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Publication: The Stranger
Date published: May 6, 2010


Japanese Garden

1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, 684-4725

Why should I drink you?

My bitterness is thought to make the heart grow stronger. I'm also samuraiapproved! Samurai have been getting high off me since the 16th century. Don't even play, Earl Grey.

How should I drink you?

In a Japanese tea ceremony. The rules for drinking me are strict as a motherfucker: You must whisk me vigorously into a froth and slurp me down loudly. The louder the slurp, the higher the compliment to your host.

Where should I drink you?

On a bamboo mat, on your knees, even if they hurt. The pain will wake you up and thrust you into the moment, which is the only place to be.

Should I drink you in loose-leaf form or stick you in a tea bag?

Loose-leaf is the way to go. In a tea ceremony, I'm ground into a powder beforehand and I go by the name matcha. I am thick and taste kind of chalky and weird, but you'll be so distracted by the pretty teahouse that you'll barely notice.

How can I learn more about you and the other mysterious customs surrounding your consumption?

Take a class on the art of the Japanese tea ceremony, held every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in the teahouse at the Japanese Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum. Presentations last 40 minutes, admission is $10, and advance tickets (recommended) can be purchased by calling 684-4725. When you're done with your tea, take a walk around the garden, stare at all the fat koi, skip some rocks, touch the trees. It's beautiful out here.

Interview by Steven Blum

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