This past weekend, I had the most amazing dessert. A cake, made from high quality matcha (green tea) powder, so delicate and light, without the lingering sugary taste of most American desserts. But what intrigued me most was the label on the box it came in, proudly claiming the company has existed since 1753.
1753. 23 years before the United States was even the United States, this company was making tea. And 261 years later, they were still making tea and exquisite desserts containing tea.
This is one of the amazing things about Japan to me. Shops that make simple things like tea, chopsticks, or handmade paper continue to exist after hundreds of years in the same line of business. One can understand that a company that is able to survive for so long has been able to do something right, and if it involves making the same product the entire time, they are drawing from decades or centuries of previous knowledge to improve upon what they know. Craftsmanship is real in Japan, and it makes its way into the simplest of things, even a slice of cake.