By Diane Ako
Portland in the fall is gorgeous. This is my first visit to Portland - Oregon, actually - and I love it. PDX, as the locals refer to it, is a wonderful mix of eccentric and artsy, homespun yet trendy. It's a great place for foodies.
I'm here to shoot a documentary on Japanese tea ceremony with my friend and former coworker Tim McRobert, now living in Portland. The documentary, "Chado: The way of tea in Oregon," has been offered to Portland PBS.
We shot the on camera scenes in the Portland Japanese Garden, five and a half acres of pure tranquility in the west hills of the city. It's been called one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.
There are five gardens, and we shot inside the Strolling Pond Garden. In feudal Japan, strolling gardens were recreational sites for the wealthy and attached to estates of aristocrats. This week, it was the scene for our half hour show. I'm not sure when the show will be complete, but I'll update you. Tim hopes to get it done this year.
Funny story: the garden in the early morning is crawling with photographers, both amateur and professional. I didn't realize this at first, having woken up early and still being a little jet lagged. There was a man with a still camera on a tripod, setting up right near us. I assumed he was with Tim's crew.
I started taking photos of the scene while Tim and his assistant were setting up. I got this man in the shot. He turned and took it in stride, smiling at me. I continued snapping photos with the man in them. He introduced himself as Bob. I started asking him what role he plays in this shoot. He said he had no idea what I was talking about!
When we broke for lunch, we were able to meet with a mutual friend from Hawaii, Butch, living and working at Nike. Tim doesn't know Portland that well, so we got very, very lost. A 15 minute drive took an hour. I will never forget the comedy of errors that was us stopping for directions, looking at the iPhone map, and calling Butch five times for attempts at directions.
This has been a nice chance to see old friends while also getting to work on a really cool project!
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