Small Talk

Chado: The way of tea in Oregon

October 29th, 2010

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.

Tim McRobert and me

Tim McRobert and me

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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4 Responses to “Chado: The way of tea in Oregon”

  1. BVD:

    PDX is home to thousands of Hawaii islanders like myself. Many of its universities are attended by Hawaii students and have active Hawaiian clubs. Some of the students call PDX home and have established roots and businesses. One such business is Cafe Hibiscus ( which is a Swiss restaurant with an island flare in NE Portland (Alberta). The owner, Jennie Wyss, is a Punahou graduate who attended University of Portland. Jennie's parents, Jeanie and Martin Wyss, were the owners of the Swiss Inn in Aina Haina.

    PDX is beautiful with it's firery reds and yellowish-orange leaves in the fall. And during the spring and summer, PDX is even more beautiful with green mountain landscapes, colorful summer flowers, and home of a variety of roses. Thus, the term given to this emerald landscape called the "City of Roses."

    Not only is PDX known for its arts, culture, and food carts, it is also boasts the most coffee shops, micro-breweries, and a wine country. It produces one of the best Pinot Noirs and Shirazs.

    Look forward to reading more of your informative and interesting blogs, Diane!! You do EXCELLENT work. And thank you for visiting PDX and hope you visit again soon.

  2. David In Oregon:

    D'oh!! I just visited your personal site, and commented there. I'm glad you got to visit, and liked the place.

    Imua and Aloha from across the seas.

  3. galekaminari:

    Hi, Diane! How did I miss this post??? I LOVE that Garden you are in!!! I want to live in that garden 24/7! It is sooo gorgeous! Thank you sooo much for sharing! Good luck with your project! I cannot wait to see it!

  4. zzzzzz:

    If your daughter is with you, make sure to take the little train in the same park as the Japanese Garden.

    There's a good zoo in Portland too.

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