2012/12/31

Thank you 2012

Sado (Japanese traditional tea ceremony) is deeply influenced by Zen spirit. In order to learn its spirit, there are many expressions known as “zengo”.

This is the one of them:
 
            * 日日是好日(nichi-nichi-kore-kou-nichi)
 
It refers to “Even if it is a sunny day, rainy day, happy day and even bitter day, every single day is the best day of your life.” In other words, no matter what happens, we should appreciate what I’m here and spending precious life now.
 
Hope every single day in 2013 will be the best day of your life too.

"Yoi-Otoshi-wo" (Have a good year!)
 

- Every day is beautiful - tomo

2012/12/26

Festive Tea -Obukucha-

2013 is just around the corner. Do you have special tea for the new year?

In Kyoto, “Obuku-cha” is a new year’s tea. Technically, it is not made from Camellia Sinesis, though.

It is a drink with umeboshi (pickled plum) and kombu (sea vegetable) in it. Because we believe that umeboshi protects us from evil and illness. Kombu is a symbol of happiness.

There are various views about the origin of the name. This is one of them. In 951, an epidemic raged and a lot of people suffered. At that time, a Japanese priest, KUYA gave a tea with a pickled plum to the people. Finally, it was waning. The Emperor then heard about it, having the tea later on. Since the Emperor had the tea, it came to be called “Obuku-cha”, which means “the tea drunk by the Emperor”. Nowadays, we call the same, but use different Kanji character, which literally means “large happiness”.

Hope 2013 will be filled with happiness!
 
Obukucha with umeboshi, kombu and powdered gold  -photo by T-
 

2012/12/20

Niroku's Tea

As you may know, Japan produces black tea. But not only that. Some farmers have started to produce Japanese oolong tea, too. The trailblazer is Mr. Niroku Muramats. He is also known as current Japanese black tea's pioneer and has established his black tea. But that was not his goal.


Mr.Niroku MURAMATSU
Now, the 72 year-old man is pursuing his new tea, pouchong tea. His pouching tea is made from “Benifuki”, a hybrid variety. I am fortunate to taste his tea some times. That’s amazing! It has a beautiful golden color, flowery rich aroma and substantial taste. Even only its aroma makes me really happy. His pouching tea hasn’t been on the market yet, but I am sure people will love it once it is.

Amid declining of Japanese tea consumption, those new types of tea would bring new wind in the industry and Japanese tea culture.



 

2012/12/13

Let's Do Tea!

Many, especially women, often say "Ocha suru? " when we'd like to take a break while being outside for shopping or so. Then we go the place to drink and take a rest. The expression "Ocha suru?" literally means "Shall we do tea?". But it isn't always the case. Some order coffee or juice.... not tea although we say "do tea". I had never ever thought this is interesting until a friend of mine pointed it out.

For Japanese, "tea" doesn't mean only drink to quench our thirst. It implies the time to relax.  Whether you're a tea-lover or not, whether you prefer coffee or not, let's do tea!

2012/12/06

Time to Gargle with Tea

It’s getting chilly in Japan. We have to take preventive measures against cold and flu. In that case, tea does help.

Japanese green tea is said to have 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. Tea is not only for drinking, is it?