Friday, November 27, 2009

I’ll be a qualified Japanese tea adviser!

How are you doing, everyone? I have been studying about Japanese tea to be a Japanese tea adviser, who has overall and essential knowledge of Japanese tea. It is all about tea, history, industry, cultivation and production, science and health, tasting, preparing technique, and so on. Japanese tea advisers can give customers advices at a tea store, or can be an assistant at a tea workshop or a guide at a tea event. I took the exam in the beginning of this month. And yesterday, I receive a notice of passing the exam. Yeah! I’ll officially be qualified as a Japanese tea adviser in coming April. I’m so happy about it. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Covering utensils with cloth

Hello, everyone! We had another lesson last night. I have been practicing bon-demae these months. When you bring in the utensils into the tea room with bon-demae, you place a tea bowl set and tea container on bon, a tray, and cover the items with silk cloth, called “fukusa”. I don’t know the reason why you cover with cloth, but I guess covering with cloth might mean that the items are all cleaned and prepared? Or avoiding from dust? There should be some decent reason for it. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flower of the day, 6 and 11 Nov

Hi, everyone! Here are flowers from this month lessons.

Hototgis was the flower on 6 Nov.

We had tsubaki on 11.

Our master sometimes gives us the tea flowers after the lessons. We took the tsubaki home and displayed it at our hallway. Isn’t it nice? Have a good day!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sweets of the day, Nov 6,11, and 18

Hi, everyone! I haven’t introduced the sweets from this month lessons. Here they are. The first one is from Nov 6 lesson. It was white been paste covered with regular been paste and sweet chest nuts are top of it.
The next one is yokan, sweetened and jellied bean paste. It was salt flavor yokan. Salt flavor sweets might sound weird, but surprisingly it was good. The salty flavor accentuates the sweetness.
I don’t know the name for the last one. It looked like kuri-kinton but it wasn’t. It was white been paste and bits of chestnuts and little too sweet for me. I liked first one most in these three. Have a nice day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nakatsugi, container for matcha

How are you everyone? Almost every evening, we go 30 minute walking for exercise. There is a national park called Iwayado in our town. It is a little far and off from our usual walking course, but the park also has illuminations for autumn leaves in this period. Yesterday, we were warmly clothed and went to the park for a walk to see autumn leaves again. It was as nice as Sogi park. The illuminated trees reflected on liver surface was so beautiful.

At this week lesson, we used a different type of container for matcha, called nakatsugi. It is a cylindrical shape container, which is refined I think. I could scoop plenty of matcha easily. It may be because nakatsugi has a flat bottom and holds more matcha than ordinary natume.
Hope you have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sobayu at a soba restaurant

Hello, everyone! I had zaru-soba (my favorite Japanese buckwheat noodle) for a lunch on the trip to Gifu. It was handmade noodles, and I liked it. Some soba restaurants serves sobayu with zaru-soba. Sobayu is hot water that the noodles were boiled in, and is murky white. After you eat soba, you enjoy sobayu. You add sobayu into soy based sauce for soba, and enjoy like soup or tea. The rate of sobayu and sauce make a difference on the taste. I think people have their own recipe. I like a lot of sobayu with a little sauce, so that you can enjoy soba flavor of yobayu. By the way, the tea served at the restaurant was sencha with tall thick younomi cup. Have a nice day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mushroom tea

Hi, everyone! Last night, we went to Sogi Park for night viewing of illuminated trees, which is 25 minute drive from our place. It was very cold but it was worth to visit. The orange and red maple leaves were illuminated by hundreds of lights in the dark park. It was so beautiful and fantastic!! We want to come to visit next year again.

Anyway, I’ll talk about tea. There was a tea set in a hotel room we stayed this weekend. There were a hot-water pot, teapot, cups, saucers and tea bags. And there were some sweets on the table. Green packages in the picture are tea bags of sencha, Shirakawa-cha. I didn’t try them, this time. I had orange package tea, which is mushroom tea. You put the powdered tea into a cup and just pour hot water into it. I think the taste is not like a tea, more like a soup without ingredients. It doesn’t’ have any bitterness as ordinary green tea; just has supper rich umami of mushroom. Yom might not able to imagine how the flavor is like. It is difficult to explain, but if you have tried Japanese soup, called osumashi, I can say that the mushroom tea is similar to osumashi. Anyway I like really it. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shirakawa-cha at a hotel restaurant

How is it going everyone? We went to a trip to Gero hot spring resort in Gifu prefecture this weekend. The lunch at a hotel we stayed was pretty good. You could have buffet-style beverages there. I found green tea that you can prepare it yourself with a teapot and beautiful deep green sencha leaves, not a tea bag. The tea was Shirakawa-cha, which is popular sencha bland from this region. We used tea cups to lower boiling water temperature. The brewed tea color was nice light green, and had comfortable bitterness and excellent green tea flavor. This was a kind of sencha I like. Talk to you soon!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kettle rings and kettle rest

