Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Shincha Genmaicha green tea review - MastersTeas.com

Sadly, this is the last of the teas I’m reviewing for MastersTeas.com. It’s been so fun to taste the different teas, especially since they’re such high quality and have such complex flavors.

Today I’m reviewing Shincha Genmaicha.


From the website:

Our 2020 Genmai Cha is a lovely early spring version, with fine roasted and puffed rice perfectly in balance with the sweet, tender young leaves. The nuttiness of the rice accentuates the soft umami notes of the tea with hints of crispness in the finish.

Unlike the affordable luxury it has become today, historically, tea was a pricey commodity. The Japanese peasants found it difficult to afford much tea and would mix it with roasted rice, which was abundant and cheap. Thus, they were able to squeeze more cups from the same amount of leaves. A recipe born of poverty, Genmai Cha has acquired an uptown chic and is now a favorite of urban dwellers in Japan and the West.

This tea contains a moderate level of caffeine
Steep at 170° for 2-3 minutes.


I steeped this as recommended, and not gongfu style, since I’d read that Japanese green tea is specifically crafted for the traditional longer steeping in order to acquire the umami flavor.

I brewed 4 grams of tea in 150 mL of 170°F/76°C water for 1.5 minutes, then each successive steep increased in 15 second increments.


I have to admit upfront that genmaicha is one of my favorite types of tea, although lately I’ve also been really enjoying high quality sencha. I really like the roasted rice flavor that comes through, and I will drink even cheap genmaicha very happily.

This genmaicha had a very nutty flavor, and there’s a huge difference between this and cheaper genmaicha. There’s a vibrant green flavor to the tea that I don’t usually taste even in higher quality genmaicha from other teashops. This tea has a flavor that is not as bitter as other genmaicha teas.

The umami is lighter and not as brothy as a sencha, with a fresher taste. (Not that I particularly know what exactly foodies mean by “umami,” but I’m going by what a Japanese cook said about it.)


The second steep was a tiny bit bitter, so the next time I made a pot, I reduced the increment to 5 seconds for the second steep, and that was perfect.

This is probably my favorite genmaicha right now!

Thursday, July 02, 2020

How can I pray for you?

Photo credit: lalalime.blogspot.com
I asked God to make me a prayer warrior, and I realized I was missing out on the chance to pray for all of you, my online friends! So how can I pray for you? I will try to remember to post this at least once a month so I can pray for you.

Prayer requests can sometimes be private things, so to keep your privacy, I’ve made a form you can fill out that will keep your requests just between you and me. Also please be sure to fill out the form again to update me if you sent me a prayer request in the past. I’d love to hear how you’re doing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Shincha Sencha green tea review - MastersTeas.com

I’ve been reviewing some tea samples I got from MastersTeas.com and I’m finally getting to the two Japanese green teas. I’m so excited!

Today I’m reviewing Shincha Sencha.


From the website:

The very first plucking of the first harvest of the year is known as Shincha and is highly prized in Japan. While Sencha has a tendency to be quite brothy with strong umami notes the earliest harvests can be much lighter with hints of sweetgrass. Our 2020 Shincha Sencha is a light, layered cup. The nutty notes of umami hit your mid-palate, while delicate apricot lingers on in the finish. Elegant and lovely.

In the Japanese tea tradition, the texture of the tea itself is extremely important. At the end of the tea making process, the tea master will carefully blend in tiny, broken up 'tea dust' to give the finished cup more body and richness. You can actually see these particles when you scoop out your tea. You also see them in your cup - Sencha should have a lovely, slightly cloudy appearance. This contributes to the 'umami' of the tea (the 5th taste - the others being sweet, salty, sour and bitter). Taste and enjoy the added richness umami gives your cup of tea.

This tea contains a moderate level of caffeine
Steep at 165° for 2 minutes.


I steeped this as recommended, and not gongfu style, since I’d read that Japanese green tea is specifically crafted for the traditional longer steeping in order to acquire the umami flavor.

I brewed 4 grams of tea in 150 mL of 165°F/73°C water for 1.5 minutes, then each successive steep increased in 30 second increments.


When I tasted the first steep, what struck me is that this is a much lighter sencha than others I’ve tried, with a bright flavor like fresh cut grass or carrot tops. The umami is a bit more subtle and not as in-your-face as other senchas I’ve tried.

The second steep had a much more mellow flavor but still a nice, light taste. It was only faintly bitter, although for this cup I happened to leave it in my cup for a bit longer while I took care of something, and when I got back it had acquired a tiny bit more bitterness on my tongue.

The third steep was definitely a bit bitter, and I think I might have steeped it for too long.


