Feature Contributors Archives for 2024-01

Happy Groundhog Day!

The first official Groundhog Day in the United States took place February 2, 1887. Why February 2nd? The ancient Celts celebrated a pagan holiday called Imbolc marking the beginning of spring while Christians in the early days called this time Candlemas, the day that Jesus was celebrated with a feast due to his presentation at the temple in Jerusalem. Another consideration for this date is that February 2nd falls directly between the spring equinox and the winter solstice.

In any case, tradition says that if the groundhog or ground dwelling animal saw his shadow on that day, there would be 40 more days of winter. That is why we hope for an overcast or cloudy Groundhog Day to hasten the arrival of warm weather.

These facts are interesting, but the groundhog is not exactly accurate. His success rate in forecasting is about 50%. (On long term forecasts with our weatherman, the success rate is about 35%!)

Did you know that groundhogs, sometimes known as woodchucks, hibernate in the cold winter months normally starting in November? These wiry critters are ground dwellers and have a lifespan in the wild of about 3 years. They can make a whistle type sound with their incisors to warn other groundhogs of present danger. This ability has given rise to the nickname “whistle pig.”

Groundhogs breed in February or March having kits, also called pups or chucklings, in April and May. Groundhogs can climb trees and undermine foundations, not to speak of decimating garden vegetables. Farmers are not very happy when they see a groundhog because a ground pig can eat more than a pound of soybean plants per day. If you do the math that is a hefty loss of crop.   

If you have problems with groundhogs, give us a call for evaluation to develop a plan to control your wildlife problem. 

Column: Sports Illustrated is gone, but I'm still here weekly

Dear readers,

It’s been a tough week out here at Giant FM. Not so much for me, but both Jeff Brown and Johnny McCrory are sports guys. The news that Sports Illustrated died was tough on sports fans everywhere.

One of my loyal readers reported, that upon hearing the news, a well-known sports fan proclaimed, “They laid off all the writers at Sports Illustrated, but Meltzer is still publishing stories about ‘The Helbing’ weekly. It’s just another example of how life is not fair.”

I’ll agree, life is not fair. However, I’m actually more upset about the local Dairy Queen removing the “Curly the Clown” sign than the end of Sports Illustrated. To anyone paying attention, it couldn’t have been a big surprise that Sports Illustrated was coming to an end. There were hints. It was fading away just like what happened to the Bears of Blue River Festival.



When Shelbyville started the Bears of Blue River Festival, it lasted several months. Every day the festival began with a competition to see who could get their lawn chair set up in a prime spot to view the night’s entertainment.

Each night was different. Sometimes it was a “lip sync” competition. Sometimes it was a musical act straight from the Hullabaloo TV show. The highlight of each festival season was always an Elvis impersonator.

The Bears of Blue River Festival began to fade. Instead of lasting several months, it began to shrink in duration. Soon there were fewer and fewer lawn chairs. I stuck with it until the end. It was sad.

I remember the final day. It was just me and a few other diehards sitting in lawn chairs that needed new webbing. We were watching someone’s grandfather pretend to remove his thumb. The magic was over. 

Sports Illustrated was a weekly magazine for years. In 2018 it became biweekly. In 2020 it became monthly. In 2023 the swimsuit issue featured 81-year-old Martha Stewart on the cover pretending to remove her thumb. Just like the Bears of Blue River Festival, the magic was gone.

Sports Illustrated won’t be the last magazine to fail. Harper’s Weekly is gone, as is Field & Stream, Popular Science, and even Playboy.

Speaking of Playboy, Hugh Hefner’s last wife has just written a trashy “tell all” book about her years married to Hefner. The title of the book is “Only Say Good Things.”

It was Hefner’s request of her before he died. She of course ignores his request and dishes the dirt.

In the days of Playboy, it was always a joke for men to say that they bought the magazine for the articles. Playboy did feature articles and short stories by many famous writers including Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Norman Mailer, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, John Updike, Jack Kerouac and Steven King.

Showing that sometimes you can’t judge a magazine by its cover.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Column: Shelbyville, home of the giant stainless-steel thingamajig

Dear readers,

Shelbyville Common Council member Linda Sanders said out loud what everyone must have already been thinking. Shelbyville needs a new motto.

