Claim: A few sips of hydrogen beer enables Japanese karaoke nuts to sing soprano parts and shoot blue flames out of their mouths at dramatic moments.
Status: False.
Example:

[Collected on the Internet, 1994]

January 1, 1994
TOKYO (AP) — Here in the chic pubs of the Aoyama district, the latest fad inspired by beer makers struggling through a sluggish economy is the flammable suds of the new Hydrogen Beer. The latest craze among the environmentally conscious crowd of twentysomethings, the “Suiso” beer made by the Asaka Beer Corporation has been extremely popular at karaoke sing-along bars and discotheques.Hydrogen, like helium, is a gas lighter than air. Because hydrogen molecules are lighter than air, sound waves are transmitted more rapidly; individuals whose lungs are filled with the nontoxic gas can speak with an uncharacteristically high voice.Exploiting this quirk of physics, chic urbanites can now sing soprano parts on karaoke sing-along machines after consuming a big gulp of Suiso beer.The drink comes in a transparent hexagonal bottle imported from the maker of the new American drink, Zima,” according to Hideki Saito, marketing director of Asaka Beer Corp. While the bottles are imported from Tennessee, the labels are made with a 100% biodegradable polymer. The bottle caps are equipped with a safety valve to prevent excess build-up of pressure in high temperatures.The flammable nature of hydrogen has also become another selling point, even though Asaka has not acknowledged that this was a deliberate marketing ploy. It has inspired a new fashion of blowing flames from one’s mouth using a cigarette as an ignition source. Many new karaoke videos feature singers shooting blue flames in slow motion, while flame contests took place in pubs everywhere in Tokyo on New Year’s eve.So far, Asaka beer has insisted that the quantities of hydrogen used in the drinks is too low to create potential for bodily harm. In the factory, the carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the beer is partially extracted and replaced with hydrogen gas. Mr. Saito maintained that the remaining carbon dioxide mixed with hydrogen prevents the rate of combustion from increasing dramatically. Carbon dioxide is a nonflammable gas that is naturally contained in the exhaled breath of humans. However, the company has hesitated from marketing the product in the US due to legal complications.Each bottle of Suiso beer sells for approximately 1,200 yen, or 11 US dollars. The bottles are packed in special crates lined with concrete to prevent chain explosions in the event of a fire.

 

Origins: Initially making the rounds in 1994, this bit of fiction is still in circulation on the Internet and continues to pop up in the media. Additional spurious details about an injured participant engaging in a lawsuit against the brew’s manufacturer and a karaoke bar were added to the story in late 1998.
Folks will believe most anything, provided someone sticks “AP” at the front of it. Though it was decked out to look like it, the above wasn’t a real wire service story. (Even so, this tale has suckered a fine selection of highly-respected newspapers, including The New York Times in March 1996, the Boston Globe in November 1997, and The Washington Post in September 1999. It has also appeared in a widely-used introductory-level college chemistry textbook.)

There is no Asaka Beer Corporation. Due to tight government regulations, there are only five beer companies in Japan: Kirin (40.6% market share), Asahi (37.6%), Sapporo (15.8%), Suntory (5%) and Orion (1%). Nor is there a Suiso beer. Both these names are made up, nothing more than wonderful bits of embroidery employed to give a fanciful tale an aura of believability. Proving yet again that no story is too good not to be improved upon, the following version appeared in inboxes everywhere in late 1998:
TOKYO (AP) The recent craze for hydrogen beer is at the heart of a three way lawsuit between unemployed stockbroker Toshira Otoma, the Tike-Take karaoke bar and the Asaka Beer Corporation. Mr Otoma is suing the bar and the brewery for selling toxic substances and is claiming damages for grievous bodily harm leading to the loss of his job. The bar is countersuing for defamation and loss of customers.The Asaka Beer corporation brews “Suiso” brand beer, where the carbon dioxide normally used to add fizz has been replaced by the more environmentally friendly hydrogen gas. A side effect of this has made the beer extremely popular at karaoke sing-along bars and discotheques. Hydrogen, like helium, is a gas lighter than air. Because hydrogen molecules are lighter than air, sound waves are transmitted more rapidly; individuals whose lungs are filled with the nontoxic gas can speak with an uncharacteristically high voice. Exploiting this quirk of physics, chic urbanites can now sing soprano parts on karaoke sing-along machines after consuming a big gulp of Suiso beer. The flammable nature of hydrogen has also become another selling point, even though Asaka has not acknowledged that this was a deliberate marketing ploy. It has inspired a new fashion of blowing flames from one’s mouth using a cigarette as an ignition source. Many new karaoke videos feature singers shooting blue flames in slow motion, while flame contests take place in pubs everywhere. “Mr Otoma has no-one to blame but himself. If he had not become drunk and disorderly, none of this would have happened. Our security guards undergo the most careful screening and training before they are allowed to deal with customers” said Mr Takashi Nomura, Manager of the Tike-Take bar. “Mr Otoma drank fifteen bottles of hydrogen beer in order to maximise the size of the flames he could belch during the contest. He catapulted balls of fire across the room that Gojira would be proud of, but this was not enough to win him first prize since the judgement is made on the quality of the flames and that of the singing, and after fifteen bottles of lager he was badly out of tune.” “He took exception to the result and hurled blue fireballs at the judge, singeing the front of Mrs Mifune’s hair, entirely removing her eyebrows and lashes, and ruining the clothes of two nearby customers. None of these people have returned to my bar. When our security staff approached he turned his attentions to them, making it almost impossible to approach him. Our head bouncer had no choice but to hurl himself at Mr Otoma’s knees, knocking his legs from under him.” “The laws of physics are not to be disobeyed, and the force that propelled Mr Otoma’s legs backwards also pivoted around his centre of gravity and moved his upper body forward with equal velocity. It was his own fault he had his mouth open for the next belch, his own fault he held a lighted cigarette in front of it and it is own fault he swallowed that cigarette.” “The Tike-Take bar takes no responsibility for the subsequent internal combustion, rupture of his stomach lining, nor the third degree burns to his oesophagus, larynx and sinuses as the exploding gases forced their way out of his body. His consequential muteness and loss of employment are his own fault.” Mr Otoma was unavailable for comment. As well he might be, since he doesn’t exist. There’s still no Suiso beer, no Asaka Beer Corporation, and certainly no such lawsuit. The names used in the piece give an additional clue to its being a leg-pull: Takashi Nomura and Toshiro Mifune are both actors in classic Japanese films, and Otoma comes from Katsuhiro Otomo, a modern director. This newest version makes more of a story out of the tale, turning what purported to be a staid news article about a karaoke innovation into a bemusing report about yet another silly lawsuit. Merely the mental picture of a drunken Japanese hurling blue fireballs at the judges who’d passed him over is enough to keep one entertained for hours. Karaoke is weird enough without anyone having to blow blue flames as part of it.
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Tea equipment is called chadōgu (茶道具; literally “tea tools”). A wide range of chadōgu is necessary for even the most basic style of chanoyu. A full list of all available tea implements and supplies and their various styles and variations could fill a several-hundred-page book. The following is a brief list of some essential components:

