Friday, November 21, 2008
This afternoon while I was at lunch I stopped into Pema Kharpo, the Tibetan shop on Greenwood. I've spoken with the owner (whose name I can not spell) before, but not about tea. I was looking through the books and found some things I was looking for, including a basic Tibetan-English dictionary. I knew that he probably didn't, but I asked him if he had any books that talked about Tibetan tea. He didn't, but he said that he had some tea. The "teas" that he carries in his shop are Tibetan herbal medicinal teas, which I wasn't interested in. He asked me why I was interested in information about tea, so I told him that I was researching and writing about Tibetan tea and tea culture. I tried to talk a little about Tibetan butter tea, but there was a bit of a language barrier. He asked me about tea ceremonies and said that Sakya Monatsery a few blocks away performs them frequently, which was a very useful piece of information. He also asked me if I knew about "Zendog" which is also nearby. I said I'd heard about it but had not been there. He told me that the person there performs tea ceremonies all the time in his teashop. I was quite curious about this because I had heard something about the place but did not know that it had any connection to Tibetan tea. When I got back to my office I looked it up. It's basically a Chinese tearoom and art gallery, having nothing to do with Tibet. The person there serves tea gongfu style. I find it a little surprising that a Tibetan would be so loose with his cultural identifiers, but at least he's not biased against this man who is Chinese. Perhaps he's Taiwanese. It seems a little odd to me that a Chinese place would be named after a very Japanese school of buddhism also.