I wrote about it last week and Team Schwinn offered up a few suggestions. Sifting through this week’s mail, one thing is clear. No one wants to keep our old motto, “Pride in Progress.”

The most popular Team Schwinn suggestion was “Shelbyville, Home of the Giant Stainless-Steel Thingamajig!”

Coming in a close second was “Shelbyville, Gateway to Boggstown.”

I did notice that most of the readers who preferred it were from Boggstown. 

Kathy Bastin Kelley suggested “Shelbyville, Gateway to the Metal Thingamajig.”

Jeff Bate suggested “Home of the Eclipse” or “Eye of the Eclipse.”

One of my Rushville readers suggested, “Shelbyville, where Rushville Shops at Walmart.” 



I figured that most people voting for the “Giant Stainless-Steel Thingamajig” were probably joking. Then again, Greensburg is pulling tourists off the interstate with its tree growing out of the courthouse clock. Perhaps a series of billboards putting the idea in drivers’ minds could cause an irresistible urge to stop in Shelbyville to see “The Helbing.”

It seems to work for Buc-ee’s and it’s just a big gas station. 

Every town or city must have something going for it. Pittsfield, Maine, is home to the largest non-stick frying pan. Cawker City, Kansas, is home to the largest ball of yarn. Why not a giant stainless-steel thingamajig?

Some cities have a famous citizen to celebrate.

Greenfield has the poet, James Whitcomb Riley. Rushville has the 1940 presidential candidate Wendell Willkie. Fairmount, Indiana, has James Dean.

 Linton, Indiana, always had a very large sign proclaiming, “Linton, home of Phil Harris.” I haven’t driven through Linton lately, but if the sign is still there, I’m sure many people who see it have the same thought, “Who is Phil Harris?”

It didn’t get the most votes, but one reader thought our new motto should be “Shelbyville, Home of the Indiana Derby.”

Shelbyville is very fortunate to be the home of the only thoroughbred horse track in Indiana. The Indiana Derby is a major sporting event. It occurs annually making it an obvious choice to include a festival and parade to promote the event and the city. Indianapolis uses the Indy 500 and Louisville uses the Kentucky Derby to promote their cities.

Shelbyville should consider rebranding the city as “Home of the Indiana Derby.” The total eclipse of the sun also is a big event, but it only happens every 400 years and that’s a long time between parades.  

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: Japanese addiction to smartphones

Of course, it goes without saying that Japanese youth are no more addicted to their cellphones than any other young person in an industrialized country, but it does seem to be bordering on becoming a full-fledged epidemic in Japan.

The widespread use has gotten the attention of the government and schools which have them troubleshooting how to get ahead of the current trend before it becomes out of control completely.

The ease and convenience of smartphones have made them indispensable in our daily lives and their use has become so prevalent across all age groups and socio-economic levels that it seems to be an automatic response for people to pull out their smartphones to kill time when waiting in line at the post office, riding on a train (photo), or even when having dinner with family and friends.

Young and old alike have become entirely too dependent on their devices to the point that it is causing behavioral changes across all of society. Couples out on a date can be observed with their noses in their phones, texting furiously, when a live, actual person is sitting across the table from them. There is a fear that people will lose the ability to interact appropriately with other people in social or business situations. 

No doubt, the entire COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help the situation that began before the health-scourge occurred that made people isolate for long periods of time in often government-mandated quarantine scenarios. People got accustomed to not coming face-to-face with other people and this became the new normal. It has been difficult for people to get back to pre-pandemic levels of human interaction.



My colleagues and I were discussing how the class of kids that entered university after things normalized somewhat in Japan after the pandemic were the ones who spent two to three years in quarantine doing their lessons remotely. Part of going to school is the socialization aspect of interacting and negotiating with other kids and teachers throughout the day. 

These kids missed out on a hefty chunk of time to experience that aspect of their teenage life, and in many instances, it shows. Some of these kids seem more withdrawn and less motivated to try to interact in meaningful ways in the classroom or in club activities. I had a number of students who were being treated for mental health issues that resulted directly from being isolated so long during the pandemic.

