The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice [JFF x Japan at Home]
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JFF Plus: Online Festival 2020 features the broadest Japanese Film Festival program yet, from classic films to 2020’s latest hits, streaming online from 4-13 December for free. We’ve teamed up with Japan at Home to share recipes based on JFF Plus films so you can take your at-home watching experience to the next level!
Yasujiro Ozu’s classic film The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice (1952) follows a childless and unsatisfied arranged married couple living in postwar Tokyo. Cut from different cloths, the wife Taeko (Michiyo Kogure) is a product of Tokyo society, while her husband Mokichi (Shin Saburi) is a working-class man from a small town. Taeko is unsatisfied with Mokichi and his simplistic lifestyle, dedicating himself to his work while she feels oppressed in such an unstimulating environment.
Ozu explores their marriage dynamic through Japan’s rapidly changing postwar economy, finding the balance between tradition and modernity. As indicated by the title, family meals are central to the film, with the Taeko and Mokichi resolutely coming together through ochazuke, or “green tea over rice”, a simple traditional Japanese dish.
Ochazuke is steamed rice that has been partially steeped in green, hoji or genmai tea, often with added savoury toppings such as umeboshi (pickled plum), salted salmon or nori. It’s a great dish for making use of leftover rice and is the perfect quick meal or late-night snack!