We are in the rural city of Kyotanabe, Kyoto.
Various flowers are in bloom, saluting the arrival of spring.
As usual, Maiko and her grandfather are on a walk toward the nearby tea fields.
Grandfather is a skillful tea master.
Maiko and her cat, Chataro, love to come to the tea fields with grandfather.
"Grandfather, what kind of tea do these tea bushes make?"
"These tea bushes produce a tea called Gyokuro."
"Does this tea taste good?"
"Yes, it is very delicious!"
In the tea fields is a little tea bush Maiko particularly likes.
This young tea bush is round and cute and just about Maiko's height.
Will this little tea bush make delicious Gyokuro too?
One pleasant morning, Grandfather says to Maiko,
"Today is a very important day for Gyokuro!"
As Grandfather said this, he began to put a black shade over the tea bushes.
Is he going to cover the little bush as well? Maiko wondered.
I feel sorry for the little bush because it is so small...
However, the little tea bush was covered with a shade as well.
When Maiko thought about how the little tea bush must feel,
her heart was afraid and she became very sad.
That night, Maiko dreamt of the little tea bush.
"Why does Grandfather block us from the sun?
How can he be so cruel?"
As the little tea bush said this, it began to cry.
After about a month had passed, Grandfather came to Maiko and said, "I have something very special to show you!"
"Today I took off all the black shades just for you!"
"Wow! The tea bushes look so beautiful!" said Maiko.
Although they were the same tea bushes, bright green leaves had grown onto them and it made the bushes look as if they were sparkling.
Maiko and her grandfather went to look at the little tea bush.
"Look, even the little bush has bright green leaves!!"
"You see, Maiko, just as your body grows while you are sleeping, the Gyokuro, when it is covered, gains vitamins and becomes tastier as it grows new leaves. And even this cute little bush can produce delicious Gyokuro."
As Grandfather said this, the little bush looked as if it nodded happily.
"Let's go! The time for the harvest has come and we will soon become very busy."
In a very short while, through the hands of many helpers, baskets became filled with the new leaves.
"This will make delicious Gyokuro, won't it?!
Grandfather, I can't wait to taste it."
"Is the Gyokuro tea I made delicious?"
"Oh, yes, very delicious!! Inside this tea, there must be leaves from the little bush too. Grandfather, please never stop making this delicious Gyokuro!"
For more information, please refer to Chako's Tea Exploration Adventure
Note: For the brewing of Gyokuro leaves, it is important to let the boiled water cool off first.
For more details please refer to How to prepare delicious Gyokuro