Thankfully, it is slowly getting back to normal, but that initial period of time when the kids came out of isolation and were thrown directly back into social situations caused some to have difficulty interacting in a classroom situation, not being comfortable presenting orally or answering verbally in class, etc.

In Japan, like many other countries, issues related to pathological Internet use, such as self-imposed isolation, pornography addictions, a general Internet addiction and Internet use disorder, behavioral issues and a related issue I see in my students is an Internet gaming addiction or disorder that seems almost obsessive.

I read a research study (Tateno, et al) that stated that Internet use has been increasing year after year and today there are over 100 million Internet users in Japan. Each day, the actual time that people are using the Internet via their smartphones is increasing more and more. This widespread and increased use of a smartphone is leading to not only mental health issues, but also dietary issues regarding proper nutrition because Internet addicts tend to eat processed and quick, instant meals; often Internet addicts become sleep deprived (especially “gamers” who cannot stop playing, trying to reach that next high of achieving the next game level); which is related to academic failure in some cases because their obsession leaves little time for their studies. Smartphones allow for convenient and instant access anytime and anywhere, usually.

The research study I read indicated that smartphone addiction “is characterized by excessive and problematic smartphone use and clinical features of behavioral addiction [are affected by]: preoccupation, functional impairment, withdrawal and tolerance.” (Tateno, et al, 2019) The study surveyed 573 Japanese university students as respondents.

I guess I am sounding like a “boomer” complaining about the spread of these new-fangled devices that are ruining society as we know it. It is important to note that the invention of the radio and then TV, and the widespread use of those “new technologies” amongst the citizenry, predicted similar dire and gloomy effects on society and humanity at large, so will smartphone Internet use eventually balance out and people will just absorb it and adapt it into their own psyche? Will the hype surrounding the pervasive use of smart devices just be accepted and become normalized? Has it already?

Only time will tell, of course, but enough research is being done currently to raise alarm bells amongst government agencies in charge of such things.

Online bullying is a real issue in Japan, too, like elsewhere.  Students (and professionals) can hide behind anonymity to lash out and harangue others online or on social media sites. It can especially be detrimental to younger people who place so much value and emphasis on their social standing in a group, and to be ostracized or ganged up on in such a group can have severe mental and emotional repercussions on a young brain that is still developing and one which has a difficult time separating short-term/long-term issues from what is essentially important and what really doesn’t matter.

During official meetings I notice my colleagues checking their phones incessantly. The tell-tale vibration means someone has reached out to them, or commented on something they are following. This becomes very distracting not only to the person who should be paying attention to the agenda at the meeting, but to those around him/her who hear the same vibrating noise and briefly focus their attention on that which is happening in real time instead of what is being discussed at the meeting.

I sometimes forget my smartphone when I leave the house, which is nearly impossible for some people to fathom because having one’s cellphone with them is almost as important as it once was for a person with false teeth to put their teeth in before leaving the house. I came to the whole smartphone craze late, opting to use a flip phone for as long as possible.

Now that I have a smartphone, though, I can’t imagine living without it. I try to stay cognizant of people I am with not to be distracted by the phone when I am with other people, but the potential for addiction is real. However, the convenience and ease of having the world at your fingertips is also a valid reason for getting with the program and entering the 21st century feet first. 

The idea for this column came from my experience of riding trains here in Japan and noticing that 98% of passengers sit down (or stand) while flipping through their phones or watching YouTube or TikTok using headphones. In Japan, it isn’t polite to chat on trains with other people, so smartphones allow people to occupy themselves for the duration of their journey which doesn’t bother those around them. It is an automatic response, I have noticed, for people to sit down and pull out their phone.

I guess it is a bit hypocritical of me to be writing about the evils of having instant access to everything via a smartphone considering most of you who are reading this article at this moment are likely using your smartphone to do so! And there lies the crux of the argument, I suppose.

Does one sacrifice the ease and convenience of having access to everything and everyone via an electronic device or take the risk of it becoming an obsessive-compulsive disorder? Balance and self-discipline are the keys to navigating the 21st century in a healthy and time-efficient manner.

Note: Reference cited: Tateno, et al (2019) “Smartphone addiction in Japanese College Students:  Usefulness of the Japanese Version of the Smartphone Addiction Scale as a Screening Tool for a New Form of Internet Addiction” published by PubMed Central.