  • Chakin (茶巾). The “chakin” is a small rectangular white linen or hemp cloth mainly used to wipe the tea bowl.
 

Two modern “thin tea” bowls

  • Tea bowl (chawan 茶碗; main article: chawan). Tea bowls are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, and different styles are used for thick and thin tea (see Tea ceremony, below). Shallow bowls, which allow the tea to cool rapidly, are used in summer; deep bowls are used in winter. Bowls are frequently named by their creators or owners, or by a tea master. Bowls over four hundred years old are in use today, but only on unusually special occasions. The best bowls are thrown by hand, and some bowls are extremely valuable. Irregularities and imperfections are prized: they are often featured prominently as the “front” of the bowl.
Broken tea bowls are painstakingly repaired using a mixture of lacquer and other natural ingredients. Powdered gold is added to disguise the dark colour of the lacquer, and is known as kintsugi or “joint with gold,” and additional designs are sometimes created with the mixture. Bowls repaired in this fashion are used mainly in November, when tea practitioners begin using the ro, or hearth, again, as an expression and celebration of the concept of wabi, or humble simplicity.
  • Tea caddy (chaire 茶入 and natsume ; main article: chaki). Tea caddies come in two basic styles, the natsume and the chaire, though there is variation in shape, size and colour within the styles. Chaire, which are used for koicha, are usually tall and thin (but shapes may vary significantly) and have ivory lids with gold leaf undersides. Chaire are usually ceramic, and are stored in decorative bags called shifuku. Natsume are mostly used for usucha, and are named for their resemblance to the natsume fruit (the jujube). They are short with a flat lid and rounded bottom, and are usually made of lacquered wood.
  • Tea scoop (chashaku 茶杓). Tea scoops generally are carved from a single piece of bamboo, although they may also be made of ivory or wood. They are used to scoop tea from the tea caddy into the tea bowl. Bamboo tea scoops in the most casual style have a nodule in the approximate center. Larger scoops are used to transfer tea into the tea caddy in the mizuya (preparation area), but these are not seen by guests. Different styles and colours are used in various tea traditions.
  • Tea whisk (chasen 茶筅). This is the implement used to mix the powdered tea with the hot water. Tea whisks are carved from a single piece of bamboo. There are various types. Tea whisks quickly become worn and damaged with use, and the host should use a new one when holding a chakai or chaji.
Old and damaged whisks are not simply discarded. Once a year around May, they are taken to local temples and ritually burned in a simple ceremony called chasen kuyō, which reflects the reverence with which objects are treated in the tea ceremony.

All the tools for tea ceremony are handled with exquisite care. They are scrupulously cleaned before and after each use and before storing.

