I am currently reading Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki, for Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge. It’s an enjoyable read, an unusual and beautifully written book, with not a lot of plot but an abundance of description for thought. There are passages in it that paint beautiful pictures in my mind (the main character is an artist and a poet), and there are parts that make me laugh as the author has fun with us. While drinking tea, the main character had these thoughts:
A connoisseur with time on his hands will elegantly taste this rich, delicately sweet liquid, ripened in the precise temperature of the hot water, by letting it run one drop at a time onto the tip of the tongue. Most people believe that tea is to be drunk, but that is a mistake. If you drop it gently onto the tongue and let the pure liquid dissipate in your mouth, almost none of it remains for you to swallow. Rather, the exquisite fragrance travels down to permeate the regions of the stomach.
And then, a few lines later, he says:
Tea is, in fact, a marvelous drink. To those who spurn it on the grounds of insomnia, I say that it’s better to be deprived of sleep than of tea.