Being a tea drinker, I was excited to visit Japan and pickup some local favorites. When traveling, rather than buy (what I assume to be) overpriced tea at tourist friendly shops, I prefer to roll the dice and shop at the local supermarket. I managed to convince a supermarket employee in Osaka to show me to the tea section, though once I got there, I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at. Yes, I could tell there were a variety of green teas, but beyond that I was clueless. I didn't know a hand signal for "what do you usually drink when you just want a 'normal' cup of tea?" and Google Translate wasn't working. So I had to wing it.
Which brings us to today's mystery. I picked up a box of, what I thought at the time, must be tea. I realized the box contained a number of slim packets which were much easier to carry home than the whole box, so I tossed the outer packing. I ended up with a handful of packets like these guys:
Yesterday I opened one up and found it contained bright green powder:
I know that the Japanese drink powered green tea, so I wasn't shocked by the appearance.
I poured some boiling water over it, let it sit for a minute or two and took a sip.
Let's see, how to describe the flavor? In a word: yeach. Seriously, this was not tasty. I'm pretty undiscerning when it comes to tea (as I sip on my 100 black tea packets for $1.00 from Giant tea!), but man, this was beyond what I can drink.
Which makes me wonder, what the heck did I buy? It looks like tea, but maybe it's not? Or maybe I'm preparing it wrong? I'm telling you, this tastes more like powdered seaweed than tea. In retrospect, I did pick up this drink at the front of the store and not in the tea section. But it must have had some picture on the box to indicate it was tea, right?
If it really is Japanese tea and it's just an acquired taste, then I'll be glad to stick with it. But if I'm attempting to drink toilet bowl cleaner instead of tea, I'd like to know this little factoid.
So, Internet, you tell me -- what the heck did I buy?
Update: My Dad quickly responded with:
Your packets Japanese translate as:
Kyushu material green juice
3 Ingredients of Species
And he's definitely on to something -- check out this photo attached to Yeh barley juice Kyushu wild green juice dietary fiber supplement fine powder:
It's not quite clear which flavor I bought (3 ingredients of species!), but it looks like I just made myself a steaming cup of dietary fiber juice. Yum!
In my defense, I now recall the box had a cup of green liquid on it. So I knew it was a drink, I just didn't know what type of drink it was. I also picked up some other packages of 'tea' from the tea section of the store, and am now a little more eager to try them. What with them being actual tea and not 'dietary juice fiber' (which may have been barley, cabbage and gourd powder!).
And this is the secret to successful traveling: don't kick yourself for buying the wrong drink; instead, be thankful that you've got another story to share next time the topic of tea comes up.