Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweets of the day, Kurikinton Oct 28

Hi, everyone! In this season, you can find kurikinton at many Japanese confectionery shops. The taste is slightly different among shops, like chocolate chip cookies are little different at each shop in the states. Last week, our master suggested that we can try kurikinton from different shops in our town in each lesson. I thought it was a great idea. Here we had kurikinton again this week lesson. This one was a little big, and it was smooth in texture and mild in taste. We loved it as much as we liked the one from the last week. I’m looking forward to another kurikinton next week!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Using a kettle with a handle in The Way of Tea

Good morning everyone!

What easy about bon-temae which I am practicing now is that you can use a small kettle with a handle instead of a big kettle and a ladle. And also you don’t use a fresh-water container. These make bon-temae simple and easy. You pour water directly from the small kettle into the tea bowl. I need to get used to measure amount of water without a ladle. Don’t you think it is a little difficult to tell the amount by just watching the pouring water from the kettle? Don’t I need to think? Just feel?

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flower of the day, tsuwabuki Oct 21

Hi, everyone! A maple tree in our front yard gradually began to change the color. But it does not seem brilliant red as I am expecting. It may be because this is the first year for the transplanted maple in our yard. I hope it will be better next year.

The flower from the last lesson was tsuwabuki, Farfugium. I liked the appearance of a long stalk though between the rounded luster leaves. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sweets of the day, Kurikinton Oct 21

Hello, everyone! The sweets at the last lesson were kurikinton, chestnut confection. It is my favorite, and one of the representative sweets of the fall. It is consisted of sweet chestnut paste. I like the natural chestnut flavor and sweetness. I think it really goes well with green tea. Have a nice day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tea time at Saturday night

Hi, everyone! How was your weekend? We opened a new package of sencha at Saturday night which we bought by tasting two weeks ago. This is the expensive one, hand-picked sencha. The sencha was much different from what we have usual. The brewed tea was much clear and golden in the hue. The taste was very smooth and light. We loved it. We enjoyed the peaceful evening with the tea and confectionery from our favorite store.

After the tea time, we watched rental DVD. Movies and TV dramas are always good English studying materials for me. The last TV drama I had watched was HEROS season one. A friend of mine told me that the season two was not good as season one. And the story was a little difficult as my studying materials. So, I haven’t tried season two yet. Have you seen the season two? How was it? I like more easy and fun dramas, something like “Friends” or “Ugly Betty”. Anyway, we watched five episodes of UGLY BETTY in Saturday night and ten episodes on Sunday! It was a BETTY weekend!! Have a good day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Using a tray in temae

Hello, everyone! Yesterday I tried bon-temae at the lesson. Bon means a tray in Japanese. It makes the temae simple by using a tray, so that you can try it casually at home.

My wife, Hiro tried bon-temae as well. She has been practicing only hira-temae, and this is the first time she tried a new temae. Once Hiro did not understand a next movement even our master explained it several times. Hiro needed to just laugh when it happened. Sometimes it is difficult to orally tell someone how to move. Take care!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Matcha ice cream vs chestnut ice cream

Hi, everyone! We had a dinner at our favorite restaurant. They serve ice cream and green tea (sencha) at the end of the meal. They have a couple flavor of ice cream you can choose from. My ordinary choice is matcha flavor, but this time they had chestnuts flavor for seasonal option. I had chestnut ice cream this time. This season of year, somehow I want chestnuts. I guess it is because the comfortable sweet of chestnuts goes really well hot green tea in this chilly climate. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

At a sports meet

Hi, everyone! We went to a local athletic meet this weekend. Some beverages were there. And I had cold green tea (sencha). We, Japanese have green tea even at sports meetings! I once again realized how much we love green tea. Talk to you soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Explore different brewing!

Hi, everyone! Are you enjoying Japanese teas? Since I stared Everyone’s Tea, I’m always thinking how to enjoy teas, how to brew better tea, or how to please my guests with tea. It's pretty fun. Aren’t you brewing a tea always in a same way? Try to explore more of Japanese tea. You can get totally different brewed teas by different brewing ways even from a same tea leaf. Change the amount of tea leaves and water you usually use. Try different temperature of water and brewing time. You will be surprised how different brewed tea you can get.

Try this! For Umami
Tea leaves: Use more than usual
Water amount: Less than usual
Temperature of water: Lower than usual
Brewing time: Longer than usual
Speaking in the extreme, I sometime use cold water for sencha and do 10 minutes brewing.

