Wednesday, January 12, 2011
How I came to love the matcha latte from Starbucks
So I lived in Japan a complete lifetime ago.....yet bizarrely that short lived experience shaped the very essence of who I became.
I literally jumped into it at 18 years old…..no research…..no language training……no clue, just a desire to see a world I had only dreamed of. And what I received was beyond the imagination. I learned Japanese. A whole other language for Pete’s sake! It was a rather desperate situation as my host family understood limited English and I had to clarify a few things like my aversion to fried grasshoppers, bee larvae and eating all things buggy; octopus and squid on a stick (at first); sharing bath time with the kids and how to say sorry over dropping my chopsticks ten times at every meal. Apparently it’s bad luck. Yikes!
The culture I encountered was, and has been, such a source of inspiration. I briefly took classes in “ikebana”, flower arranging. Apparently I was the worst arranger that my extremely patient teacher had ever taught and with a great deal of relief, she passed me on to the instructor of chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony.
"Ichigo, Ichie" literally translated to "One encounter, one chance" Ichigo-Ichie means that every encounter with someone, even a friend whom you see often, should be treated as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. (As if today were the last time you might meet) This is the underlying philosophy of the Japanese tea ceremony and the lessons that changed my life.
I learned how to do ballet with my hands. Every move, every softly spoken word and action had specific meaning. I learned how to celebrate silence. I learned how to honor the perfection of a hand crafted tea vessel, it’s history and story. I attended an awe inspiring event in Kyoto during the only week that cherry blossoms bloom and under such a tree, witnessed a chanoyu master offer his art.
And importantly, I became enamored of matcha tea lattes from Starbucks! I’m guessing not too many people enjoy the bitter sweet taste of matcha tea. Thank you Japan!
To make a really long story slightly shorter, there is no time like the present to do a lot of living. There is an adventure around every corner.