I lived in Japan for two years. Sure, you can live in Japan and ignore some of the traditions, but I didn't manage to ignore too many, and one that really got a strong grip on me is their love of tea - especially green tea.
I know a lot of people think green tea is bitter and horrid and I confess that I used to share this opinion. Now I know that it's just something that takes quite a lot of getting used to. And this is how you do it: when I lived in Osaka, I was lucky enough to learn about a group of volunteer Japanese housewives who were trained to teach Japanese to foreigners on a volunteer basis. These women were amazing - smart, generous, patient. They also loved to provide us with typical Japanese morning teas during the Japanese lessons we attended with them each week. Of course, this always included green tea. If you wanted something to drink, there was no other option. Most times, your teacher - we were paired up to learn one-to-one - would pour the tea for you so to refuse would have been incredibly impolite. And voilà - after a few months, I found myself enjoying green tea.
|Green tea in Japan by shirokazan|
Now that I live back in Australia, I've finally become somewhat socially acceptable when people ask "Would you like a cuppa?", a greeting practically more common than "Hello" when you turn up at an Australian's home. I can handle black tea now, though I do try to scope out people's cupboards and see if it's worth asking for something more exotic. You still won't see me drink a cup of coffee, but perhaps my travels need to take me somewhere like Colombia before I'm convinced about that.
What's your cup of tea?