Anime (pronounced Aa-nih-MAY) is a stylized form of animation closely related to manga. English dictionaries define the term as referring to a special Japanese style of motion-picture animation. Many Westerners view anime strictly as an animation product from Japan, but as long as the animation is stylized, it can be from other countries, too. The style dates back to around 1917 and can be either hand- or computer-drawn. It’s certainly an influence on tea drinkers, who can find themselves “going anime” at tea time without even realizing it. That’s where I come in to point out the signs so you can tell how far along your transformation has gone.
1 Facial Expression Morphage
You find yourself using one of the anime-related manga (still comics) stylized facial expressions to tell your host/hostess about how you are enjoying your tea. Hopefully, you’ll be using the enthusiastic and happy expressions most!
2 Tea Preference Changes
Since anime is so closely associated by Westerners with Japan, you may find yourself going for some of the many Japanese teas available (so many that I had to split my write-up of them into part 1, part 2, and part 3 awhile ago on this blog). A fave for many is Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea (loose and bagged). Straight Sencha is also good, and Gyokuro is one that is more top-rated. Hubby and I love the roasty quality of Genmaicha. Plus, there’s matcha which to be enjoyed at it’s best needs a very Japanese approach to its preparation, leading us to item 3 below.
3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration
Since anime is more about realistic settings and interesting camera effects such as panning, zooming, and angle shots, versus more realistic movement of the characters (something that Disney and other modern animators have perfected), you may find yourself moving stiffly but focusing on movements that mimic that panning, zooming, etc. Sudden movements, though, while passing full cups of tea or pouring the tea can be a bit messy. So proceed with caution. Your general tea preparation will involve such things as a cast iron teapot (tetsubin) or a kyusu (generally, a teapot but most often used to refer to a teapot used in Japan and other Asian countries where the handle is on the side, that is, 90° from the spout – more info here). If you’re going the matcha route, a chasen, a chawan, a matcha caddy, and a matcha scoop will be part of your accoutrements.
4 Anime-style Recipes Dominate
Your cooking methods might end up being those pan, zoom, and angle movements that are used in #3 above. I’m not quite sure how your mushroom and tofu miso soup will turn out or how good your sushi making skills will fare (slicing that blowfish is tricky business). You might want to settle for some steamed rice (white or brown), steamed vegetables and seafood, soy sauce, ginger root shavings, and wasabi.
5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments
You can go all traditional Japanese here with a kimono (literally means “clothing”), worn by both men and women but most often for special events like tea ceremonies or by older generations. Or you can dress in a costume designed after some anime character, like the one below (they don’t come cheap, though).
Are you there yet? Have you “gone anime”? If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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