Tuesday, May 18, 2021

sanriku's tsubaki cha

My friend in Sendai, sent me a care package in February.

Inside there were all sorts of her favorite snacks which were all made in the Tohoku area and also included was this packet of tea.

As you know, there was a lot of damage with the tsunami that hit the Tohoku area in 2011, but what I wasn't aware of was that Sanriku, an area in Iwate prefecture had many bushes of tsubaki (camellia) that were also destroyed.

In the pamphlet that came with the tea, it also explained that the camellia roots "extend deep into the ground" and takes "years for the plant to reach full size".

I am not sure if there is something similar in English speaking countries, but in Japan, they have something called "hana kotoba" (literally flower words), a system in which the flower, its color is used to describe what the flower symbolizes. 

For example, red camellias symbolizes "pride", "unpretentious elegance"...according to the pamphlet I mentioned above, a reflection of the people of the Sanriku area.

This tea is blend of tsubaki (camellia) leaves and ama cha (sweet tea). Ama cha is made from the leaves of the hydrangea and is supposedly 200 times sweeter than sugar.

In Buddhism, you often see sweet tea during the "birthday" of the Buddha called Hanamatsuri on April 8th...The Buddha is placed in a covered pavilion with lots of flowers and you "bathe" the Buddha with the sweet tea...I have a photo of this here.

This tea was sweet and I'm glad we tried this.

Thankful to receive this and learn more about the Tohoku area.


Anonymous said...

I just read about hana kotoba today in one of the Japan sites I read. So interesting, but I guess florists here have messages using different flowers and colors too.
Also interesting to learn that hydrangea makes a sweet tea and Sendai has tea.

K and S said...

Hoping we all can travel soon V!

Take care.

KirkK said...

Some really good and interesting info Kat!

K and S said...

Thanks Kirk!

Take care.

Rowena said...

[...the camellia roots "extend deep into the ground" and takes "years for the plant to reach full size"]

well, I guess that is why my camelia plant is taking so long to grow (it's in a little flower pot). I like that its color means unpretentious elegance ^-^

K and S said...

aw I hope your camellia plant is at least flowering, Rowena.

Take care.