Ocha, a Japanese Magic Custom can Save You for the Rest of Your Life

While I love drinking coffee and the whole culture attached to it, I think it is one of the habits that is endangering people’s health in the West.  Well, it isn’t directly about coffee itself but more about something we have with it; cakes, muffins, and donuts. Yes, the coffee culture is very much tied with these sweets and that is a fun part of it, of course.

In Japan, we drink green tea, or I should say used to drink it, since many people drink coffee now, and we used to have green tea with pickles, not with sweets. We can have green tea with sweets and there are Japanese sweets for it, but green tea goes well with pickles, too.

In Hino Town, our main pickle is Hinona, so we drink green tea with Hinona, but in other parts of Japan, they drink green tea with Takuwan-zuke, Hakusai-zuke, or any other pickles.

The famous pickle to have with green tea is Nozawana-zuke in Nagano Prefecture, which is one of the longest-lived regions I mentioned in this video.


When I lived in Nagano, I remember having green tea with Nozawaza-zuke in the rice field during our 3 o’clock tea break.

We call the tea break Ocha or Ocha no Jikan. Ocha simply means green tea, and we often say “Ocha ni shiyo” “Let’s do Ocha” and it is having green tea with pickles, or Senbei, which is a salty rice cracker.

Green tea itself is considered to be a healthy drink. According to healthline, it’s loaded with antioxidants that have many health benefits, which may include: improved brain function, fat loss, protecting against cancer, lowering the risk of heart disease

I think Ocha is a very good custom. It is so much better than having sweets in your break. Can you imagine how much sugar intake we can reduce if we switch to Ocha custom? If you have coffee breaks twice a day, it makes a lot of difference.

I know, the idea of having pickles in your break isn’t so appealing as cakes and donuts, but it is a habit. Once we get used to it, it becomes a routine. All we want to do is to munch something between our meals, and it doesn’t have to be sweet.

The fact that millions of people in Japan had this custom for centuries suggests that we can do it, too.


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