who wish to see and hear the Dalai Lama speak on "The Approach to World Peace" and the "Eight Verses of Training the Mind: A Buddhist Philosophical Discourse" will be able do so in the comfort of their homes by logging on to The Tibet Fund website at

The resources of several local and national businesses and educational institutions, including Maui Community College (University of Hawaii), Stanford University, VX30 and SUN Microsystems, have joined The Tibet Fund in presenting this opportunity. The webcast of the Dalai Lama's two public appearances will be the first and most astounding to come out of Maui to date. The real time webcast will be aired on Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. HDT each day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Las ventajas de ser bilingue

Estos días, me alegra que soy bilingüe, que puedo leer, escribir, pensar, y hablar en otros idiomas. Puedo usar el español, el françes, el inglés, y el japonés para comunicarme. Eso no significa que uso mis idiomas perfectamente—estoy muy lejos de la perfección--sino que continuo aprendiendo cada vez que uso mis lenguas (aún cuando uso el inglés). Estoy felíz porque dos o tres veces en los últimos seis meses, cuando fui a la biblioteca pública para sacar un libro popular, y no era disponible en inglés, podía prestarlo en español. Y que suerte vivir en Tucson donde se puede encontrar muchos libros escritos y traducidos en español. Hace unos meses encontré que hubiera tenido esperar unos meses por sacar uno de los 26 copias en inglés del libro nuevo de Esther y Jerry Hicks: El Fascinante Poder de la Intención Deliberada. En cambio, la traducción al español era disponible inmediatamente. Entonces tuve la oportunidad de mejorar mi español y aprender de la intención deliberada a la misma vez.

Así, hace unos días comenzé leer dos libros en español. El primer fue escrito en inglés, y al principio lo busqué en inglés: Amar Lo Que Es: Cuatro Preguntas Que Pueden Cambiar Tu Vida, escrito por Byron Katie y Stephen Mitchell y traducido por Mari Luz Hernández. Stephen Mitchell es un gran traductor de libros sagrados como el
Libro de Job, el Tao Te Ching, y el Bhagavad Gita, además de ser el esposo de Byron Katie. Una pareja muy interesante, yo creo, con una mescla fortuita del espiritual, el corporal, la sabiduria anciana (o sin tiempo....), y el intelectual-académico. La enseñanza que “Katie” nos ofrece, viene de su experiencia actual, la que ha vivido, no de los ancianos libros sagrados. En cambio, Stephen Mitchell tiene la experiencia tremenda de haber estudiado y traducido los textos clásicos de las tradiciones espirituales del mundo.

El segundo libro es un libro escrito originalmente en español por Don Miguel Ruíz.
Los Cuatro Acuerdos es bien conocido en el mundo inglés. En hecho, yo había leído artículos sobre el libro pero no el libro mismo. Entonces lo voy a leer.

Ustedes que leen español pueden ver que me queda muy lejos de ser "nativa" o completamente natural en cuanto a mi español. Estoy muy peresoza cuando escribo, y ya sé que puedo comunicarme bastante bien, entonces, apenas uso el diccionario.... y por eso lo hago muchos errores. Prefiero aprender por leer en español, escuchar a la música con letras españolas y a la radio mexicana, y hablar con gente hispano parlante como mis vecinos aquí en Tucson. En esta manera sigo aprendiendo.

****** Y mi traducción/And my translation:******

The advantage of being bilingual

These days, I’m happy that I am bilingual, that I can read, write, think, and speak in other languages. I can use Spanish, French, English, and Japanese to communicate. This does not mean that I use these languages perfectly—I am very far from perfection—rather that I continue learning each time I use my languages (even with English).

The reason I am happy to be bilingual is this: two or three times in the last six months, when I went to the public library to check out a popular book, and it wasn’t available in English, I could borrow it in Spanish. And, how lucky to live in Tucson where one can find many books written in Spanish or translated into Spanish. A few months ago, I found that I would have had to wait for months to take out one of the 26 copies of Esther and Jerry Hicks' new book in English,
The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intention. However, the Spanish translation was available immediately. Therefore, I had the opportunity to improve my Spanish while learning about deliberate intention.

