It's summer time again, this time post 3-11, and it's time to get back into reading real books. I'm not ready to give up the smooth feel of a good leather bound softback in my hands, at least not for a handheld metallic electronic reader. A book is a book and is best enjoyed the traditional way, over a nice cup of ice chilled summer tea and a comfortable chair with your favorite music:
Warmed By the Drift by Biosphere.
So in order to kick the hot humid season off right this time I stopped over at my favorite tea shop called Mikuniya Zengoro at the Konandai bus terminal building and hoarded up my favorite teas. I picked up a summer time sencha with it's light wintery minty coolness and fresh herbal balance. Natsu Sencha or Summer Tea is among some of the most popular decocted beverages you can drink in Japan.
Since the 9th Century, the Japanese have really acclimated to the seasons very well. Every season can be enjoyed along with its own unique foodstuffs and beverages to go along with them. Modern Japanese understand this, and they also understand that good tea comes from Shizuoka and Kyoto. But, do they always acknowledge that really good tea can come from not so famous areas, like in Fukui Prefecture, a part of Japan not talked much about in mainstream media and a place less frequented by many city dwellers and Tokyoites from the Kanto Area...? No. In fact Fukui Prefecture produces a lot of excellent products, and yes, tea is one of them. When it comes to Sencha type teas Fukui is one of those great, yet unspoken of tea producing regions in Japan.
One great tea I posted about here is also from a not so famous prefecture in mainstream conversation, yet some of the finest sencha teas hail from there. Sencha, in case you are wondering is widely enjoyed all over Japan and is regarded as the finest tea according to many tea-literate people. Here is an excellent write up on how "sencha" is made.
In order to commemorate the recognition of not-so-greats I decided to read about a great French painter, a true genius of his time, a man who once inspired the great Picasso himself. I introduce Eugène Anatole Carrière whose mastery of brown monochrome palette gave way to a beautiful exposition of the boundlessness of the human soul and the naked plain beauty of his wife's curvaceous body. Any admirer of the female leg is a man's man in my book. A man who loves the big healthy bustiness of a woman is a man's man in my book. Not a prude who eschews the love of the sinew that holds the natural form of the legs in place, and that which gives them its natural beauty and form. Noo.....
I was first introduced to this forgotten great mammoth painter of an artist at an art gallery in Ito City. I was actually there because I was invited to an all expenses paid trip to review some pieces of art by an up-and-coming artist trying to make a name for herself. Upon entering the main annex I was caught away by several painters whose works of art were on display. Three to be exact: Eugene Carriere, Jean-Jacques Henner, and Yasushi Tanaka who I will write about separately a bit later on.
Mr. Carriere is a very deep and profound painter whose focus is bounding the soul into three dimensional form and then giving human characteristics to them. His beautiful better half is one of his subjects along with his family. I love how he uses dark colors. I love how he captures the mood and the energy at the time of painting. His work is beautiful and alluring.
All of this brain stimulation heightened my tea drinking experience at the same time. It's the soul that Mr. Carriere captured, and well. I love the soul of something.