In Search of the Rogue Rat

I know that the title sounds like a movie title, but it is far from fiction. In our area, rogue rats are normally of the species Norway rat. If a Norway rat has found its way into your home, this invader rat can wreak havoc.

  • If you have ever found a sack of bread with a large hole in it or chew marks on door casings or doors, you might just have an “Alpha” or “Rogue” rat living in the house. 
  • If candy mysteriously disappears from a candy dish or your pet’s food that is left out mysteriously disappears, a rat may be the culprit. 
  • If one finds items moved or knocked over around the house, it does not mean that ghosts have inhabited your home; however, a rat may have.   

Rogue rats can appear out of nowhere affecting differing environments from houses that are cluttered to those that are spic and span, from mansions to apartments, and from cities to rural areas. All rats need is a source of food, water, and shelter.

Rats are smart. Their intelligence level is very high compared to many other types of wildlife.  Rats can solve problems quickly and adapt to difficult living conditions making them difficult to trap. If a rat has ever been caught and escapes the trap, there is very little chance that the rat will ever come close to a trap again. 

The same goes for baiting for rats. If a rat consumes bait but does not ingest a lethal dose, there is very little chance that the rat will ever touch that bait again.  When dealing with rats in general, it is a good idea to get professional help. Give us a call if you need help or have questions.

Column: Shelbyville, Shoes Optional

Dear readers,

New Shelbyville Common Council member Linda Sanders has suggested rebranding the city with a new motto to replace “Pride in Progress.” Mayor Scott Furgeson likes the idea and so do I.

I wasted no time in calling a special meeting of Team Schwinn to come up with some ideas. While rebranding might seem silly to some, history has shown it can make a huge difference to a city especially when it comes to tourism.

Almost everyone knows the motto of some American cities. New York is “The Big Apple.” 

New Orleans is “The Big Easy.” 

Chicago is “The Windy City.”

Cleveland, Ohio, for years had the motto, “The Mistake on the Lake.”  Changing it to “Cleveland Rocks!” brought the city fame, fortune, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Las Vegas, Nevada, increased its tourism and attracted several professional sports teams when the city changed the motto from, “Where the Mob Buries the Bodies” to “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”



Closer to home, Greensburg, Indiana, has been pulling hundreds of tourists off Interstate 74 to see their famous courthouse tree with the now famous “Tree City” brand.

Since Shelbyville is named to honor the first governor of the State of Kentucky, I told the team that a Kentucky theme might be a nice touch. Our sister city, Shelbyville, Kentucky’s motto is “The Gateway to the Bluegrass.”

We had a couple of jugs of eggnog left over from our Christmas party. After the team members turned in their suggestions, I suspected some may have had a little too much eggnog. So be warned, some of the suggestions might be the eggnog talking.

Without any additional introduction, here are the top 10 suggestions for Shelbyville’s new motto:

  1. Shelbyville: There’s No Tree in our Courthouse, but we have 10% fewer Hillbillies than Greensburg.
  3. Shelbyville, Former Home of the Famous Bears of Blue River Festival
  5. Shelbyville: Don’t Blame Us, It Was This Way When We Arrived.
  6. Shelbyville: Home of the Giant Stainless-Steel Thingamajig!
  8. Shelbyville, Home of the Do It Yourself Walking Tour, Available 24/7
  9. Shelbyville, We’re Not Called Shelbytucky for Nothin!
  10. Shelbyville, Gateway to Boggstown

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.


Column: Look, it's my first totally awesome column of 2024

Dear readers,

Wow, it’s a brand-new year.

Like typing teacher Terry Markland always said, “practice makes perfect.” Take out a fresh sheet of paper and sharpen your No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil. Now practice writing the words Mayor Scott Furgeson and the number 2024.  

You can thank me later. I know my readers and most of you haven’t yet gotten used to saying King Charles the third and Queen Elizabeth died in 2022. Some of you were still dating your checks 2022 a couple of months ago. By practicing now, hopefully you won’t have to void every other check you write this year, and you will remember it is now Mayor Furgeson not Mayor DeBaun.

Speaking of former Mayor Tom DeBaun, that brings us to my first reader letter of 2024.



