Japanese brewed with some tea-tinged idioms

With cafes starting to reopen, my friends have been trying to get me out for a coffee. I have to admit, though, I’m more of a green tea kind of person.

Due to decades of お茶離れ (ocha-banare, a departure from tea) thanks to the popularity of coffee, I’m worried that us お茶好き (ocha-zuki, tea lovers) are becoming a minority.

Still, no matter the numbers, お茶 (ocha, tea) has seeped into the broader Japanese culture. So much so that we call it 日本茶 (Nihoncha, Japanese tea). For example, I reckon that most people know that now is the time for 新茶 (shincha, tea leaves from this year’s earliest harvest), a seasonal delicacy that appears in tea stores between May and July.

Besides appearing in the nation’s pots and cups, お茶 pops up in the language all the time. For example, 日常茶飯事 (nichijō sahanji, everyday occurrence) uses the kanji for both 茶 (cha) and 飯 (han, rice), both iconic staples of the Japanese diet. We might say, そんなことは日常茶飯事です (sonna koto wa nichijō sahanji desu, such a thing happens every day) to reassure a friend that something is no big deal as it happens all the time.