Have some tea?

I have asked a lot of questions, “where can I have some matcha?”  Then everytime I have to explan, matcha is something quite special, there are a lot of Japanese people who never even had one sip. There are some Japanese cafe where they serve some sweets and matcha. But still for the most Japanese people, matcha is still rigidly stiff and very unsual thing to drink. If you prefer matcha in a casual way, please just go to Starbucks coffee, they have bunch of matcha related drinks, but they are definetely far away from real matcha drink, just like instant ramen and real ramen.



Tea in Japanese is お茶 (ocha) and when we just say “ocha” that usually means green tea, not matcha. Green tea is tea leaves served in a teapot, just like black tea. We drink it hot or cold and it is sold every convenience stores and vending machines.


Another common tea in Japan is むぎ茶(Mugi cha, barley tea) especially in summer time, pretty much every fridge in Japanese household has mugi cha (made at home in a way of sun tea).


This brand mugi cha is the most popular one. Mugi cha has no caffeine, anti edma effective, no suger of course, fragrant and very easy to drink.


Another popular tea in Japan is ほうじ茶(Houji cha, roasted green tea). When green tea leaves are in dark green, houji cha leaves are light brown. The drink color is pretty similar to mugi cha. So when you want to distinguish between those two at a store, pay attention to the number of letters. ”むぎ” mugi has two letters, ”ほうじ” houji has three letters.



The other option is 烏龍茶 (oolong tea, chinese tea). This is very popular in bottles and also as a soft drink at bars for the ones off the booze. How you recognize oolong tea at a store is its first letter in Kanji. If you see the four dots at the bottom of the first letter, it is always oolong tea.




Of course we have black tea, either with milk, with lemon juice, or straight. Most of them have English translation somehow, so it is very easy for you to recognize.



We also have some other teas, like jasmin tea (which you can recognize with the number of letters, it is always the longest) . And a lot of other blend teas. If you see the package anything other than all above, they are blended tea, so just try and find your favorite blend.


As I said, we enjoy tea hot and cold. How you recognize? Hot ones usualy have a orange lid. With vending machines, it is even easier to recognize. Red bottons are hot, blue buttons are for cold.


So now you thnk it is easier to find your bottle of tea, like Japanese people do?



Smart Shopping in Japan

There are a lot of people who come to Japan only to shop. They spend a fortune because they have enough money to spend.

But if you are not a millionaire, where should you go shop in Japan?

NITORI has been one of the suburb area household goods stores well known with its TV commercial “Onedan Ijou Nitori (we are offer more than the money you spend at us)”, it is a sort of IKEA in Japan and now they are in the city centers, like in Shibuya.  I do not believe people travel to Japan to buy a bed but you would find some nice ceramics for your parents’ dinner table, oriental ornaments for your good friends,  closet organizer for your house.


Still expensive? Now I’ll show you the options.

“3 coins” and thier sister brand shops are now all over Japan. They are name after the fact that the items sold there are 300 yen, so that 3 pieces of 100 yen coin. Well, actually there are “some” items at 500 yen or even 1000 yen, but there are some 100 yen items, too. So when you shop at them, keep your eyes open to double check if the items are really 300 yen. Most of the items you find there are just amazingly good in quality and style (for the price you pay).


And if you want to be even more reasonable, the last (and maybe the first) place to go is 100 yen shops. There are 3 big ones, “DAISO”, “CanDo” and “Seria”. If you are walking around in Japan, it is hard not to find one of them for sure (I was in a small island with the population of 20K in Shikoku last summer and run into one DAISO there).  Those three are pretty much similar to each other, but in my personal opinion, DAISO has more life-hack items, CanDo has more everyday stuff, and Seria has more DIY usuful items. However, they all are worth looking at it. At 100 yen shops, I have not seen anything costs more but I heard there are some.


They are all 100 yen but you can spend a lot of money if you buy a lot… seriously I’m telling you to be careful.


Here are some items that I bought at those places above.

From Nitori…


From 3 coins…


From 100 yen shops…


Hopefully now you are convinced to travel to Japan just to shop:)

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