I made another pot on a different day, where I steeped it the same except that successive steepings were only 15 second increments. The first steeping was the same, naturally, but the second steeping was better in that it didn’t have that faint bitterness.

The third steeping was much better, without the bitterness I’d tasted in the first pot. It had a mellow but light flavor.

I did a fourth and fifth steeping, but the flavor started to wane for both those steepings, although it was still enjoyable. None of the steepings were bitter, and the tea kept that light, fresh flavor in each successive cup.


Overall, this is a wonderful sencha. The light flavor is refreshing and reminds me of my mother’s spring vegetable garden.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Camy's Matthew devotional book - price goes up 7/1

Just a reminder, the prices of Who I Want to Be ebook and print book go up again next week Wednesday!

For a limited time, my Matthew devotional book, Who I Want to Be, is only $0.99 for the ebook and $3.94 for the print book, which is the minimum marketplace price! Buy Who I Want To Be in KindleiBooks, and Kobo ebook formats, and buy print books on Amazon.

If you already bought the ebook, the ebook versions now have my pastor's foreword, so be sure to update your copies from wherever you bought them. The print version already has the foreword.

This sale is in celebration of the Japanese language version of the devotional, titled 本当の私に, which just released. I am very excited to have my devotional translated into Japanese and available to Japanese women who may be interested in Jesus Christ. If you know anyone who might be interested in this devotional book in Japanese, please do point them to the Japanese section of my website.

This book is a compilation of devotional readings that cover the entire book of Matthew. I was honored to have so many authors contribute to the book, some of them with more than one devotional reading.

Who I Want to Be

A devotional journey through the book of Matthew


For women struggling with all aspects of their lives, 31 authors have written heartfelt devotional readings through the Biblical book of Matthew. We pray that from this devotional book, you will realize that Jesus loves you deeply. You are not alone. There is no place you have gone that is too far away from God, and He can help you to be the person who you want to be.

Compiled by Camy Tang

Contributors:
Audrey Appenzeller
Victoria Bylin
Lyn Cote
Judy DeVries
Danica Favorite
Janet W. Ferguson
Deborah Hale
Eva Maria Hamilton
Sharon Hinck
Kristin Holt
Carole Lehr Johnson
Jill Kemerer
Wendy Lawton
Jackie Layton
Catherine Lynn
Autumn Macarthur
Kathy McKinsey
Dineen Miller
Robin Patchen
James L. Rubart
Renee Ryan
Regina Scott
Morgan Tarpley Smith
Anna Spencer
Jennifer Spinola
Camy Tang/Camille Elliot
Janet Tronstad
MaryLu Tyndall
Lenora Worth
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y’Barbo

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Christian lifestyle podcast in Japanese


My friend Audrey Appenzeller is friends with some missionaries in Japan. They told her about this podcast, which she passed on to me:

”They also mentioned that a fellow Pioneers worker to Japan is currently in the US and started a Christian lifestyle podcast in Japanese. If you know people who might be interested, feel free to pass along the link below. This person is planning to release a new episode every Tuesday.”

The website is https://anchor.fm/teatimewithuspod

Here’s a (cleaned up) translation of the home page (thanks to Deepl):

Welcome to the “Teatime with us” podcast. “Teatime with us” is where Jessica, an American, and Nao, a Japanese, discuss a variety of everyday topics during teatime. It's a Christian Lifestyle Podcast to chat in a casual atmosphere like ☕ ️Whenever you're on your way to work or school, while cleaning up, or maybe during your 3 o'clock teatime, feel free to listen to try it. We will see you at our next teatime!

This would be great for any Japanese speaking people you know who might be interested in Christianity, but it would especially be a great podcast for any Japanese nationals living in the US. Please pass this information on to any Japanese people you know!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Camy’s Worsted Cotton Comfortable Skirt with Lace Edging knitting pattern


I made my original Comfortable Cotton Skirt with a simple eyelet round at the bottom, but this one has a simple antique garter stitch lace edging, “Edging to Trim the Body and Sleeves” on page 43 of the book New Guide to Knitting and Crochet, published in 1847. You can download a free ebook copy of the book here. The edging was originally to trim a Baby’s Knit Body, but I have no idea what that is. :P If you do, please do leave a comment.


I also changed the hip increases to 4 distinct darts rather than 8 sections, but if you prefer the hip increases from my original Comfortable Cotton skirt, you can substitute that.

Like the original Comfortable skirt, this one is cotton for summer, and loose for casual wear. It has a little positive ease and is only slightly flared. The waist is drawstring rather than elastic so that I can loosen it on my fat days or after pigging out at my favorite restaurant.

