Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Tea Farm

by Jessie Bristow

jessie bristow / KA LAMAKUA 

The remnants of the Jasmine Dragon Pearl Green Tea. 
Half the fun is seeing what teas you like the most.
Step into the small elegance of a quaint, clean, and soothing atmosphere and learn to relax.

Not your typically rush filled café or coffee shop with clerks screaming out your order and lines filled with frustrated beings who are having withdrawals from caffeine and are looking to get their next fix. No hardcore drug dealers in these parts, but just a man who has got what you are looking for, and a place to embrace while you consume.

There has been recent news of the Tea Farm: yes it was opened by a UH alumni, yes it is just down the street, but why should we trade in our beloved addiction of lattes, frappuccinos, steamed, whipped, iced, heart racing, blood pumping coffee?

The answer is… you don't really have to. It is probably for the better that we put down the milk diluted sugar stuffed beverage for once and embrace the culture and tradition of drinking tea, just for health reasons alone. Don't count tea out, it's not over until the fat lady sings, and in this case the fat lady may be considering switching to tea over the quadruple shot syrup added creamy vente that is contributing to her future type two diabetes and obesity.

The Tea Farm Café's environment and style are what attracts people. For those who have grown up on Lipton and Snapple as being the furthest extent of your tea drinking experience, broaden your horizons by taking some time to gander at the selection of about 60 different teas to choose from. Each one has its own origin, scent, and appearance. Trying a few is the fun part of this little establishment, order a cup of Jasmine Dragon Pearl Green Tea and watch the leaves slowly unfold as the flavor consumes the rest of the cup. The shop is small, comfortable, clean, and it is down to earth. The hardwood floors, modern furniture, and little sofa make it a place to just take a breath and slow down.

The idea of a calm place to drink tea where the drug-addicted folk that wake up early and try to run America don't bother you with their daily dosage is a double-edged sword. The size and tranquility of The Tea Farm Café is what draws in its poetic clientele. But as soon as you start expanding café size, become more popular, and adjust to the capitalistic market to fit in more consumers, you drive out the originality of your basis idea of having a great place to get away from the rush. 

Luckily, the Tea Farm is attracting the kind of customers who take the time out of their busy day to sit and enjoy their tea instead of the people who choose a more direct injection of caffeine.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Debris from Japan’s tsunami predicted to hit Hawaii shores

by Maria Kanai

courtesy U.S. Navy/Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord

Tsunami debris from Japan floating on the ocean and making its way to Hawaii.

According to Jan Hafner, scientific computer programmer at the International Pacific Research Center, debris from last month's tsunami in Japan is expected to hit the shores of Hawaii in about two years.

Destroyed remnants of Japan's coastal towns such as cars, wood, construction material, houses and roof tops are moving across the Pacific Ocean riding powerful currents, such as the Kuroshio, which flows at one meter a second. At the moment, the debris has moved already a few hundred miles off the coast of Japan and is floating to America.

Based off a diagnostic model by UH scientists, the debris will reach Hawaii in two years. By then, the debris would turn into a "North Pacific garbage patch", which will piece away and continue to filter to Hawaii shores for about five more years. At the moment, the garbage patch is the size of Texas or even bigger.

In regards to this prediction, a project is being planned by Nikolai Maximenko to start tracking debris by placing transmitters on pieces from the tsunami. Gisela Speidel, who also works at the International Pacific Research Center, says, "It [the project] will help to determine where the different objects travel and how quickly and how they break apart. Such tracking will help government agencies to implement strategies to deal with the debris."

When asked what students at UH Manoa can do to help, Spiedel says, "Let us prevent trash from getting into the ocean in the first place. When at the beach, or boating, every one of us should make sure our trash is not left on the sand or thrown into the water…clean-up days by different community groups and schools are very important to deal with the immediate problem on hand."

Japan's tsunami has had a worldwide impact, and Hawaii is not an exception. However, Speidel hopes that this incident may possibly turn out for good.

"Our oceans were becoming more and more polluted already before the tsunami, perhaps the current disaster help to will bring governments and industries that contribute to marine debris together to begin to deal with the ever growing problem of garbage in our oceans."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Vengeful Sword brings Kabuki to UH

by Doyle Moeller

Meg Thiel as Manno (the conniving teahouse madam) and James Schirmer as Fukuoka Mitsugi (the dutiful samurai) in the Kabuki production of "The Vengeful Sword" at UHM's Kennedy Theatrer. 

A night at a Kabuki show is the epitome of Japanese class, a celebration of culture, history, and tradition. Usually based on a historical event, Kabuki is a highly stylized form of theatre sometimes referred to as ‘avant garde’ or bizarre, the slow speech and plot development can sometimes leave some viewers wondering when it will end.

Regardless of what you think of Kabuki, Hawai’i is the only place outside of Japan to lay claim to a Kabuki tradition. Troupes first came to the islands to entertain migrant workers in 1893, and the University of Hawai’i has been producing Kabuki since 1924.

The Vengeful Sword (or in the original Japanese: Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba) is built around a fateful night in a teahouse in Furuichi, specifically the Abura Teahouse. on a summer night in 1796, a possibly intoxicated, and certainly jealous Magofuku Itsuki (name changed to Fukuoka Mitsugi in the play) pulled his sword in the teahouse, killing three and injuring six.


James Schirmer (top) plays Fukuoka Mitsugi while Murray Husted (below) plays the role of his rival, Aidamiya Kitaroku in the UHM Kennedy Theatre production of "The Vengeful Sword."
Director Julie A. Iezzi sought to recreate the atmosphere of a Japanese Kabuki performance, with “audience hawkers” (listed as such in the cast list) selling Tenugui (towels with wood block prints) and Chirashi (prints on broadsheet) in the hose before the start of the show, with proceeds from their sales going to the Red Cross Fund for Japan Relief. These hawkers, in addition to selling their wares, held conversations for the benefit of the audience and performed short skits. 

Once the actual show starts, and first-timers get used to the stylistic, rhythmic speech which includes speaking to a slow beat and with great variation in pitch and tone, it reveals a simple but well told story of a family heirloom, a few compelling characters, and even a few surprises foreshadowed by a close inspection of the show’s program.

Catch the Vengeful Swordat Kennedy Theatre on April  21, 22 and 23 at 8pm, and April 24 at 2pm. For tickets or more information, call the Kennedy Theatre ticket office at 956-7655 or visit their website at