Hi, everyone! I introduced how to rinse a large kettle the other day. When you handle the kettle, you use some accessories. They are kettle rings and a kettle rest. You use two rings to carry the kettle by putting them through lugs on the kettle. You use a wooden frame as a kettle rest at preparation room. Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Good morning everyone! Yesterday, I talked about susuricha, and tried it again. This time I used 3g of fine sencha with 15ml of cold water, and brewed it one minute. You might think one minute is too short for cold water brewing, but it isn’t. The plenty tealeaves to the little water brought out amazing flavor. The brewed tea was just few drops, but so delicious. It was very mellow and no bitterness, and totally different from the sencha I usually have. I really like it. I’ll explore more of susuricha. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sample wares for susuricha

How are you everyone? I got some sample porcelain wares for my online shop. I am looking for small tea wares for susuricha preparing. Susuricha preparing is a brewing method for fine green tea, using small amount of water just to saturate the tea leaves. I was looking for a small plate or bowl with a spout instead of a teapot. What I found was a unique design white porcelain bowl and small cups. I tried susuricha with them after dinner. It was great! Have a nice day!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rinsing a kettle

Hi, everyone! We learned how to prepare large kettle and hot wate. You rinse the kettle at the preparation room before use. You water outside and inside of the kettle with a ladle. When you throw away the water inside, you use some cloth to hold the kettle. And turn over the kettle and throw the water out. Basically, you don’t touch the kettle with bare hands. You dry the outside with cloth by applying it in rotation, don’t wipe. Leave the inside. There is a special coating inside, so you don’t touch it. Then pour hot water into the kettle. Talk to you soon!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jasmine tea at a fancy steak house

How was your weekend everyone? I had a chance to have a nice lunch at a fancy steak house this weekend. We were led to a gorgeous room. The meal was so delicious. I could relish nice meat; it may because of the modest portion served. I think somehow people tend to relish well a smaller portion food.

The tea served there was jasmine tea. It is one of my favorite Chinese teas. The tea was prepared very well. The aroma and taste was just right, they were not too strong or too pale. The feature of jasmine tea is the aroma like a flower. I like that the nice aroma rise through my nose when I take a sip. Have a nice day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

High-quality long-steamed sencha

Hello, everyone! When I visited my parents place yesterday, they served me green tea. The tea was a expensive long-steamed sencha. It was from the same tea shop of our tea, but a much better grade tea. The taste was pretty similar to what we usually have. I found good umami and comfortable bitterness. The faded black block you see in the picture is sweetened and jellied bean paste, known as yokan. It is pretty sweet, but sweet bean paste really goes well with green tea. Cmbination of green tea and been paste is popular and also my favorite. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cheep green tea and sweet

How are you every one? My wife, Hiro was not feeling well last night, so we canceled the tea lesson. It got cold this couple of days here.

I went to the neighborhood grocery after dinner and got a cheap package of Japanese confectionery. We had them with cheap sencha over watching Ugly Betty. The sencha is teabag type, and gives out nice green color into brewed tea well. But the taste is kind of light. It wasn’t bad to have cheep green tea and sweet in a relaxing evening. I should have taken a picture of them for this blog. Have a nice day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Flower of the day, Oct 28

Good morning everyone! This is the flower from Oct 28 lesson. I’m sorry. I don’t remember the name of flower. We are having another lesson tonight. I’m looking forward to it! Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sencha at an eel restaurant

Hi, everyone! We went to an eel restaurant in my neighborhood for dinner. Grilled eel is one of my favorite meals! Unexpectedly, the grilled eel is high-calorie food. A man in his late thirtieth like myself needs to be careful with these kind of diet to keep back the middle-aged spread(^_^;) However, the juicy grilled eel with rich teriyaki sauce is irresistible. Tea served there was long-steamed sencha, I guess. There was nothing special about the tea. It was just a regular tea you can have anywhere. Have a nice day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Maple tree in spot garden

How are you everyone? This Friday night we went to a movie. We saw a Michael Jackson’s documentary, “This is it”. What surprised me was that despite a late show, it was almost full with all generation people. Even kids and students who don’t know of MJ on time were there. Michael was just fine and cool in the movie. I still wonder why he had to die. I wish I could see his real concert, not rehearsal.

I worked on my back yard this weekend. In a spot garden, we had white gravels, green moss and grasses, but didn’t have any tree. So, we bought 1.2 meter tall maple tree and planted it. The little garden looks better now(^-^) I’m happy with it. There is nothing about Japanese tea in today’s blog, sorry. Take care.