Bubbles, Foam and Froth

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Bubbles, Foam and Froth

May.24 John Gauntner

and what they tell you… Sake brewing today has become very scientific. But long ago, before the days of thermometers, hydrometers, and barometers, brewers relied entirely on their five senses to gauge the progress of a fermenting tank of sake. As a curious side note, one toji told me that they compared the accuracy of…


A Taste of Culture – TSUDOI PROJECT

May.11 Elizabeth Andoh

TSUDOI 集 means “get-together” in Japanese… it is the opposite of social distancing. Here in Japan, the mandate for social distancing is worded differently. We are cautioned to avoid MITSU no MITSU (三つの密) or 3 kinds of situations (that begin with the same calligraphy, MI ) : MIPPEI (密閉)– poorly ventilated spaces, MISSHU(密集)– crowds of…


Hard Water and Soft Water Together in Sake Brewing

May.02 John Gauntner

Of course they do… I do not get to Ishikawa Prefecture often enough. It sits nestled basking in its historical glory, on the Japan Sea side of the country, its rich history former reputation for wealth and opulence in stark contrast to mellowness and sleepiness that pervades much of the prefecture today. During my most…


Global Refresh


by Steve Beimel A simple truth: trees suck up carbon and cool down the area in which they are planted. They are also beautiful, assist in ground water replenishment, provide habitat for many forms of life and act as wind breaks. I was tired of years of helplessly watching the world get hotter and ignoring…



Apr.26 Meher McArthur

Many centuries ago, the Chinese Daoist sage Zhuangzi famously wondered, “Am I a man who just dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly now dreaming he is a man?” The Japanese Buddhist nun and artist, Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875), wrote the following poem, Cho (Butterfly) in her exquisite calligraphy, both on the scroll below and…



Apr.21 Amy Katoh

Things were different at our recent 10 Day Tokiwa Gallery! Silly! Quirky! Unexpected! Laughable! and Surprising! Starting with a SPECTACULAR SHISHI MAI DANCE performed by Father and Son who live in the neighborhood. Son, an evolved and accomplished 40 year old Down’s Syndrome artist, was the head. Father was the tail. Their teamwork, punctuated by…


Travel Journal Part II

Apr.16 Gail Rieke

Another great joy of Japan travel is receiving so many exquisitely designed maps and tickets and memorabilia. They are treasured and folded into envelopes to make a book form. A jumble of gratitude goes out to Nancy Craft, Steve Beimel and Andy Bender… the Esprit Dream Team and all my extraordinary travel companions… Thank you…


A Taste of Culture – RICE BUNDLES by Elizabeth Andoh

Apr.13 Elizabeth Andoh

Some people call them OMUSUBI, others call them ONIGIRI, the Japanese language today has two words for pressed rice bundles. Both begin with an honorific “o,” showing that rice, no matter what you call it, is a food to be honored. Each of the words, onigiri and omusubi, derive from verbs that describe the compressing…


A new Golden Age of Japan has begun!


by Steve Beimel                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Japan continues to delight, surprise and fulfill me after nearly 50 years.  About two years ago, a group of about a dozen American and British friends joined together to support me in my efforts to identify needs and give strategic support to small, key projects that encourage traditional Japanese crafts to flourish…


Travel Journal

Apr.11 Gail Rieke

by Gail Rieke Since 1995, I have made artworks which translate travel experience into various media… collage, book arts, photographs, drawings, textile arts, and writings. I call them “travel journals” even though they transcend the usual preconception. Most of them are stored within suitcases or baskets in the Suitcase Wall in my studio. During this…