We tucked our heads and removed our slippers, the lady bowed her head “ogedeske” and points for us to follow her on back. We sit and kneel at our table amidst hanging aged green gardens within the castle grounds Shoguns once reigned in. Like many others around us captured by the subtle manners, our eyes locked on all that surrounded us. Where Samurai warriors once were to lead with the giving of their lives in loyalty, self discipline and respect.
We smile at each other as we know the comfort of foreign hospitality is alive and well here. A repercussion rippling of days of old, when ethics and high values were supreme.
Soon she brings out our bright matcha green tea and vanishes as quickly as she came.
We sip our tea with a quiet feeling of refinement, crowding out the monotony of rituals as if we could see the Samurai and Shoguns walking here in these same gardens. I'm sure they whispered of coming threats and enemies, upcoming trade with neighbors, tales of lovers and held stories only time has lived to tell. We sipped slowly wondering about all these things and enjoyed each other’s presence.
Matcha has been the choice of tea for over a thousand years in Japan. They shade grow the tea leaves an extra 6 weeks to brighten the leaves and trick them into thinking they are perishing. At the height of chlorophyll production they pluck them. The tea is then carefully processed to preseve the antioxidants and stone ground to perfection. Matcha has L-theanine which helps to slowly release the caffeine when you drink it so you feel a nice boost in energy and mental clarity. Monks often would drink it for long periods of meditation.
We serve matcha various ways because we believe tea is all about preference and where you are from! We offer ceremonial for the wise old sage, sweet matcha for those that love a sweetness with their green tea, and also with a wild powdered coconut milk to make it silky smooth we call Coconut Grass Skirt.
Nijo Castle, Japan