So, a few days ago, I began to read two books in Spanish. The first one, written in English, was one I had wanted to read in English: Love What Is: Four Questions That Will Change
Your Life by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell, translated by Mari Luz Hernández. Stephen Mitchell is a great translator of sacred books like The Book of Job, theTao Te Ching, and The Bhagavad Gita, and he is Byron Katie’s husband. A very interesting pair, I think, with their fortuitous blend of the spiritual, bodily, ancient (or timeless) wisdom, with the intellectual-academic. The teachings that “Katie” offers us comes from her own lived experience, rather than from ancient sacred books. In contrast, Stephen Mitchell has tremendous experience studying and translating the classic texts of the world’s spiritual traditions.

The second book is a book originally written in Spanish by Don Miguel Ruíz.
The Four Agreements is a well-known book in the English speaking world, but I had only read articles about the book, not the book itself. So, now I will read it (in Spanish).

You who read Spanish can see that I am very far from being a native or completely natural in my Spanish. I am very lazy when I write, and I know I can communicate well enough, so I hardly use a dictionary…. And that’s why I make a lot of errors. I prefer learning by reading in Spanish, listening to music with Spanish lyrics, listening to Mexican radio, and speaking with Spanish speaking people here in Tucson, like my neighbors. This is how I continue learning.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The water of immortal life is right there--wherever you are--if you are following your bliss... Follow your bliss and don't be afraid and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.
[Joseph Campbell]

Monday, April 09, 2007

aRt in America

Think you know art, love art, make room for beauty, have your priorities straight? Would you know, see, hear--appreciate--real beauty/art when faced with it? Read this article and weep. I did. It's a long article. When you are done reading, remember what the article says about children. Children are natural artists and lovers of beauty.
Do you make space for beauty in your life?

Rumi said: Let the beauty we love be what we do.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

My 2nd Sketch Crawl

I did my 2nd sketch crawl today in Tucson--a half-day watercolor marathon in which I bicycled around to four different sites with my lightweight folding chair to watercolor sketch.

epic café on 4th Ave. was my first stop. I had an americano with half and half and a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese while painting this scene.

From epic, I continued down 4th Av to La Indita, a Mexican-Tarascan (P'urhépecha)restaurant.

Anjali is a day spa and yoga studio off of 4th Ave. I like the cobalt blue colored domes. Anjali was my 3rd stop.

St. Augustine's was my fourth and final stop. The early service on Sunday's at St. Augustine's is a mariachi service.
Here's my sketch crawl set

Friday, April 06, 2007

enough already

There's just so much machine made boxed matzoh that a person can eat. Afterall, "humans cannot live on matzoh alone." My Passover season is officially over. I've eaten enough gefilte fish, matzoh kugel, matzoh with charoses and maror, and matzoh ball soup until next year. Time to eat the healthy whole grains again that support the smooth functioning of my body/temple. Amen.

This is the breakfast I made myself this morning: steamed greens with olive oil & fresh lemon juice; millet with black sesame seeds; kim (Korean seasoned nori); jasmine tea; tsukemono (daikon radish pickles; tofu with soy sauce and french breakfast radishes; and some miso soup. yUm!

A friend pointed out to me that the Jewish tradition of sweeping out hametz (any flour or bread products) prior to the Passover/Pesach celebration was most likely born out of the seasonal neccesity to clean before insects came into the home. It makes a lot of sense to do Spring Cleaning before the hot insect bringing weather arrives.

The real matzoh that the Jews ate when fleeing Egypt was a rough whole round unleavened bread made from barley or wheat, not the machine made squares of matzoh we buy in a box.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

teapot no. 16 - お茶の道

That's Yuki on the left, Jesse leaning against the table, and, me, the starfish, welcoming you all to the path of tea, お茶の道 (o-cha no michi).
View the slowly growing second set of 100 teapots and the complete first set of 100 teapots.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Matzoh with Yuki חג שמח

This morning I ate matzoh with charoses and maror from last night's seder. Along with the matzoh, I drank a few little teapotfuls of puerh tea and had some leftover fruit compote.
Charoses is an apple-nut-cinnamon-and-kosher red wine mixture; maror is the horseradish. We like our horseradish colored magenta from beets. Both the charoses and the maror are eaten between passover matzoh to represent the mortar and bricks with which the Jews built the Pharoahs' pyramids when they were slaves in Egypt. Charoses was always my favorite childhood Passover food that I helped my mom make. This year, my friend and I made the charoses to bring to my mom's seder, so I made an extra container to enjoy over the next few days. I led the seder.

Click here to read a 2005 entry I wrote about matzoh.