2013/09/25

Becoming a Legend

photo by T
A big-name tea house "MUJICA" in Osaka wound up business. It opened in 1952. At the beginning, it was a coffee shop where records of classical music were played, and changed to a shop specializing tea in 1969.

The owner, Mr Horie, started to import tea directly from the tea-producing areas. He has visited those areas and selected the tea by himself in order to introduce us "the real tea". The tea house was the first place where tea was served with a teapot in Japan, and kept telling us how wonderful tea is.

MUJICA had always been there. MUJICA had always been with us. Physically the shop's gone, but we will remember that it was there and it was with us.


photo by T

2013/09/22

Tsukigase Wakocha -Benifuki Autumnal-

It was a lovely day. An ideal day for plucking tea!! So…I went to Tukigase in Nara to join the event to enjoy the tea garden .

isshin niyo   -by T-
About 40 people got together and kept plucking “isshin-niyo (one bud and two leafs)”, which creates high-quality tea. Tea variety that we took was "Benifuki", which is recommended to produce black tea rather than green. Unlike the variety suits for green, "Benifuki" is reddish, slightly thicker and has bitter taste itself. After picking, the sweeter aroma came out too. What we did today was What we did today was just pick, pick and pick!  The farmer, Mr. Iwata is going to produce black tea using leaves that we got and send us later. Yes, we will have the luxury to have tea made from what we picked. Can’t wait!

Other than enjoying the garden, for the first time in ages, I saw a grasshopper and mantis in the farm. Some acorns fell and hit me, ha, ha.  Being in Nature always relaxes me.


Benifuki -by T-

2013/09/17

Tea and Pen

New flavored goods will be put on the Japanese market soon. The flavors include tea with milk, apple tea, caramel tea au lait, tea with lemon, peach tea, vanilla tea au lait etc.

Sounds like this is talking about new tea, but it is not. The new goods are “pens with tea flavor”. They will be released by ZEBRA. Co. Ltd (Japanese company of writing instruments), which has worked together with Lipton (Unilever).

Which flavor would you like to choose to “write” with?

from Zebra Co.,Ltd

2013/09/10

Love Moon -Tsukimi-

At last, I’ve come to feel “autumn” these days, which makes me relieved after having scorching hot days. I think due to a clear and crisp air, the moon can be seen more beautifully around this season.

We love moon and take it very important because, I suppose, our predecessor lived with the waxing and waning of the moon. You may be surprised there are more than 100 ways to call the moon depending on its shapes.

As one example to show our love to the moon, there is a traditional event known as “tsukimi (moon-viewing)”, refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon. It takes place on August 15th and September 13th in the lunar calendar. (These days normally fall in September and October of the modern solar calendar.)

Traditionally, we made” tsutkimi- dango” (rice dumplings for the moon-viewing) and offered crops in season together with pampas grass, appreciating the rich harvest of the year and hoping for good crops in the coming year.

Nowadays, the way of observance has changed, and less people offer pampas grass and crops in season. But, we still appreciate the nature, enjoy viewing moon and eating "tsukimi-dango" with a nice cup of tea.



2013/09/05

Movie -ASK THIS OF RIKYU-

If you are a fan of traditional Japanese tea culture, I believe you know who “Sen no Rikyu” is.

He (1522-1591) is the most influential figure in the Japanese tea ceremony world. He became a tea master for Shogun then, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Especially, at the era of Hideyoshi, he became one of closest confidants. However, in the end, Hideyoshi ordered him to do Seppuku (commit suicide) due to crucial differences of opinion and some other reasons which are unknown.


photo by T
What did the tea mean to Rikyu? What did the beauty mean to him? Were there any other real reasons that he had to commit suicide?

The film called “Rikyu ni Tazuneyo (Ask this of Rikyu)”, will be released this winter inJapan. I would love to watch it.