Moment in a Tea Shop

White Lilies

She was intrigued by the sign on the door.

The shop looked there and not there; it had no outward personality, as did the other shops in the unusual mall. Outside the door was a rack of short kimonos, looking somewhat hanger-worn. A hand-made sign read, “Kimonos: 50% off.” A glance in the window showed an odd assortment of artifacts: tea pots, mats, statuettes. They all sort of blended together to create a quite unremarkable impression. It was not possible to see into the shop from the window; there was a wall of fabric or a curtain of some sort blocking off any view to the inside. Trying to decide what type of shop it was, and whether it was worth the investment of her time to enter it, she scanned the façade again. It would be a few minutes before her daughter was finished at the shop across the way. A printed flyer on the door caught her eye. It said, “Tea Times.” She could not read the finer print. She wondered if the shop were a tea house of some sort. Venturing a little closer to the entry, she peered in. She could see tea mats, teapots, cups, trinkets. Little iron animal figurines. Her curiosity got the better of her and she entered the shop. Once inside, she noticed a young lady behind the counter intent in conversation with a young man. They were speaking Japanese. She looked around to the back of the shop. No serving tables in sight; it was just a store. As she progressed farther into the interior, she took in the very different feel of the place: everything appeared very authentic and of high quality. This was not a cheap souvenir store. There were wooden tea chests of all sizes, delicately crafted of thin wood, with elegant drawers, and some with mini shoji screens that slid open and closed. There were many different styles of tea pots and tea sets made of porcelain and painted in all different colors and patterns. There were cylindrical tea-jars with lids, made of bamboo, finely pieced together. In the back sat a large, flat table, piled with stacks of very large, individually screen-printed handmade paper. She leafed through a few of them, admiring the craftwork and patterns. Then she turned and saw a whole table covered with squares of ornately printed cotton fabric from Japan. The squares were carefully folded and wrapped in cellophane envelopes.

Japanese Fabric

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Sticky Rice Mango, Moon & Clouds

Sticky Rice Mango Moon & Clouds 1 Moon & Clouds 3

We went on an unexpected date, my husband and I.
The air was crisp and the clouds were like we’d never seen them.
The full moon cast an eerie glow, creating a lightshow in the sky (these iPhone pictures don’t do it justice).
Sticky rice mango for dessert.