Dear Kris,

I saw where Mayor Tom DeBaun gave Mitch Brown, also known as rapper “Kid Quill” the “Key to the City.” Mayor DeBaun said the purpose of bestowing the honor on Kid Quill was to support local artists and recognize something or other. Maybe it was “artistic expression” or maybe “authentic expression,” whatever.

Upon receiving the key, Mr. Quill said he is proud to show local kids that it’s possible to do anything you want to do, provided it’s being a rapper.

Kris, just like Kid Quill, you graduated from Shelbyville High School. For more years than the Kid’s been rapping, you have been showing local kids that it’s possible to write a cheesy weekly column. I’m sure more local kids want to follow in Mr. Quill’s footsteps than yours. Just the same, aren’t you disappointed that Mayor DeBaun didn’t give you the key to the city? With little effort, DeBaun could have made a second key on the machine at Walmart.

Also, I was also wondering if in 2024 we can look forward to you joining Johnny McCrory on his morning radio show.


Wondering in Walkerville,

Dear Wondering,

There is a perfectly good reason why Mayor DeBaun didn’t give me the Key to the City and it’s not because he isn’t a fan of my column. Mayor DeBaun is not only a long-time reader of my column, but for many years he was a member of the “View From My Schwinn Precision Drill Team.”

You were probably too busy watching the lovely Schwinnettes, Hope and Heather Norris, to notice Tom. I’m hoping, now that he has retired from being mayor, he will have time to help get the drill team “parade ready again.” I’m afraid we along with our bikes have gotten a little rusty. It has been several years since we peddled together in a parade.

No, Tom didn’t give me the key to the city for purely practical reasons.  If you noticed, the only other person he gave the key to during his 12 years of being mayor was Gilbert Gottfried. At first blush, it might not be obvious what Mr. Gottfried and Mr. Quill have in common. It is that they were both leaving town. Mr. Gottfried was headed back home to New York and Mr. Quill is on his way to Australia.

The reason only people leaving are given the Key to the City is strictly practical and fiscally responsible. Since the recipient is leaving, the city doesn’t have to go to the expense of changing the locks. 

As to the possibility of me appearing in Johnny’s morning show, it’s a definite maybe. 

Today’s photograph is from a column published April 1 during one of the years when DeBaun was mayor, and the Public Square was under construction. 

Congratulations to Kid Quill on his successful tour of the U.K. I’ll try to interview him on his return from Australia.    

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: Japanese Tea Ceremony culture

In November, I had an opportunity to attend a traditional tea ceremony (sadou— “the way of tea”) in my prefecture. It was sponsored by the National Museum of Kyushu and was performed in a beautifully appointed tea house that the museum maintains on its property.

This particular tea ceremony’s grouping of people was organized by a friend who works at the museum, and our particular event catered to foreign tea enthusiasts who wanted to have this unique opportunity to attend a tea ceremony at the museum. I was trying to remember, but I think it had been more than 20 years since I had last attended a tea ceremony so I was long overdue to experience again this very cultural, educational, artistic, and ceremonial event.

Historically, green tea was first introduced to Japan during the 8th century from China. It was mostly reserved as a beverage for the priestly and upper classes and was widely regarded as medicinal.  However, during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573) it became popular among the citizenry in all socio-economic classes.

The wealthier class continued to maintain a certain air of sophistication around tea where they would hold tea parties as a way to display the lovely ceramics and pottery that is associated with drinking traditional tea in Japan. 

It was also during the Muromachi Period that the simplistic, more spiritual concept of tea drinking inspired by Zen-Buddhism became more commonplace. The tea ceremony I enjoyed at the museum was done in this style, called “omotesenke.”



The father of the modern “way of tea” was Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) and he promoted a style that emphasized simplicity and even austereness in how the tea is served, following a prescribed and formal process and procedure that is beautiful in its solemnity and exquisite in its presentation.



The tea ceremony itself is sacred in that it is a moment in time that cannot be repeated exactly as it was ever again with the same people, same atmosphere, etc. The tea ceremony takes place in a traditional tatami (straw mat) room and the room usually has wall dividers called fusuma that can enlarge the room for more people, or make it smaller for a more intimate gathering of just a few people.

