Japanese Tea Ceremony

I had the pleasure of experiencing a traditional Japanese tea ceremony a few weeks ago at Vancouver’s Nitobe Memorial Garden. The ceremony took place at a tea house located in the garden called Ichobo-an.

01“Ichibo” in Japanese means “one view”. Whereas the experience of the garden was meant to symbolize a journey through life from birth to death, the tea house offers a perfect view of the garden – a view of the journey of life from birth through death! Here’s what the view looks like from Ichobo-an.


 We got to the ceremony relatively late, so we ended up getting a terrific view of the back of the tea master’s head.


Everything in the ceremony had a symbolic meaning, from the decorations of the interiors to the tools and cups to the gestures of the tea master and the participants. There was a very particular way that you had to turn the tea cup before slurping the tea.


The Japanese ladies serving the tea were very sweet.

04Here’s a look at a couple of other participants at the tea ceremony.

03Lastly, when in Rome… here are some drawings done at the Nitobe Garden.

03 04 05

Well, that wraps it up for the Haikucomics related blog posts! I hope that the blog posts have increased your appreciation for the comics, and vice versa. It definitely was enjoyable for me making them. 🙂

Haiku + Comics = Haikucomics!

After taking a crash course in the art of haiku poetry, it was then time to try to make my own haiku poem! I took myself to Vancouver’s Nitobe Japanese Garden for inspiration. One of the things I like best about this place is how it looks so vastly different during different seasons of the year. This makes the garden the perfect place to compose a haiku poem, which typically includes a seasonal theme.

Leafs mostly green

Reflected in the pond…

Hmm… it appears that seven words into my poetry career, I have encountered my first writer’s block. Submerged in deep thoughts, I was unpleasantly disturbed by loud noises of children laughing and hollering. A lady was walking by with her two boys of roughly four and five as the kids shouted excitedly at the sight of the koi fish in the pond: “Owange, mommy, look – owange!” Orange? Yes, that’s it! Orange! What genius!

Leafs mostly green

Reflected in the pond –

And orange fish!

And there it was, my first haiku poem! A little off on the syllable count, but I think I represented the haiku spirit pretty well for a first timer, and that’s what’s important! Now that I have composed my first haiku poem, it’s time to start translating haiku into comics.


For starters, here are some thumbnails that represent the attempt to translate the 5-7-5 haiku rhythm and the “cut” that happens at the fifth or twelfth syllable into the language of comics (refer here for a quick refresher):

Using these thumbnails, I went to work at the Japanese Garden as I tried to translate the haiku I composed earlier into comics, with pictures and words:

Viola – “Haikucomics!” And here’s one more:

At this point I felt almost ready to begin work on A Beloved Wife, a Bird, a White Bow. Stay tuned to find out what happened next!

A Relaxing Afternoon at Vancouver’s Japanese Garden

Happy Labour Day weekend! I have worked very hard this summer and was looking forward to enjoying some time off. It’s a perfect opportunity to visit Vancouver’s Nitobe Memorial Garden. What a gorgeous day it was and the sun was hitting the garden in the most marvellous of ways. I pulled out some watercolour and crayons, and spent most of the afternoon asking myself: what would Wolf Kahn do? Check out some of the paintings and drawings from today:

What I like most about this garden is how the views change from season to season. I visited the Nitobe Garden frequently earlier this year, working on a comic short. Think of this blog entry as a preview, because this new comic is about to be featured on Urban-FairyTales.com soon!

Drawing Day at Central Library

Yesterday my friend Don and I hit Vancouver’s Central Library for an afternoon of drawing. The weather was gloomy, considering it’s already the end of July, but we were just glad it wasn’t raining.

The Central Library has always been one of a handful of things that makes me glad to be living in the city of Vancouver. Both the uniqueness of the architecture and the constant healthy flow of people make it a very fun place to draw. Also, if you’re into taking pictures, you’re sure have a field day here!

Bonus: here’s one of the drawings I did at the library last year –