2013/01/28

Tea Stick

Tea market is getting bigger these days. As for its kind, flavored tea is more liked. As for its type, tea bags are more popular than tea leaves because they are handy.

Another handy type of tea has been attracted a lot recently. That's an individually-wrapped stick instant tea. Now, we can enjoy more variety of stick tea such as tea au lait, matcha au lait, ginger tea and even fiber tea. So, over the last three years, its sales became double. New products that will be on the market soon can be enjoyed as cold tea, which means we can make tea from stick tea with both hot water and cold water. You don't have to even boil water, ha, ha.

More flavors and better quality. Stick-type instant coffee has longer been on the market, so now is tea’s turn.

2013/01/21

Setsubun -Feb3-

Setsubun (bean-throwing festival) is the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan, falling on February 3 this year. It used to be thought as New Year’s Eve according to Japanese traditional calendar and the very important day to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and bring fortune spirits into the year to come.

The special ritual is “mamemaki (Lit: bean-throwing)” . People throw beans out the door in order to drive away evil spirits and throw them in to bring in fortune.


Eho-maki  frm web
The other custom, especially Osaka area, is to eat uncut rolled sushi called Eho-Maki (lit. "lucky direction roll") while facing the yearly lucky direction and praying for one’s wish. And there is a big rule. You are not allowed to speak even a word while eating Eho-Maki. Why? Otherwise, your luck will be gone! Don’t forget tea so that you won’t get the sushi stuck in your throat.




2013/01/15

Craft Tea -wakocha-

There is a wide variety of craft beer here and there. Of course we have a lot in Japan too. According to dictionary, craft beer means “a beer with a distinctive flavor, produced and distributed in a particular region.“ In that case, I believe “wakocha (Japanese black tea)” can be called “craft tea” because each tea has a distinctive flavor from region to region, and from farmer to farmer, produced in particular region.


Minami Satsuma First Flush  by t
I’ve tried so many craft teas so far. But still a lot that I haven’t tried yet. The other day, I’ve found great one, “Minami Satsuma First Flush” made in Kagoshima prefecture. It has a beautiful flowery aroma, a good body and lingering finish. I would say this is one of my favorite. In a way, there are too many to try, but it means the fun of discovering a craft tea increases, which is great.



*The craft tea "Minami Satsuma First Flush" is from  a tea shop "Kureha".
Kureha website: http://creha.net/   (in Japanese)


the owner of Kureha



2013/01/09

I'll Win for Sure -Kit Kat-

Do you know Kit Kat, a chocolate-covered wafer biscuit bar snack? Maybe, many do because it is now produced worldwide. Then, have you seen a special Kit Kat for students preparing for an entrance exam? We do in Japan.

Now is the entrance exam season here and we see some snacks and food to encourage the students on the market. Why is Kit Kat one of them? Chocolate is good for your brain of course, but not only that. It is due to wordplay. The sound of Kit Kat is similar to a Japanese expression, especially Kyushu (the Southern part of Japan) dialect, “kitto katsutoh”, which means “I’ll win for sure”.

I believe the students have been studying really hard to win in a fiercely competitive entrance exam. But they need time to relax once in a while. In that case, the special Kit Kat and tea will help them for sure. Good luck!


2013/01/05

2013 "To be Happy" Tea -Kombucha-

Japanese sometimes drink “kombucha” (also called “kobucha”) when we have auspicious and joyful occasions. Why? It is based on a wordplay. Kombu sounds similar to yorokobu which means “to be happy”. Therefore we like to drink the tea to celebrate the day. I know it is well-known even outside of Japan, but different drink. Japanese one is powdered edible kelp.

We prepare Japanese-type kombucha by pouring hot water over dried powdered kelp in a cup, like you do instant coffee. Ume (plum)-flavored one is also available.
 
New year’s season is also happy time. I’m the one who drank kombucha to pray for the year!
 
 
kombucha