This pattern/recipe is for my size, but there are instructions at the bottom for customizing for your own measurements.

To fit waist: 32”, hips: 43” (about 7” down from top of waistband) with 1” positive ease
Unstretched measurements:
Waist: 36"
Hips: 44.4"
Hem: 46.2”

Yarn: Knit Picks Whisker Comfy Worsted
Exact amount of yarn used: 284 grams = 619 yards
(I was shocked it used the exact same amount of yarn as my original Comfortable Skirt, even though the shaping and edging is different!)

Needles:
US 6 for waistband
US 7 for skirt
US 5 for i-cord

Gauge:
4.5 sts and 6 rows per inch in stockinette stitch and US 7 needles
(Worsted yarn)
284 grams of yarn = 619 yards

Edging:
I think the original edging had errors as written—it seemed to be lacking a few knit stitches—so I (hopefully) corrected the errors here.
Cast on 7 stitches.
Row 1 (RS): slip 1 st knit-wise with yarn in back, k2, YO, k2tog, YO twice, k2
Row 2 (WS): YO, k3, p1, k2, YO, k2tog, knit last stitch through the back loop with one live stitch from hem
Row 3: slip 1 st knit-wise with yarn in back, k2, YO, k2tog, k5
Row 4: cast off 3 sts (1 st will be on right hand needle), k3, YO, k2tog, knit last stitch through the back loop with one live stitch from hem
Repeat 4 rows for edging.

Note: my lace edging came out rather fluttery. If you want your lace edging to lie flatter, I would suggest that for every 2nd and 3rd repeat of the edging, on Row 4, knit last stitch through the back loops of two live stitches from the hem. You will end up knitting 8 stitches of the hem for every 3 repeats of the edging (as opposed to 6 stitches of the hem for every 3 repeats of the edging, as I did).


Pattern:
CO 144 sts in the round tubular cast on with US 6 needles.
k1p1 until 0.75” from cast on.
(k1, YO, k2tog, p1) 36 times (or until the end)
k1p1 until 1.5” from cast on.
Next round: Switch to US 7 needles and stockinette stitch and place markers every 36 sts (or, if your cast on was a different number, however many stitches to make 4 sections).


Increase round #1: (knit 1, Make 1, stockinette stitch to marker, Make 1, slip marker) 4 times (8 sts increased, 152 sts).
Repeat Increase round every 0.75” four times, then every 1.25” three times (208 sts, 46.2” circumference).
The 5th increase round (about 4.5” from cast on) should fall around your hip bone (give or take an inch).
The 7th increase round (around 7” from cast on) should fall around the widest part of your hips.
The 8th increase round (around 8.25” from cast on) is an extra increase to make the skirt bell out a little and be a bit roomier. You can skip this increase if you don’t want the extra shaping.

As an example, here are my actual numbers:
Increase round #1: 152 sts, 33.8” circumference.
St st for 0.75” (2.25” from cast on)
Increase round #2: 160 sts, 35.6" circumference.
St st for 0.75” (3” from cast on)
Increase round #3: 168 sts, 37.3” circumference.
St st for 0.75” (3.75” from cast on)
Increase round #4: 176 sts, 39.1” circumference.
St st for 0.75” (4.5” from cast on)
Increase round #5: 184 sts, 40.9” circumference, 4.5” from cast on
St st for 1.25” (5.75” from cast on)
Increase round #6: 192 sts, 42.7” circumference.
St st for 1.25” (7” from cast on)
Increase round #7: 200 sts, 44.4” circumference, 7” from cast on
St st for 1.25” (8.25” from cast on)
Increase round #8” 208 sts, 46.2” circumference.

St st until 17” from cast on.


Hem:
Keep live stitches on needle. With a double pointed needle size US 6, cast on 7 stitches using a provisional crochet cast on.
Follow the 4-row lace pattern until all the live stitches of the hem have been worked with the edging, ending with row 4.
Kitchener stitch the live edging stitches with the provisional cast on stitches.

Drawstring: CO 4 sts with US 5 needle, knit i-cord for 46”. After threading it through the eyelets, I strung a pony bead through the CO/BO yarn and then wove in the ends.


Customize sizing:
Disclaimer: I’m not a clothing designer, so these are just calculations for other sizes. I did not test knit any of these.

Take your hip measurement at the widest part of your hips. If you want positive or negative ease, add or subtract one or two inches from your hip measurement. My skirt had about 1” positive ease, so I added 1” to my hip measurements (43” + 1” = 44”).

Assuming your gauge is the same as mine (4.5 sts/in), multiply your hip measurement by 4.5. Then round up or down to a number divisible by 8. This is your hip stitch number, let’s call it X.

