Quiz: Finding Your Favorite Japanese Tea

Imagine this: You’re sitting on the bench at the train platform, listening to the jingle announcing a train’s arrival on the other side of the station. You’re feeling slightly guilty for taking up a chair when there are so many obaachan around, but there are three other empty seats and no one seems to be interested. It’s five pm and the sun is already starting to go down. It’s been a long day, and you’re thirsty, so you look over at the vending machine. “Enjoy your special time with CURICO,” huh? There’s BOSS, Pocari Sweat, and tea. Lots of tea. How do you decide which one to choose to quench your thirst?

It’s too much to ask you to make a snap decision, so we’ve prepared a handy quiz that’ll tell you just what kind of tea is right for you… Or even what kind of tea you are, deep inside.

When you’re studying for a test, where do you go to find some peace and quiet?

  1. I head down to the pier and spread my books and papers out on the ground. The signs say “no fireworks,” not “no homework,” and I like the extra challenge of the wind blowing my flashcards away.
  2. I know what I know and I never study! (Please don’t be like this.)
  3. The lobby is my favorite place to study, because everyone else is there!
  4. I have a semi-secret hangout above Beisia. You can see Lake Biwa and listen to music box covers of all the latest pop hits.
  5. I keep to my room. No distractions, all the snacks you could ask for, and I don’t have to change out of my pajamas…

If you always study at Starbucks, get out of here! Your taste in tea is too classy for a vending machine.

How do you feel about wearing a helmet when riding your bike?

  1. I never wear it. You can’t make me! Hahahahaha! (Please don’t do this, pretty soon you won’t have a bike either!)
  2. They’re fine, I guess, but I just keep forgetting to put it on…
  3. I’ll wear it, but not quietly. Everyone’s going to hear about how much I hate these helmets.
  4. I complain about it, but I actually don’t mind so much. It’s free, so whatever.
  5. I always wear my helmet. Sometimes I wear it on walks, too, just in case I trip and fall down.

If you can’t ride a bike, that’s okay. Give it a try, but it’s not for everyone.

Can you sit seiza style, with your legs folded underneath you?

Our students giving their best seiza
  1. Of course. Plus I practically have an advanced degree in walking on my knees on tatami mats.
  2. I do things マイペース (my own way). I’ll sit seiza if I feel like it, but sometimes a chair is so much better.
  3. Yeah, I can, but only for like thirty seconds. Then it’s criss-cross-applesauce for me.
  4. I go straight to crossed legs. It’s not worth the embarrassment of trying anything else.
  5. I can sit seiza style, I just can’t get up afterwards. I guess I’ll see you the next time they open up the Japanese-style room… I’m not going anywhere.

If you never sit down and only stand, what’s going on? Are you okay?

What do you do when you hear there’s going to be a three-day weekend?

  1. Start researching mountains to climb up. Maybe Mt. Ibuki is good, or maybe it’s time for Mt. Fuji?
  2. I’m gonna make it a four-day weekend. I’ve been dying to go on a trip and this is my best chance.
  3. Tokyo is calling! I’m going to round up my friends and we’ll take a night bus both ways. Akihabara, here I come!
  4. I’ve already bought the tickets for my solo trip. It’s gonna just be me, my tiny suitcase, and a hostel full of people I’ve never met snoring all night long.
  5. Maybe I’ll finally get a chance to catch up on my homework! With trips to the ramen-ya and 7-11 as needed, of course.

If you think every weekend is a three-day weekend, uh, what have you been doing with your life? You are a student here, right?

What’s your favorite picture of Biwako you’ve got on your phone?

Beautiful Biwako! (photo by Esiquio Hernandez, 2019 Spring alum)
  1. One where you can see the mountains.
  2. One from the middle of a storm. Bring on the typhoons!
  3. The bluer the better.
  4. One full of ducks. Look at them! Look at their cute little bills!
  5. One with a sunset behind it. Just gorgeous.

If you don’t have any pictures, maybe go take some? It might be in your backyard for now, but you’ll want something to remember it by once you go home.

So, what type of tea is right for you?

Now add up the totals of all of your selections, and find your perfect tea below!

5-8: You’re into nature and appreciating the world around you just as it is. Maybe you relate to Billiken, “God of things as they were meant to be?” The verdict is clear: go straight for the matcha! With its strong bitter flavor, you’ll feel stronger and more tuned in to the finer things in life after just one sip. Matcha is made by grinding up high-quality shade-grown tea leaves into a fine powder, and it’s the type used in tea ceremonies, baked goods, and sweets.

Matcha prepared the traditional way

9-13: You do things your own way, and no one can force you to do anything. People find this either admirable or terrifying, but either way, they look up to you. The best drink for you is houjicha, mild, brown, and with a toasty scent. It’s made by roasting tea leaves until the caffeine levels are lowered and they become slightly sweet. It’s a favorite of children, the elderly, and you.

Roasted houjicha tea leaves

14-17: People consider you the life of the party, and you consider them all your best friends. You’ve got to try Japan’s most popular green tea, Oi Ocha. With it’s signature green label that changes pattens according to the seasons, it always fits in, just like you! Oi Ocha is a type of genmaicha, which means it’s normal tea leaves mixed with toasted brow rice. It tastes a little grainy, a little green tea-y, and a lot refreshing.

So many kinds of Oi Ocha!

18-22: You’re one of those people with a “rich inner life,” aren’t you? Embrace it! People might not see your true personality right away, but once they do, they love it. Go ahead and choose milk tea, that sweet, fragrant, light brown medley of tea, milk, and sugar. It’s tasty either hot or cold. There are lots of different brands of milk tea, in addition to the type you can make yourself, so experiment until you find your favorite.

There’s even “royal” milk tea if you’re feeling fancy

22-25: It’s not that you do things by the book, but that the book just happens to be what you’d be doing anyway. If anyone has a problem with that, don’t pay attention. You’re already living your best life! And the best companion for that life is straight black tea, no messing around. Sometimes you like it sweetened, but sometimes the strong flavor of black English tea is just the ticket. Black tea is popular in Japan, where it’s called kocha or “red tea.”

Kirin’s version of the popular tea

So drop your 100-yen coins into that vending machine, grab your ice-cold or toasty-warm drink, and sit back and relax until your train comes in. Refreshing! Just don’t forget to recycle.

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