How have I made it this far without mentioning the country most influential in the site name? Rather, I briefly covered the genesis of my interest in (Japanese) bento with the introductory post, thus it’s about time the food & drink category became ubiquitous.
Tea. I don’t drink enough of it in the US. Green, Black, White, Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Barley, Wulong (oolong), Pu’er, deep, light, Longjing, Okinawan, Ceylon…they’re all good. Rooibos and a few Chinese medicinal ones (an example is shown below), ones more bitter than a US flight attendant, are a bit less appealing, but I’d still gulp ’em down:
Yep, a demitasse filled with home-brewed chai and a bunch of local twigs, leaves and puzzling berries thrown in …ah shucks, now I’m talking about China, which gave to Japan, among many other ideas, green tea.
Japan was the first country I visited where I looked forward to consuming tea, in large part due to the seasonal varieties (bad pun withheld) in Japanese convenience store, vending machines and department store food halls (thanks to Eryk for the link). Each of those three items will receive their own posts in the future, but it’s almost a given that I was never anywhere on foot or on my bike in Japan without a PET (recycled) bottle of ocha.
Suffice to say, I’m a sap when it comes to Japanese marketing campaigns – not to the people handing out tissues at train stations – but to the bizarre slogans and “campaigns”, seasonally 限定 (gentei) limited products and adjectives that just don’t cut it in advertising where I’m from (thanks to Fuji TV for the link). It could be because I’m not Japanese, so for instance, looking at one of the bottles in the first photo, nejime biwa tea, well I knew a biwa was a loquat (a fruit, not a Lebowski reference), but it’s also a lute, but you don’t typically see the translation of those words on a drink in the US, or Britain or Canada, so I went for it. Golden katsura blend? What does that mean? Katsura is a type of tree, but is golden used just to give it more pomp? Hikozaemon? Do the Japanese know what that is? What’s going on here? If it was in English, I would overlook it, but if it had one unusually placed word of English, as the Japanese like to use (know how to say “get” in Japanese?), then the intrigue is back. Kanji, or Chinese characters used in Japan, when written cursively and/or in a huge font size, also drag me in.
Are you fond of drinking tea wherever you are, or do you only enjoy it where it is ordinary?