A large portion of my students are businessmen who must learn English for their jobs, but perhaps a larger percentage of my students are housewives who’ve taken up English as a hobby. A ridiculously large chunk of these 45+ women is absolutely. Freaking. Gorgeous. “How gorgeous,” you ask? Stunning gorgeous, I say. Envy of all the 20-something Western women in the room gorgeous. Inspirational gorgeous. GM even IL to F gorgeous. That’s how gorgeous these middle aged women are. Like just about everyone, I’d heard legends of middle-aged Asian women who didn’t seem to age as badly as their Western counterparts. Friends, I’m here to tell you it’s not a myth. My 10 year high school anniversary has come and gone, more and more gray hairs are sprouting at my scalp, guaranteeing a Cruella Deville streak just in time for my 30th birthday and to top that off, I’ve discovered that the cute little crinkle between my eyebrows is actually my first wrinkle. So, yes, I’m gaping at these women whose skin is so smooth that, if I didn’t know they had grandkids or grown children, they could have fooled me into thinking they were 15 years younger than they actually are. I’m sorry, Kayako-san, but I don’t want to explain why “want to” and “wanna” mean the same thing. I’d rather discuss how you’re 45 and can still totally pull off that Winnie the Pooh-print baby doll top whereas if I wore it, I’d look like Baby Jane.
Of course, I can’t ask; these women aren’t paying my company so they can give me beauty tips. Besides, I already think I know why they look as youthful as they do. Keep in mind this is just a stab in the dark – I’m no expert by any means. I was, however, a very science-conscious cosmetic critic and did my share of research on skin care so if I were pressed to give my slightly-more-educated layperson’s opinion, I’m guessing it’s all that antioxidant-loaded green tea. Green tea: it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any time in between. While the traditional East Asian diet has changed dramatically post-World War II when the staples of rice, vegetables and fish began to be regularly alternated with Western-style wheat products, red meats, junk foods, and sodas, the green tea remains a constant.
It’s just a slightly educated guess, but somehow, I don’t think I’m totally far off. So lately I’m chugging it like a madwoman, going through a couple of bottles a day. I’m not much of a drinker so imbibing this much liquid has required a little bit of effort. There are, as a result, bloated tummies, not to mention a lot of trips to the conbini. As such, my green tea expenditures have gone up, er, [fancy math] percent. But I must tell you that I’m already seeing benefits to my recent spike in green tea consumption. Behold:
This is the brand of green tea that I usually buy, and these are the lovely gifts that are lately coming with it. I’m guessing it’s a summer promotion, because prior to this, I’d never noticed green tea coming with free little preciouses attached.
Each present is nicer than the last. My first present was the handkerchief – the perfect thing to wipe away sticky summer sweat. Then came the little plastic stash box. Next, the panda cell phone charm. My most recent gift was the adorable little plastic mirror, complete with its own reusable pouch. Needless to say, I am delighted. And, unfortunately, getting quite spoiled.
This is the green tea section of the vending machine at the train station near my apartment. The other day, I plunked in my money and pressed the button for the bottle with the donut charm, since I figured the pretzel would clash with my little panda. (A panda and a pretzel??? That’s ridiculous!) Imagine my shock when the bottle clunked down … naked. I assumed that the machine had simply made a mistake, until I looked more closely at the red sign below the green tea bottles and saw that it clearly stated that there was only a chance of getting a prize. I was appalled – no prize with my green tea? But there are always prizes with my green tea. I … I … I have a handkerchief and a mirror and a tiny plastic panda and I … I wanted a little donut charm to go with the panda and … and … and I paid 150 yen so obviously I should get something for my contribution to the company and it’s summer and I want it I want it I want it!
Turns out the age-reversing benefits of green tea start with the psyche.