I'm afraid there aren't enough words to really describe this experience, but a few weeks ago a friend and I went pottery shopping for two days on
So here's the deal: I HATE tea. I hate coffee and tea, especially green tea, but any kind of tea. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I always have. I don't understand how anyone can even take one sip without barfing. Hate. I also can't drink anything remotely hot. It's a big deal. But you could NEVER refuse the green tea, so I never did. And in the six or so hours we spent in that area, I had FIVE tea ceremonies. (This one, pictured above, included tiny treats as well. They also tasted like barf.) I met maybe 50 people that day and only one spoke English, so after determining that they couldn't understand, I would say, dripping with sarcasm, "Oh my God, it's more green tea" and then "Arigato Gozaimasu" (thank you very much) or "Aren't I lucky, it's my favorite drink!"
About half way through they day, I asked my friend about his strategy, because he had managed to escape tea time at almost every store. He said that as soon as he heard the dishes clanking together (as they prepared the tea in the back room), he would get the heck out of the store before the owner materialized with that green poison. He's a very sharp guy. I tried this several times afterward, but remember -- I was in pottery shops. So as soon as I started really listening for it, I heard dishes being rustled around every five seconds. I ended up feeling so sick from all that green tea on an empty stomach that I'd hear the "clink - clink" of cup and plate and lunge for the door, only to discover it was a customer just perusing the display in the aisle next to me. This sent us into fits of laughter. What a great time. Ten times a day in Japan fun or crazy things happen that are hard to translate. The green tea-a-thon was just one.