2012/07/30

Tea and Food culture

Japan is a green tea country. However, its consumption has decreased while that of black and oolong teas has been increasing. The change of eating habits could be one of the reasons.

Speaking of Japanese food, you may think of sushi, sashimi and vegetables stuff, which are considered healthy food that brings out the taste of the ingredients. But that’s not always the case at table in Japan now. Rather than those, our diet including home-cooked meals are more westernized. More meaty, oily, cheesy and oily….In that case, the fermented tea such as black and oolong teas go better with since the teas clean richness in one’s mouth. Of course, green tea is a must, but we have more and we will.




2012/07/20

"Fizzy" Trend

The new trend in bottled beverage is “fizzy drink” in Japan. Orange-flavored fizzy drink has been introduced from France, and lemon-flavored one was just joined into the Japanese market. Soon, coffee-flavored and tea-flavored ones will be on the market.

Why fizzy drink this summer? Recently, the media talk about fizzy water a lot, saying that it helps lose weight, making you feel full with a small amount of food. Also it is good for your digestion so it would be good for your skin, too. Those “effects” might attract a lot of customers.

There is another reason behind this trend. It is “energy saving” that Japan is facing this summer. Since 3.11, the most of nuclear reactors have stopped after those regular inspections and we are trying not to waste our energy including air conditioners.
The beverage companies believe fizzy drinks give us more refreshed feeling than the other drink to overcome this heat and we want it. The business competition over the drink is heating up!

2012/07/12

Summer Tea -Mugicha-


When summer comes, a tea known as “mugicha” becomes a staple in Japan. That is a roasted barley tea, not made from camellia sinensis. So, you may say this is tea-like tea, not tea-tea. But whatever you might say, it is considered to be a must as a cooling summer tea. 
Mugicha


Thanks to caffeine-free, men and women of all ages gulp their “mugicha” to overcome scorching heat!


2012/07/09

Means a lot –Morning Tea-

My morning ritual is drinking tea. I choose tea from my 'tea box' according to the mood of the moment. 

Tea makes me feel better in the morning. But, morning tea seems to be more than that. It could bring happiness and drive away problems you may suffer. Why do I say that? Because there are some proverbs about Asacha (morning tea) in Japan.

*Asacha wa Shichiri Kaettedemo Nome
You should drink morning tea even if it is a long return trip. The tea protects you from problems.
* Asacha wa Fuku ga Masu
 Morning tea increases your happiness

*Asacha wa Sonohi no Nannogare
 Morning tea wards off accidents.


Tea leaf (Izumi variety)  -photo by tomo-

It’s only morning tea, but it is morning tea, after all. Morning tea means a lot to us!



2012/07/03

Tanabata -Star Festival-

July 7th is Japanese star festival known as Tanabata (lit: the seven evening), which celebrates the meeting of the star Vega and Altair. Legend says that these lovers are allowed to see each other only once a year on July 7th, separated by Milky Way except  that day.

Nowadays, we usually celebrate the day by writing wishes on small pieces of paper and hanging them on bamboo branches. Vega was believed to be good at weaving and people would think that “I want to be as good at weaving or so as Vega.” or “I wish I were as good as her.” So, the bamboo filled in peoples’ wishes are displayed in hopes that their wishes reach to Vega in the sky.

In my area, the bamboos with colorful papers are displayed here and there. I wonder what people are wishing to the star. My wish is….let me think about while enjoying teatime. 
Tanabata decolation at the local sweets shop -photo by tomo-


- traditional Tanabata song-
"The bamboo leaves rustle,shaking away in the eaves.
The stars twinkle on the gold and silver grains of sand.
The five-colour paper stripsI have already written.
The stars twinkle, they watch us from heaven."
                                 translation: -Wikipedia-