Not Her Cup of Tea – Part 14

“So, as I was saying, caffeine is a better choice for flavour. But in the long run? I’d vote for matcha.”

“I agree.” Katherine nodded, sipping on her tea. She could get used to the slight astringent taste of the matcha now, although a part of her wished that it was hazelnut coffee instead.

“It’s just, I’ve never felt more alert! Do you remember the Vriksasana pose?”

“How can I forget?”

“Yeah, well, I let my friend in on the matcha secret and she could do the pose for like 4 full minutes.”

“Good for her! I wish I could do that.” She sighed. Ginny cocked her head to the side.

“But… haven’t you been taking his classes?” She asked, pointing to Julien. Katherine nodded. “Yeah, but ask him. My Sirsasana pose was a disgrace.”

“Nonsense!” Julien chuckled. “It was fine. We could do a bit more practice on that pose, and now that you’re on matcha, you’ll feel even better after doing yoga!”

Something popped in Katherine’s head. She recalled when she went to the little oriental shop down the street from her home and the small green packet she bought. “Well, now that you mentioned it, what brand of matcha do you drink?”

“Well, good thing you asked that, because I, brought this,” Julien said proudly, lifting what seemed to be a big packet of matcha tea out of his duffel bag. “I was going to show it to the class tonight, so, ta-da!” The colour of the packet he was holding was the kind of green an amateur artist would associate with trees and grass. It was the kind of colour that Ken would pick out for his drawings of landscapes whenever Katherine would bring them to the park. A pale green, but luminous against the black fonts.

But the shade could never compare against the deep, dark green that Katherine saw in her cup that Akira gave her.
It looked rather pure, she thought. Maybe I shall ask him about his brand of matcha.

Speaking of which, she wondered if she should even forgo the entire case altogether.
He had been quiet for days now, and Katherine didn’t know if he was still keen on her marketing plan or if he had decided to go with that new brand manager. Or whatever Isabelle Jenkins claimed she was.

Ginny squinted her eyes at the characters “抹茶” on the packet, but she couldn’t make them out. “What do those say?” She looked to Julien for an answer.

“Well, it says, matcha, in Japanese.”

“So you read Japanese now?” Katherine couldn’t help but raise her brows dubiously at her friend. He snickered and turned the packet around so she could see that the characters were, in fact, translated at the back of the packet.

“Okay, don’t get all excited now,” Julien held his hand up. “But look what it says here. Benefits of Matcha includes antioxidants-”

“Yeah, yeah, no, I know about that. Next.”

Julien continued. “Metabolism-”

“Next.”

Catechins.”
“That’s a type of antioxidant in matcha, improves nerve-related disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s,” Katherine explained to Ginny, keeping her tone light and matter-of-fact. “Next.”

“And caffeine,” Julien grinned. “ Matcha contains a higher level of caffeine than coffee without all the jitters .” He read, shuddering his body to illustrate the word, “jitters”.

Ginny had already slid next to him, mainly because the man smelled nice. She continued reading the accompanying sentences.
With that amount of caffeine in a good cup of matcha tea, it can improve multitasking skills, memory, and focus abilities and decrease the level of work-induced fatigue. Woah, that’s cool.” She said.

But Katherine wouldn’t budge. “Okay, it works better than coffee, and helps in the anti-aging process, but what about skin conditions?”

“What skin condition?” Julien asked.

Sitting across from him, Katherine glanced at Ginny, and then laughed nervously.

“Right. About that…”

“Hmm,” Akira grunted, his eyes still on the piece of paper holding Isabelle’s information laying on the ground in front of him. Leaving it there, he turned to Katashi. “Do you know that Katherine takes our company’s small budget into account?”

Despite having been around her for less than a month, Akira could tell that Katherine’s insights into the company’s marketing plans will be a tremendous help to bringing his company off the ground where it was doomed to crash. After all the years and hard work he had put into the company, and in the name of his family, he swore to never let that happen.

“She knows about that?” Katashi asked, surprised.

“Of course she does, musuko. She’s been very helpful so far. And I don’t want to see those efforts go to waste. We have to at least try, with her help.”

The tension in the room grew thinner as Akira showed his son the graphs that he had shown Katherine the other day, when he finally told her about the budget that Nihon’s Teas had. The line graph hiked up steadily at first – but had stooped significantly for the past few months.

Katashi took a deep breath. There was no denying it. Nihon’s Teas simply couldn’t afford a top-rated brand manager.

He faced his father, and he could see his father’s eyes searching his face for an answer, desperately looking for any signs that could give away whether or not he had his son on his side. Then, Katashi felt a soft, warm feeling creeping up his chest. It tasted a lot like an apology – a sincere apology. He hadn’t really noticed how hard his father had been working to help save the company. Even in his stubborn ways, he still managed to work around the budget and found an affordable marketing agency for food and beverage distributions.

The warm feeling in his chest grew bigger.

“All right, Otosan. You’re right. I’ll call her off.”

“Do you have a problem, Kat? Because I know this skin doctor, a dermatologist. She treated my sister for her acne, and I bet she could help you, you know.”

“No, no, no! It’s fine. I’m fine, I’m sure it isn’t serious. In fact, I may have found a remedy,” she pointed out, jutting her chin towards the green packet on the table. Julien turned to look at what Katherine was pointing at, and his brows furrowed.

“Matcha?”

“Yeah,” Katherine said.

“I don’t get it.”

Rolling her eyes, Katherine gestured to Ginny to hand her the green tea packet. Her eyes scoured the entire packet for the name of the company, hoping that the company had a website. She tapped on her phone until she found the green tea company’s web page. “See,” said Katherine, turning her phone around so that her friends could see.

The web page on the phone screen displayed the numerous cases in which matcha could make better, such as Alzheimer’s, or skin diseases. It even had a small column on the right where regular customers could post their positive experiences with the green tea. One of them mentioned symptoms that matched Katherine’s, and that was what she decided to show Julien.

It took him a full minute to digest what was written on the web page before turning his attention back to her.

“So?” He asked.

Katherine pulled back her sleeves…

Continue Reading Not Her Cup of Tea – Part 15