Try this! For refreshing tea
Tea leaves: Use less than usual
Water amount: same as usual
Temperature of water: Boiling water
Brewing time: Much shorter than usual

You might not get satisfied result at once. There are millions of combinations for brewing condition. The process of finding your favorite brewing for your tea will be fun. Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flower of the day, hototogisu and tsubaki Oct 14

Good morning everyone! There was no tea lesson last week because of the typhoon. Last night we had a lesson for the first time in Oct. It was nice to have matcha in the smooth autumn evening. It is a lesson, but very relaxing. We enjoyed sweets and matcha over chit-chat.
Last night’s flower was hototogisu (tricyrtis) and tsubaki (camellia). Have a good day!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tea tasting at a tea shop

Hi, everyone! My daily tea at home is long-steamed sencha. So I’ve wanted to try some regular-steamed sencha. This weekend I went to a tea shop to look for them. The tea shop displays sample leaves and provides tea tasting. Tea tasting of cause, displaying sample leaves at a shop is pretty helpful to compare and find teas. I found four teas I was interested in, and a clerk offered me tasting them.

1. Hand-picked sencha
Very natural taste, The most expensive and most beautiful tea leaves in these four

2. Honyama sencha from Shizuoka
Distinct rich umami

3. Yame sencha from Kyushu
Smart light taste, Prize-winning sencha

4. Kawane sencha from Shizuoka
Comfortable bitterness and umami, Similar to my long-steamed sencha

I purchased 1.Hand-picked sencha and 2.Honyama sencha. I though the first taste for 1.Hand-picked sencha was too natural, but it means it doesn’t have any “impure" taste. It could have a big potential for many different taste by different way of brewing, I thought. The reason I chose 2.Honyama sencha was rich umami and distinctive taste. It is because I was looking for something different from my long-steamed sencha.

I still have some my long-steamed sencha left. After I use it all, I’ll open these new sencha. I’m really looking forward to them!! Take care.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Small Japanese garden on the table

The other day I found a good-design plant pot and bought it on impulse. I thought it was nice to make a modern bonsai with this pot, but I could not find a reasonable little bonsai tree. So I made a Japanese karesansui garden with moss and white gravel. Isn’t it nice to have a little Japanese garden on the table for your teatime? Have a nice weekend!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tea set from Tokoname traditional craftsman

Good morning everyone! A big typhoon passed away my region this early morning. I was relieved that we didn’t got any damages.

This weekend, I received a tea set from Tokoname teapot artist which I ordered as a sample for my shop. This tea set is for gyokuro or high-quality sencha. The handle less teapot is called hohin. High grade teas are usually enjoyed with this kind of small teapot and cups. I was impressed with the perfect dripless spout of the teapot, and fine finish. That is the work of certified traditional craftsman. But I was not quite satisfied with this tea set. I want teapot little smaller and water cooler little bigger. And the design is needed some modification. I might ask the artist to reform the size and design, or look for some other new tea set. We’ll see. Take care!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Opening a new package of sencha in two weeks

How are you everyone? Today I opened another package of green tea. This tea is sencha from the same tea store for the last package at Sep 22. That means we consumed one package of sencha (200g) in two weeks. I had never counted how long it takes to use one package, though. Actually it was quite fast than I thought. We used to have cold mugi-cha in the summer, but it's getting chilly these days. So I guess we are having hot sencha more.

This sencha is the better grade than last one, so I had assumed this one would be bigger leaves. But actually it wasn’t. This better sencha also had some broken little leaves. The package says just "sencha", but I guess sencha from this tea store are "deep-steamed sencha". Anyway, this sencha had a richer umami than last one and I liked it. I hope you have a great day!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flower of the day, tsubaki Sep 30

Hello, everyone! The flower of the lesson on Sep 30 was tsubaki (camellia), and tall green behind was quince. Tsubaki is one of the popular flowers used in the tea room. Tsubaki usually bloom in the winter, but this was early-bloom type. I think white little broom goes well with the unique design vase. Take care!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tea container, kinrinji

Hi, everyone. We have been using chu-natsume, which is the most common type of tea container. I’ve always wanted to see other type of natsume. I had a chance to use a different type of natsume called kinrinji at last night lesson. How to handle kinrinji was almost the same as chu-natsume. The only difference was the way of purifying natsume. I was little happy using kinrinji. Have a nice day.