I knew that there would be some things that I'd realize about life in Japan only after coming back to the U.S., but this is one that I never expected and couldn't have guessed. Awhile back, I posted about the habit in Japan of bleaching the crap out of everything, especially drinking cups. At that time, I thought they did this because of an obsession with things looking clean that those of us in the West lacked. It turns out that there may be a bit more to it than that.
Just before Christmas, my brother-in-law came back for a visit and, to my utter delight, brought me some debu neko cups. I love the old debu neko (chubby cat) design and collected quite a few of these stuffed toys before coming to the U.S. The mugs he brought are just another way of bringing a little of their charm into my day and I switched over from a French-made cup (on the right in the picture above) to these charming little cups.
I have been drinking tea in the green cup on the right for quite some time and washing it by hand with regular dishwashing liquid. Shortly after I started using the debu neko cup from Japan, I found that it didn't wash clean the same way that my other coffee cups do despite having the exact same beverage and the same washing regime. I do not know why this is the case, but the Japanese cups stain from tea in a way that the other cups I have do not (and in a way I experienced in Japan for years). I'm guessing there is something about regulations or composition of the material that is different, but I now know why they bleach everything so often. If they don't, their cups will look like the cup pictured above on the left.
I don't miss this tendency for the cups to stain. In fact, now that I have these adorable cups and intend to keep using them, I can't possibly miss it. ;-)
Wow, I would be interested to know what the difference is.ReplyDelete
As my soon to be 5 year old grandchild would say, 'YUK!'ReplyDelete
Now I know that there is one more good reason for the fastidious nature of the Japanese people.
For a moment I thought you were going to talk about folks in the Navy. My project coordinator is ex-Navy and a coffee drinker.... his cups are beyond stain-orific but he doesn't wash his cup. I hear it's common in the Navy? I don't know too many Navy folk though.ReplyDelete
I think that, if you just rinse them out and don't wash them, they will stain no matter what. However, I only noticed this because of the contrast between the Japanese mugs and the French-made ones. I wash them all precisely the same, and will have to do something different with the Japanese ones over time. For now, I'm just leaving the stains in them, but it does look bad and I wouldn't use them with guests!Delete