When I first arrived in the land of the rising sun, I wasn’t a huge fan of green tea.  I didn’t even know what matcha was, but I didn’t particularly like it.  Matcha is a finely ground, frothy green tea used in tea ceremonies in Japan.  After living here (and drinking green tea) I can confidently say that green tea is an acquired taste.  A few months ago, I could barely drink it, and now I find myself having green tea cravings. Especially matcha cravings! Anytime we travel, I try to order matcha for dessert, or visit a tea house to enjoy that bitter leaf.  Matcha is usually served on a lacquer platter, accompanied by a traditional Japanese sweet that frequently represents the season.  During the spring, tea will often be served with a cherry blossom shaped sweet, and in the fall, usually a maple leaf.  Each tea house serves the sweet differently, and I appreciate the slight differences.  Two of my favorite places to drink green tea in Japan are the Nakajima tea house in Tokyo and the Hokoku-ji Temple in Kamakura.  The Nakajima tea house in Tokyo is famous because Emperor Meiji drank tea with Ulysses S. Grant here in 1879.  The tea house is beautifully set on a pond, surrounded by the concrete jungle of Tokyo.  The Hokoku-ji Temple in Kamakura is fondly called the bamboo forest, and here you can enjoy your green tea peacefully surrounded by bamboo trees.  I will say that I do I have a hard time drinking the tea in three sips, as is proper, and instead choose to enjoy every last sip (which is usually about 10 for me!).  How can you fully enjoy matcha in three sips?  I guess I need to take a class on the tea ceremony to understand.  And green tea is not limited to tea houses and travel destinations, but can be found in your local Starbucks and in green tea flavored treats.   I am addicted to the matcha latte at Starbucks.  And at the local grocery store I find myself buying green tea latte packets to enjoy at home.   I have recently found the matcha green tea kit kat, and green tea oreos!  And did I mention how much I love green tea ice-cream?? Green tea is literally everywhere in Japan, and I am excited I have fallen in love with it.

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