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Japanese Tea Culture

"Ocha wo nigosu"

There are many expressions to start with the word "ocha(tea) in Japanese, like "Ocha wo nigosu (means beg the question/issue)" , "Ocha wo hiku (passed the time)" and Ochapy(tomboy). The word of "Ocha wo hiku" related to the kind of tea called "Maccha (powdered green tea). To make maccha, take the stored green tea which was stored in the pot called "Ten cha", and grind them with the mortar. This word started to be used when geisha girl who had not many customers to named her passed the time grinding the tea. Among the geisha girls, this word is still used like "Ocha wo hiichatta (Oh, I grind tea today ) does not mean she actually grind tea all day, but means that she had not many customers today. "Ochappy" means a girl with full of spirit. This word was already started to be used during the Edo priod, and used like ""Ohcappy no otemba musume" ,tomboy girl with full of spirit.
There is another word started with Ocha, "Cha ban geki". At the theater, tails of actors used to take the rolls of serving tea, and it was called "Cha ban". Those tails of actors performed play, which was often farcical one started be called "Cha ban geki". Later on, it became the word for farcical play and also the act of obvious artificiality. Because the tea was something common to everyone's life, the word of ocha was used in such kind of expressions in people's everyday life.

(Yoichiro Nakamura)