[The American Years]

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sugar, sugar

Remember my post about Japanese bottled green tea? I wrote in praise of it. No calories, no sugar, no fake sugar. Just cold green tea, and it is delicious. I listed it as one of the things I was going to miss about Japan.

A couple of people wrote back to say that such tea was widely available in the states. So my spirits were lifted.

Since we've been back, I've been on the lookout for it, hoping that maybe America had caught on to the magic of plain old cold green tea.

Not so. There are green tea drinks in my local store, but they are all sweetened.

Even in the designer fancy pants tea aisle, there are such things as 'diet' tea. Can you imagine? The assumption is that tea MUST have sweetener in it. But nothing unsweetened!

I'm in Kentucky, close enough to the American South that 'Sweet Tea' is a common drink. When you order iced tea, you get asked 'sweet or unsweet'. And the answer is almost always sweet. A yankee might ask, "Why not just get tea, and then sweeten it yourself with those handy little packets on your table?"

Silly northerner. It doesn't taste the same. It really doesn't. If you like sweetened tea, boil the sugar into the water. It makes a big difference.

So, I'm praising Southern sweet tea, but condemning the sweetness at the same time.

Oh conflict of conflicts! Boredom of boredom! How bout some photos for the fun of it.


Near Nagoya there is one of the ceramics centers of Japan, called Seto.

We got a chance to take a ceramics class in Seto during our last week in Japan. It was just like that scene from Ghost, except our experience was much more tasteful, and Patrick Swayze only stopped in for a second. However, unfortunately he wasn't dead.

We had a great instructor, who stepped us through the thing patiently. Under his guidance, we made some great pieces. But when he left us to try by ourselves, we failed miserably. It was still fun.

One of Kathleen's completed pieces, now in our home.

On the bottom of handmade ceramics is the name of the artist or the studio that produced it, typically in Kanji (Chinese Characters that are used for people and place names). We, as foreigners, don't have kanji for our names; we use the phonetic alphabet that is used for foreign words. Well, for the sake of our ceramic creations, we created ceramics names. (Nommes de Wheel?) I chose Kyo Jin, which means Giant. Kathleen chose Typhoon Flower. Her name can be mispronounced in Japanese to sound like Katrina, which the Japanese have heard of. (Typhoon = Hurricaine.) And she likes flowers. So it's there, on the bottom of her creation. Very rare one-of-a-kind handmade rice bowl! One of only a handful of pieces made by the exclusive Typhoon Flower ceramics studio!

Until next time...


califmom said...

According to the Ito En website (http://www.itoen.com/locator.cfm) you are a mere 2 miles from unsweetened green and white tea (a personal favorite), branded "Teas' Tea" at the Target in Florence. Worst case, they have it at the Target in Cincinnati. However, this is only the 2L bottles. Should you want a 16.9 oz little guy, you'll need to head over to Norwood's Target.

ET said...

I'm there. There's also a Japanese grocery nearby that should carry my Japanese stuff... Clearly I wanted to complain more than I wanted to find tea.

califmom said...

But, of course.

Cindy said...

I saw the Tea's Tea at Whole foods this weekend and thought of you, but I see that you have already been pointed that way.

You do know that you are only a glass pickle jar, half a dozen tea bags, and a sunny afternoon away from any kind of iced tea you want, right?

No? Even though they're two generations removed, I guess my Oakie roots are showing.