According to the “Latter Chronical of Japan” (日本後記; Nihon Kōki), drinking of tea was introduced to Japan in the 9th century, by the Buddhist monk Eichū (永忠), who had returned to Japan from China. This is the first documented evidence of tea in Japan. The entry in the “Latter Chronical of Japan” states that Eichū personally prepared and served “simmered tea” (煎茶, sencha) to Emperor Saga who was on an excursion in Karasaki (in present Shiga Prefecture) in the year 815. By imperial order in the year 816, tea plantations began to be cultivated in the Kinki region of Japan.[1] However, the interest in tea in Japan faded after this.[2]

In China, tea had already been known, according to legend, for more than a thousand years. The form of tea popular in China in the era when Eichū went for studies was “brick tea” (団茶 dancha?). The brick tea was made by steaming and pounding tea leaves, pressing this into moulds, and drying this until hard. This then would be ground in a mortar, and the resulting ground tea decocted together with various other herbs and/or flavorings.[3]

The custom of drinking tea, first for medicinal, and then largely also for pleasurable reasons, was already widespread throughout China. In the early 9th century, Chinese author Lu Yu wrote the Chá jīng (茶經, the Classic of Tea), a treatise on tea focusing on its cultivation and preparation. Lu Yu’s life had been heavily influenced by Buddhism, particularly the ZenChán school. (This form of Buddhism is known as Chan in China and Zen in Japan). His ideas would have a strong influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.[4]

Around the end of the 12th century, the style of tea preparation called “tencha” (点茶), in which powdered tea was placed in a bowl, hot water poured into the bowl, and the tea and hot water whipped together, was introduced by Eisai, another Japanese monk returning from China. He also brought tea seeds back with him, which eventually produced tea that was of the most superb quality in all of Japan.[5]

This powdered green tea was first used in religious rituals in Buddhist monasteries. By the 13th century, samurai warriors had begun preparing and drinking matcha as they adopted Zen Buddhism, and the foundations of the tea ceremony were laid.

Tea ceremony developed as a “transformative practice,” and began to evolve its own aesthetic, in particular that of wabi. Wabi, meaning quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste, “is characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry [emphasizing] simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and [celebrating] the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials.”[6] Ikkyū, who revitalized Zen in the 15th century, had a profound influence on the tea ceremony.

By the 16th century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of society in Japan. Sen no Rikyu, perhaps the most well-known—and still revered—historical figure in tea ceremony, followed his master, Takeno Jōō‘s, concept of ichi-go ichi-e, a philosophy that each meeting should be treasured, for it can never be reproduced. His teachings perfected many newly developed forms in Japanese architecture and gardens, fine and applied arts, and the full development of chadō, “the “way of tea”. The principles he set forward – harmony ( wa?), respect ( kei?), purity ( sei?), and tranquility ( jaku?) – are still central to tea ceremony.

Many schools of Japanese tea ceremony have evolved through the long history of chanoyu, and are active today.

The Japanese tea ceremony is called chanoyu (茶の湯, lit. “tea hot-water”) or also chadō or sadō (茶道, “the way of tea”) in Japanese. It is a multifaceted traditional activity strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism, in which powdered green tea, or matcha (抹茶), is ceremonially prepared and served to others.

The get-togethers for chanoyu are called chakai (literally “tea meeting”) or chaji (literally “tea function”). Usually the term chakai is used to refer to a relatively simple course of hospitality that includes the service of confections, usucha (thin tea), and perhaps tenshin (a light snack), while the term chaji refers to a more formal course of hospitality usually including a special kind of full-course meal called kaiseki (懐石) or more specifically cha-kaiseki (茶懐石), followed by confections, koicha (thick tea), and usucha (thin tea). A chaji may last up to four hours.

Lesson 1:

Study of Common Expressions

1. Ohayoo –> Good Morning

2. Konban wa –> Good Evening

3. Konnichi wa –> Good Afternoon

4. Maiban –> Every night or Nightly

5. Mainichi –> every day or Daily

6. Nanji desu ka –> What time is it?

7. Mada ikanai de kudasai –> Please don’t go yet.

8. Kirai desu ka –> Don’t you like it?

9. Tokidoki –> Sometimes

10. Ikura desu ka –> How much is it?

11. Sumimasen –> Please excuse me or Pardon me

12. Nannimo naranai –> Good for nothing

13. Wakarimasu ka –> do you understand?

14. Arigatoo –> Thank You

More Words for Study:

1. otoko –> man                     6. gakkoo –> school

2. onna –> woman                  7. empitsu –> pencil

3. hon –> book                       8. hana –> flower

4. isu –> chair                         9. ottosan –> father

5. inu –> dog                          10. okkasan –> mother

Japan (日本 Nihon or Nippon?, officially 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, People’s Republic of China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan’s name mean “sun-origin country”, which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the “Land of the Rising Sun“.

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands[5] making it an archipelago. The largest islands are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku, together accounting for 97% of Japan’s land area. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world’s tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

Archaeological research indicates that people were living on the islands of Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan begins with brief appearances in Chinese history texts from the first century A.D.

Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan’s history. Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, the Diet.

A major economic power,[6] Japan has the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP, after the United States. It is a member of the United Nations, G8, G4, OECD and APEC, with the world’s fifth largest defense budget. It is also the world’s fourth largest exporter and sixth largest importer. It is a developed country with high living standards (8th highest HDI) and a world leader in technology, machinery, and robotics.