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Japanese Tea Culture

Japanese Tea Culture

Tea of Hachijuhachiya (88th night)

Counting from the first day of Spring in the traditional Japanese calendar, the 88th day is called 88th night. It is around May 2nd and it is about the time all the plants and vegetation are begin to spring up. It is also the time for tea leaves to start blooming. It is said if you pick some of those buds and drink it as a tea will protect you from being stricken by paralysis. Haiki area in Nagasaki prefecture has a saying that if you are blown by tea market wind, you won't get sick all through the year. There, every May on Sunday, there will be a tea market open, used to be people come there for a barter. Especially for the people live on the island, this market was very important. There was Ureshino, famous place for producing tea in Kyushyu, and the newly picked tea was also sold at this market, and that's how this market started to be called tea market.
Tea got most attention at this market, because it was the time after 88th, the first harvest of tea. People tried to drink this fresh tea to absorb the new and strong energy into the body to promote the health through the year. However, if there is frost on the tea leaves before the first harvest of tea, new buds can freeze and can be frost damaged. There is a place in Shizuoka prefecture everybody gathered this time of the year and pray together for the first harvest. This first harvested tea has different importance for the sellers, the farmers, and the consumers.

Yoichiro Nakamura

Tea flowerTea bud
Tea flowerTea bud
Tea market at Haiki (Haiki in Nagasaki prefecture) 
Tea market at Haiki (Haiki in Nagasaki prefecture) 

 

 
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