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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?


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A Sign of Good Luck -Chabashira-

Have you seen a tea stalk floating vertically in your teacup when you have Japanese green tea? When you see it, you will have a good day. Because it is believed to be a lucky sign.

A tea stalk floating vertically is called chabashira (lit: tea pillar).  Seeing a chabashira, we feel happy, saying “Engi(luck) ga (is) ii (good).”

The origin of this expression is unknown, but some say it is because that the situation is rare. Others say that a pillar for chabashira can be considered the central pillar of a house. We liken a chabashira floating vertically to a house pillar standing vertically, considering it is good.

Whatever the reasons, when you find a chabashira, be happy!

Hope all of us will enjoy our tea lives in 2014:-)


Kombucha - in English vs in Japanese -

Have you tried kombucha before? I suppose kombucha you may know could be “fermented tea”, but for Japanese, it’s not. It’s a drink made from powdered kelp called kombu

What you call kombucha was popular when I was a kid as “kocha-kinoko”, literally means “black tea mushroom”. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? It was not appetizing AT ALL to me, as a little girl. Due to such a weird name, I remember its existence, but I was too scared to try back then. 
Recently, I found a canned kombucha made in the US. I am already grown up enough to try, and I did. I did green tea and lemon flavored one. Unfortunately I didn’t taste any green tea, but as a drink it was good. Much better than I expected. 
BTW, Japanese kombucha is also good to drink and to season foods. When you have a chance, give it a try!




* FYI  -frm Wikipedia -

<History>  It is not known exactly how or where kombucha originated from.The drink was consumed in east Russia at least as early as 1900, and from there entered Europe.
<Etymo…

Matcha or Maccha

Do you spell “matcha” or “maccha"?
The other day, I was asked which one is correct from the perspective of Japanese language. I replied, “I guess either is fine." 
As long as I know, the spelling of “matcha” is more common while the other one is not often seen here in Japan. However, I just learned that a new tearoom opened in Kyoto. It is named “Maccha House.”  ------  OK, I have to research now. 
Japanese language has a double [long] consonant known as sokuon that English doesn’t. In order to represent sokuon in English, there is a basic rule that the consonant has to be doubled. (based on Hepburn System) For example;  * kite ( "come") – /kite/ * kitte ( "postage stamp") – /kitːe/ or /kitte/ * asari ( "clams") – /asaɽi/ * assari ( "easily") – /asːaɽi/ or /assaɽi/                       (Reference: Wikipedia)
If you follow this rule, “maccha” seems to be correct, but there is an exception. In case of the sound of “cha”, ”chi”, “chu”, “che” and…