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SETI, Bethesda dining, hana chabako

On Friday afternoon I attended a colloquium with Jill Tarter taking about SETI. Of course, it was fascinating, and an hour seemed like not nearly enough time. Hearing how new technologies are making the SETI Institute's sky searches smarter and more affordable is heartening—maybe technology will solve all human problems. Just don't look at the speaker's super-cheezy powerpoint slides.

Friday evening: dc-linuxchix meeting at Passage to India in Bethesda. We had some new attendees, making this the highest-attendance meeting in our history at eight people. I ended up being late because I hadn't planned on spending half an hour to find a parking space. It was nuts, in a way that I'm sure it is must be every Friday evening. So now I know. One of the new 'chix related a few anecdotes from a business trip to Japan. She said they have soft-serve green tea ice cream on almost every corner! ::sigh:: A couple of the new 'chix were brought along by a friend, and they insisted they didn't qualify as linuxchix, but they do use other open-source software, so they qualify in my book.

This morning: tea lesson, wherein I reviewed the obon temae I've been learning. I've really made progress in folding the fukusa; whereas at the beginning I despaired of ever remembering the procedures; now they're almost natural. A sempai performed a 'flower' (hana) type of chabako temae (so named because it would be performed in the spring, during flower viewing season), which I'd never seen before. In that form, the half-height natsume is stored in a fabric drawstring bag that sits in the tea bowl, itself stored in a larger drawstring bag (shifuku). Handling these bags looks, well, frustrating to learn.

The snapshots from last weekend's kimono dressing workshop were on hand. We didn't look half bad! Katsu-san had ended up wearing her kimono to an event that evening; it seemed like a shame to undo the hard work that had gone into dressing. I took home a couple of the photos, but without a scanner to convert them to ones and zeroes, I can't post 'em online. Ah well, they're pretty low fidelity snapshots anyway. I'll get much better pictures at the Japan Club New Year's Party.

Remember how I wrote a thank-you note in Japanese to the sempai (more advanced classmate) of mine who gave me the kimono undergarments? Well, it turns out I'm really bad with names. I'd thought she was someone else and addressed the note to a different tea student, one who must have been really confused by receiving a poorly-written thank-you note for something she didn't give to anyone. I haven't actually heard from either the real giver (who attends the same tea lessons I do) or the addressee, it's just that I know people's names a little better now. And wow, am I embarrassed. I guess the thing to do is re-write the note (thank goodness I saved my working draft!) and send it belatedly. Maybe she'll figure I spent all these weeks figuring out the right kanji to use. :)