Japanese Tea Pickers of Yesteryear
1 day ago
For tea and related items.
They brought me tea. The nurse had me sit up against my pillows and placed a tray in front of me. She poured some steaming water into a cup with a little bag in it. Go slow, she said, it burns. What do you mean, slow? I sniffed the cup and detected the odor, I wanted to say, of smoke. I wanted to see what tea was like, so I took the cup and swallowed. Dreadful. A fire, a flame, a slap in the mouth. So this is boiling tea. It is probably the same with coffee, or chamomile, which everyone talks about. Now I know what it means to burn yourself. Everybody knows you are not supposed to touch fire, but I did not know at what point you could touch hot water. I must learn to recognize the threshold, the moment when before you couldn’t and after you can. I blew mechanically on the liquid, then stirred it some more with the spoon, until I decided I could try again. Now the tea was warm and it was good to drink. I was not sure which taste was the tea and which the sugar; one must have been bitter and the other sweet, but which was the sweet and which the bitter? In any case, I liked the combination. I will always drink my tea with sugar. But not boiling.
The tea made me feel peaceful and relaxed, and I went to sleep.