Minus 56 from that number X, and that’s the number you cast on for the waist. Because of the tubular cast on and the eyelets, the waistband will stretch up to or maybe even past your hip measurement, and the drawstring will enable you to tie the waist several inches smaller. The waist of my skirt, calculated to fit a 32” waist, was actually about 36” unstretched and stretched all the way up to 46”.

For example, 36” hip measurement, plus 1” positive ease = 37”.
37” x 4.5 = 166.5. 168 is divisible by 8, so round up to 168 (this is your hip stitch number X).
Minus 56 = 112 sts.
Cast on 112 sts for waistband. If your waist is more than your hip measurement, it might still fit but it’ll have some snug negative ease through the upper hip area, and it will only loosen closer to the widest part of your hips.

Another way to customize, especially if the cast on at the waist is really off when compared to your actual waist measurement, is to eliminate or add more increase rounds after the ribbing for the waistband. If your waist is a lot smaller than the unstretched waist measurement when you cast on, you can cast on fewer stitches (in multiples of 8) and just do a few more increase rounds to get to your hip stitch number X. Or if your waist is a lot larger than the unstretched waist measurement when you cast on, then cast on more stitches (in multiples of 8) but do a few less increase rounds to get to your hip stitch number X.

Also, this pattern has the hipbone at 4.5” from the top of the waistband, and the widest part of the hips at 7” from the top of the waistband, but everyone’s pelvis is different. If your hipbone and/or the widest part of your hips is higher or lower than 4.5” or 7” from the top of your waistband, then increase or decrease the number of stockinette stitch rounds in between increase rounds.

If you like romance novels, please check out my list of free short stories, novellas, and novels available on my blog! I write Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang, and Christian Regency romance as Camille Elliot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Remember by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]

Okay, full disclosure, Sawano Hiroyuki is my #1 favorite composer, so I buy almost everything he’s released, even if I have to order the CDs from Amazon Japan. But his RE/MEMBER album is actually on iTunes, which I was pretty stoked about.



This song, Remember, is what I’ve been listening to a lot the past couple weeks. There’s something just really upbeat and happy about it that’s made me feel great while I’m working. It’s a combination of English and Japanese lyrics.



手を止めた一秒で変わるはずないと
気を緩めた後ろで連れ添う音が逃げていく oh, oh
君は黙って見ていた 破けたページの所為で先が読めないように
このまま一つの物語抱いて エンドロール見返してても人が過ぎていくだけ
大人の言い訳にもたれ掛かる前に remember

Let it shine! I will never give it up
All the spirit is gonna let it fly
強がった日の言葉が錆びた夢の体をまだ支えている
Running circles around what is mine
I'm getting closer as I move in time
Wow-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, wow-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Let' em know!
Oh, let it shine!
Oh, let it shine my friend!
そう 誰の弱さも前に繋げる
You remember, purest heart?
And the beauty of the colors
Wow-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, wow-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Wasn't feeling right and all of the gravity tore me down
I needed to figure dilemmas out
Just wanted to break out of borderlands
And shout
Now it's getting clear and I know why
I feel all the waves, it opens up
I throw up my fist to punch the air

And the sun will shine forever
We can feel this even better
See the sky, it's looking brighter
We have begun to think much deeper now
Hear the praise I'm getting higher
But I must control the fire
Keep my cool

Let it shine! I will never give it up
All the spirit is gonna let it fly
And you know every tear is gonna dry
And the moon will shimmer in the sky
Shimmer shimmer for me!
Running circles around what is mine
I'm getting closer as I move in time
Just shine all you want!
Just shine all you can!

Let' em know!
Oh, let it shine!
Oh, let it shine my friend!
So, let it shine!
So, let it fly!
Don't look back again
You remember, purest heart?
And the beauty of the colors
They ran in the rain!
They ran in the rain!

奏でた音が今まだ 背で返されたとしても
未来の指が触れれば 出遅れたその足と歩き出すから
Running circles around what is mine
I'm getting closer as I move in time
Wow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Let it shine! I will never give it up
All the spirit is gonna let it fly
And you know every tear is gonna dry
And the moon will shimmer in the sky
Shimmer shimmer for me!
Running circles around what is mine
I'm getting closer as I move in time
Just shine all you want!
Just shine all you can!

Let' em know!
Oh, let it shine!
Oh, let it shine my friend!
So, let it shine!
So, let it fly!
Don't look back again
You remember, purest heart?
And the beauty of the colors
They ran in the rain!
They ran in the rain!

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Hiroyuki Sawano / Benjamin / Mpi
REMEMBER lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC