I like my coffee black.
…And for as long as I can remember I like my tea unsweetened. I know most Americans disagree with me on that since you absolutely cannot find an unsweetened tea in a convenience store (at least not around these parts).
Japan is different. Of course you can buy cokes and other sweetened soft drinks in any vending machine （自動販売機*） but there is always a plethora of non-sugared choices. Tea is just too good to be spoiled by sugar.
I don’t mind the fact that sugar has a monopoly with black Lipton teas, but I was shocked to find sweetened ‘Japanese Green Tea’ for sale here in the United States. I thought, “That’s odd. Oh, but thank goodness! They have a ‘No Sugar Added’ Green Tea. Great!” Not so great. ‘No Sugar Added’ is marketing jargon for potentially-cancer-causing-artificial-sweetening-agents. I have yet to find a ‘Japanese Green Tea’ here in the States that is not sweetened.
I don’t mind a coke then an’ now, but I much prefer a drink without all the sweetness. What do they say? I’m sweet enough as is? Besides I have my manly figure to watch.
To solve all that we buy a case of Itoen’s Tea’s Tea once in a while:
* 自動販売機 ji dou han bai ki Vending machine [lit. automatic selling machine] I remember learning that word. A few days later I was working at an English summer camp playing a Charades-like game where our team was to act out the word. The hidden word was ‘Vending Machine.’ I was so proud I knew how to say it in Japanese I blurted out loudly “自・動・販・売・機!!” Bad Clay. Poor Students.
At the same Camp we had a race and I was elected to do the Get ready, set go bit. There were a few native English speaker students mixed with some Japanese racers. As the runners lined up I shouted, “ichi ni tsuite…” and everyone got in position. Then I shouted, “youi…” and everyone prepared to begin the race. But when I yelled, “DONGURI”* the foreigners all took off with precision and speed, but the Japanese students took one step and then fell to the ground laughing! I still feel a little guilty for that. Sorry guys. Again, Bad Clay. Poor Students.
位置について ichi ni tsuite Get set
用意 youi Get ready
ドン！ don! Go!
*Of course どんぐり means acorn: Get ready, get set… Acorn!!