The room always features a tokonoma, which is an alcove where a traditional calligraphy scroll is hung in view of the guests to admire and enjoy while in the room. This scroll can be changed out for each season which adds to the uniqueness that each ceremony offers, making it distinctive and special in its own right. Oftentimes, seasonal flowers are displayed in the tokonoma in a traditional ceramic vase.



Initially, the guests gather in an outer chamber to wait for the tea ceremony to begin. One guest is designated as the “head guest” who will lead the others into the tatami room where the ceremony takes place. Upon entering, the head guest bows and then sits closest to the alcove and the other guests file in and take a seat on the floor in a line beside the head guest.

Traditionally, guests are expected to sit seiza (on one’s knees) which can be difficult for the uninitiated. Thankfully, in modern times much flexibility is allowed to guests who participate usually, and a more relaxed position is tolerated where one can sit cross-legged or with one’s legs off to the side. Sometimes chairs are offered to those who, for physical reasons, cannot sit on the floor with ease or in comfort.



For each ceremony, great care is taken to select the right tea, the perfect sweets to accompany the tea, and the appropriate tea bowl that the tea is served in. The ceremony I attended was in the autumn so everything had an autumn feel to it — the coloring of the sweets, the flowers, the scroll — all adding to and enhancing the entire atmosphere of the tea room.

First, guests are served the traditional Japanese sweet and it is expected that it be eaten before the tea is served. It acts as sort of a palate cleanser and compliments the tea itself; hence why great care is taken by the host to select the perfect sweet and tea for the occasion.



When served the tea, it is placed in front of the guest on the tatami flooring and the server and guest exchange deep bows. It is customary to pick up the tea bowl in your right hand and then place it in your left hand, and with the right hand turn the bowl clockwise by one turn. This is so the front of the tea bowl is no longer facing you, the guest, but is now facing outward. The guest then takes several sips before placing it back down on the tatami mat, where the guest then bows again and expresses gratitude for receiving the tea.

We were instructed before arriving not to wear any fragrance or cologne as the incense in the brazier where the water for the tea is heated is specifically chosen and any additional scents would interfere with the aroma of the incense wafting from below the kettle in the brazier. We were also told not to wear any jewelry that might clang against the ceramics while being served the tea which would be distracting but could also damage or chip the porcelain the tea is served in.

Additionally, we were asked to wear white socks on our feet during the ceremony. We were able to change our stockings in the ante-chamber before the ceremony began. Normally, it is appropriate to dress modestly, but casually and neatly, to attend a tea ceremony

It is customary after being served the tea initially to reflect upon the experience and to pick up the tea bowl and admire its delicate and special attributes. Once finished it is appropriate to turn the bowl so the front is facing the host and gently set it down on the tatami flooring.



Once the host or tea master has served the guests and no guest wants a second bowl of tea, the host then wipes clean the tea bowl and rearranges the utensils. This indicates the tea ceremony is concluded.  In our case, one of the women serving the tea then allowed us to come in close to observe the tea utensils and the bowl for a more detailed explanation about the tools that were used, as well as an explanation of the type of tea served, and the various utensils that were painstakingly selected for our ceremony.

Because the tea house had beautiful gardens to peruse, we all went outside and looked at the lovely landscaping which was accentuated by the beautiful autumn foliage. Often, a traditional tea house will have an authentic and traditional Japanese garden available for the guests to stroll around in and admire.

The primary purpose of the garden is to set the scene for the tea ceremony by offering a calming, relaxing, and tranquil space for guests to enjoy. Depending on the season, flowers are often included in the garden but they should not be too bright or have a strong fragrance which would detract from the tea ceremony itself.



I especially appreciated the stone basins and lanterns that were featured in the garden. Traditionally, the basin would be used by guests to rinse their hands before entering the tea house. Also, tea houses traditionally feature a very short door through which guests enter by getting on their hands and knees to pass through. This is to symbolize that all who enter the tea house are at the same level and height as the others, making everyone equal in stature. 

I have made a solemn promise to myself not to wait another twenty years to attend my next tea ceremony!

In fact, I may make an effort to attend at least one yearly because there are few things that are as quintessentially Japanese as the tea ceremony so I should try to experience it as often as I can since I live here.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.