First Tea of the Season

Reimu Hakurei is a shrine maiden who enjoys drinking tea on the veranda of Hakurei Shrine. It was the season for new tea, so Reimu decided to visit a tea shop. What tea could she be looking for?

Eighty percent of the green tea produced in Japan is sencha. It comes from steaming new leaves, crushing them, and drying the remains. It is both produced and consumed mainly in Japan. Depending on how it is brewed, different tastes can be experienced, which is one of the exciting things about tea.

The "first tea of the season," or "first-grade tea" as it's also known, is tea made from the earliest tea leaves harvested that year. Spring begins when the winds grow warmer, and the melting snow sends water flowing down the mountains. The first tea harvest begins eighty-eight days and nights from then. After a harsh winter, the tea plants that survive begin to sprout leaves full of nutrients. It goes without saying that they taste delectable. Since long ago, tea has been cherished as a charm of sorts that grants people long life.

Reimu's goal was to get the first tea of the season. With a smile, Reimu thought back to all her pleasant memories spent out on the veranda drinking tea. She remembered the quiet moments when the warm spring breeze would blow away all the stresses of her day-to-day life. If this year's batch could bring her more moments of bliss, she was prepared to pay whatever it cost. It only lasted a second, but as she finally got her hands on some tea, she frowned. The next instant, though, she was headed for the register.

Suddenly, a battle for a discount began! Reimu's plan was to bow her head and beg for a lower price. She applied the textbook strategy of appealing to pity by showing how desperate she was. But the shop owner simply nodded in assent without even trying to haggle. Reimu was taken aback but then quickly rationalized that the shop owner must've been acting nice because she's a regular customer, unaware that it's really hard for people of the village to refuse a direct request from the Hakurei shrine maiden...