Today I had the best tea in my entire life. It was frothy green tea served in a shallow Japanese bowl by an elegant woman in a kimono. But even better than that, it was at the residence of the Embassy of Japan and was made by the son of the current Omotesenke tea master. This is basically like being made tea by the grand lord of planet earth. He is descended from a family of tea masters that goes back to the year 1522, so you know, they are pretty good at making tea.
Before I drank said tea, I was able to watch a full traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the residence’s tea room, which was really a once in a lifetime kind of afternoon. I had another once in a lifetime afternoon when I was in Shanghai a few years back and let some Chinese kids swindle me out of $80 at a tea tasting. The thing was, I knew they were ripping me off and spouting out lies, but they were so charming about it that I kind of enjoyed myself. Plus, I figured it would make a great story later, being cheated by tea hooligans and all.
When I am not in an embassy or being swindled in China, I like to sip my tea at Ching Ching Cha in Georgetown. Located right next to the Pleasure Place and their subtle, “YOU MUST BE 18 TO ENTER!!!!!!!!!” sign, Ching Ching Cha is like a little island of serenity smack dab in the hustle of the very popular hood. Everyone who works there is of ambiguous age and has skin that radiates health. It’s like they are made of vegetables and sunshine or something. Of course, when I’m there, I figure if I eat and drink enough, I will walk in looking like a dehydrated elephant and leave beaming and bright. So I do. I drink so much tea that I spend the rest of the day peeing, eat enough kale to kill all the high fructose corn syrup I have ever consumed, and pray that one day I will be described as “of ambiguous age.”