Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cheap is good...but seawater beer? I have not tasted this, but how unusual!

"The craze for a cheap beer made out of sea water and raw malt has Japan's brewing industry hopping mad. Japan's biggest brewer Asahi said it was seeing a continuing slide in sales as more and more Japanese turned to the drink called happoshu. Asahi makes Japan's best-selling beer but in the past three months the company's operating profit has fallen more than 20%. The popularity of happoshu is hurting the sales of all Japan's big brewers. Asahi is trying to cash in on the craze by offering its own happoshu beers. And the government is flirting with the idea of a new happoshu tax to help the established brewers. According to one columnist at the Japanese website - Captain Japan - the only thing the success of happoshu proves, is that if a drink is cheap enough, it will sell, even if it tastes like medicine."

Special Thanks to Victoria Broadbent BBC World Business Report

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday! I went on a retreat "It's About Time" at Enchanted Hills in Napa. The first days I've taken just for myself since I returned from Africa in February. Some friends organized this and invited friends and friends of... so it was a close knit group, and the program was developed by a core group.

It was on 300+ acres on the side of a mountain in Napa Valley, where cell phones and the like did not work. I took the photo on the left just outside the Dining Hall. There was beauty all over. There were a lot of periods for meditation, and we all were asked to put our timepieces, cell phones, PDAs, etc. into a bag which was locked up for the entire weekend. The only clues we had for time were the sunrise & sunset, and the ring of Tibetian Bells for mealtimes and some gatherings.

At the end, we had a completion gathering, and we shared what we would take/leave on the mountain. A number of our group said to me after how inspiring my words were, and I've received a couple e-mail at home afterwards asking me to recreate what I said in writing. I will do that here.

"Lenny shared with the completion circle that he would no longer abandon his friends. Those words shot across the circle and went straight into my heart and I was stunned with the thought that I had abandoned myself. I realized that throughout the weekend I had silently thought, or verbally commented any number of times how I 'used to do' something, like knitting, singing, running... and I knew that I had been leaving pieces of my true self, those things that set me apart and made up my authentic self - those things most valuable, along the way of my life, continuing along the path without them. Those things most joyful and those playful things that make life whole and abundant were just lying there behind me. Things that I had been passionate about. I will not leave those behind any more, and what I will take back with me from the mountain is my whole self, not just that efficient, "lean, mean, time-machine". I will pick up those pieces and be whole again as I leave, my best authentic self returning to the everyday world."

My friends understood that I didn't mean I was taking off to suddenly become an opera singer or the like, but that there were things that were worth keeping integrated into myself and enjoying doing what was suitable for now, of all those past interests and passions. Seems that it touched a chord in many.

It was a magical weekend. And a very inspiring and open group of people.

Enchanted Hills

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Yes friends, I've not been blogging for awhile. This month found me catching two viruses, and it was all I could do to keep up with day to day stuff. If I get around to it I might backfill some from here...

Started the day with a brunch with Jo-Ann & Michael. We wound up checking out the AlphaDog store in Mill Valley -- $32 for a designer doggie t-shirt- wow. Ended up distracted in the wonderous Mill Valley Market found some interesting stuff... Picked up some Acai fruit and buffalo meatloaf to try.

As Michael & Jo-Ann left, I ran out the door to meet Sachiko as we decided to have some dinner at "Fish" in Sausalito. Sachiko found that "Fish" had closed for rennovations, so I suggested we go to Christophe's since she hadn't been yet. That was a hit, and we had a nice meal. We went to Cafe Trieste after that for coffee, and ended up meeting a writer (in the style of Alvin Toffler) and sailboat racer, Michael, who plyed us with lots of good zin. Told us to resist him strongly if he asked us to take him home, and said "I'm serious". Hmmm....

Needless to say, we each went home alone after enjoying the zin and "The San Francisco Medicine Ball Band". Michael suggested we could catch him most mornings at the same Cafe Trieste.