"The Business of Japanese Green Tea" by NHK

Let me introduce a program called "The Business of Japanese Green Tea" broadcast by NHK World. It'll give you some idea of the latest Japanese green tea situation.

(It's available by July 21st. )



Tea From Capsule Toy Machine

Have you ever tried capsule toy vending machines? We usually call the vending machine “gacha-gacha”, which is onomatopoeia for the sound of capsul’s falling. Of course, I have done “gacha-gacha” when I was a kid.

I heard that the machines are now installed at  Narita International Airport, and they are very popular among tourists waiting for return flights to use up leftover coins. Some of you may have got a small toy from the machine when you came to Japan. 

"Gacha-gacha" is not only Narita airport anymore. You are able to try it at Shizuoka airport too. Your prize is not a toy though. You will get a tea bag and a tin badge instead That’s Shizuoka! If you have 200yen at hand before leaving Shizuoka, why don’t you try “gacha-gacha” to get a teabag?!

Photo by Shimada 


More Genderless !?

In my age in Japan, boys had boyish name, and girls had girly name. The color of boy’s school bag used to be black while that of girl’s bag used be red. The color that boys were supposed to choose was blue while that of girls were pink. As such, things were often divided by gender. But recently, it’s changing. Sometimes, we cannot tell the person is boy or girl only to see its name. Some boys prefer red to black. Some girls like blue. It’s getting more “genderless”.

When I went to the tea market the other day, I found the similar situation in tea too. (I know comparing people with tea is stupid, but I didJ) I mean when I tried Sencha, some smelled a bit more like Oolong to me. Other Sencha tasted like more Kabusecha (covered tea).

Of course, the process of Sencha and that of Oolong is different, but the reason I found Oolong aroma in Sencha is, I think, mainly because of “withering”. Sencha was not allowed to be withered according to the tea industry rule. If it’s withered, it was taken as a bad quality. But recently, some Sencha are slightly withered on purpose. The standard procedure might have been good to mass-produce the similar taste tea, but people are getting bored, and turning away from the tea. Due to withering, the aroma of Sencha varies.

As for Sencha with slightly covered is not really categorized as “Kabusecha”, but adding a bit of Umami (savory) helps vary the taste of Sencha.

I am not saying the conventional Sencha is not good, but I’ve found it interesting to see more “genderless” Sencha. 


Yoshidayama Tea Market

An annual two-day outdoor tea market known as “Yoshidayama Dai Chakai (Yoshidayama big tea party)” was held on the site of Yoshidayama shrine in Kyoto. 

It reminds me of “Kitano Dai Chakai” hosted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a preeminent daimyo in 16th century, in Kyoto. While it must have been extravagant for Hideyoshi to show off his power, the current version of tea party is more down to earth, which I prefer. Tea farmers and tea shops from various places including Kyoto, Nara. Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kochi, Shikoku and Shizuoka in Japan gathered. 

We enjoyed more than 300 kinds of tea in total from about 40 stands. They are not only Japanese green tea, but Japanese black and Japanese oolong, Chinese tea, Korean tea and more  which made me excited. The site is not that convenient, and people need to go all the way to the site. Even so, the market seemed to be busier than last year. 

I went there as one of the customers, but I ended up working as a staff member for a tea farmer I know, ha, ha. It was just temporarily, but I was surprised to see his tea selling like "more than" hotcakes!

On that day, I took a German tea friend who just arrived in Japan the day before the event with us. Also I met some tourists from overseas who enjoyed Japanese tea there  other than non-Japanese living in Japan. I bet anyone both at home and abroad, and both tea-lovers and non-tea lovers are able to find a tea you like.

Unfortunately, I was too excited and busy to take enough photos....:-(