The year 2011 will be over soon. There are too many natural disasters, revolutions and problems in the world this year. For Japanese, 311 was a turning point to re-think about our lives. What is the life? What is the happiness? What should we do now for the future generations?

At the same time, we really re-realize the importance on "Kizuna (humans ties/bonds)". People have supported each other. People from the world have helped and cheered us. I really appreciate all of your supports for Japan. "Kizuna" in the world have helped people.

Hope 2012 will be a peaceful and happy year. I wish all of you a Happy New Year.


Tea Movie

A movie featured a tea farmer in Oita (the southern part of Japan) will be released on March, 2012. This movie tells the story of a young lady struggles with organic tea farming.

Since the situation of Japanese agricultural industry is really severe, people had been away from working for the primary industries and have persuaded more technology. But, recently, I feel more people have come to realized the importance of agriculture.

Hope this can be a cheering movie not only for Japanese tea farming but overall agriculture.

ad for the film


Gargle with Tea

Have you gargled with tea? Some do in Japan. We believe that tea, especially Japanese green tea, helps prevent from catching a cold. It is reasonable because the tea has a lot of catechin, which has the effect of killing bacteria.

Some schools especially at the tea-production areas encourage their students to gargle with tea during winter. Between classes, after PE class, before school lunch…..the all students gurgle with tea. According to those schools, fewer students catch a cold since they have introduced this system.

Coarse tea has more catechin than high-quality tea. Even tasteless tea made from used tea leaves has enough catechin to work for killing bacteria. Why don’t you try?


Christmasy Japanese Wagashi

In Japan, we enjoy Christmas; it is mostly as a part of commercialized event. During the severe cold season, the homey atmosphere makes us feel warm and happy. Illumination and Christmasy goods are everywhere. People spend money not only for the present but for Christmas fancy cakes.

Recently, even Christmassy Wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) can be seen. Wagashi is traditionally served with Matcha at tea ceremony, especially the types made of mochi(sticky rice), azuki bean paste, and fruits, so originally it is far from Christmasy sweets. Yet, what is the  Japanese confectionery’s principle?  it is to place an importance on “season”.

Now December is associated with Christmas even among Japanese. So, why not?


Christmas Ornament from Tohoku Granma

Our lives, especially those for people in Tohoku area, have completely changed since March 11, 2011. Survivors have still been having hard time physically and mentally. Many lost their jobs, which don’t mean they just lost their bread and butter. They lost their hopes.

Now, the new project has set up for women in the devastated area in hopes that they can regain their daily lives and hopes for the future. It is called Christmas Ornament from Tohoku Granma.

Those ornaments are made of organic cotton one by one by the affectionate and solid women’s hands, giving us warm feeling and the strength to go on living.

I wish you all Happy and Peaceful Christmas!

*Granma Project: http://grandmaproject.jp/  (Sorry, only Japanese!)


Tea Stations

Because of move and change of Internet provider, my PC didn’t work for a while. Still busy in moving, I haven’t fully ready yet, but I am back again. Anyway…..

Pet bottled drinks are really popular in Japan, yet more people start to carry “My Bottles (their own thermal tea bottles)” now. Especially, among young “My Bottle” people, “tea stations” have been paid attention. People can get freshly brewed-tea such as Sencha, Hojicha, Wakocha (Japanese black tea) at the reasonable price at some tea shops and cafes. (as of Dec 2011, about 180 tea shops and 40 cafes offer this service)

Why the tea stations are are getting popular?

There are several reasons; Less expensive than buying Pet bottled drinks: people can get warm drinks anytime even this cold winter time: eco-friendly because bottles can be used again and again.

Recently, the sales of Japanese tea leaf have been declined especially among young people. This tea station system could help the future of Japanese tea industry.

Kamairicha made by Mr Kajihara in Kumamoto

Japan usually has a lot of rain this time of year. We need it to some extent. However, the situations are getting much worse, much more ext...