Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jet Lag & Japanese Green Tea


We returned home to Napa yesterday after two glorious weeks of vacation in Japan. Our nine and half hour flight on ANA airlines went smoothly. Tokyo to San Francisco, non-stop. Unfortunately, we were not upgraded this time around, and subsequently wecwere squished into coach seats. We suffered through by watching movies (The Hurt Locker, and Invictus), playing a fierce game of Scrabble (I won), and eating Japanese rice snacks. We tried stretching our aching legs under the seats in front of us, to no avail. We both agreed that we got way more exercise then we expected on this trip. Let’s just say that the Tea Drinker has plenty of footage of me limping up and down the maze of stairs in every subway and train station in Japan.

We started to doze off as we descended to SFO airport. Just our luck! Upon arrival, we were able to whiz through immigration, and make it to our car in less than 30 minutes. The beauty of carry-on luggage! The immigration agent looked at us strangely after inquiring about our length of stay in Japan, and wondered if we indeed had all of our luggage. Yes, sir! We are efficient, and super travelers (see photo above). And, yes we are bit punchy from a combination of little sleep, a serious omega-3 overdose and lack of American junk food.

As soon as we hit Highway 101, we started planning our next American meal. Do not get me wrong- we absolutely loved the food in Japan. The fish is the freshest and most tastiest we have ever had. But, eating raw fish, miso soup and rice day in and day out, made us realize how much we love Mexican food, and cheese! The works, please. Sour cream and guacamole on top, too! We debated on whether or not we would need to make two stops: one for me at Villa Corona for the Taco Salad, and another for the Tea Drinker's favorite Tacos Laplayita's Pastor burrito. In the end, jet lag won, and we walked to the closest Mexican joint. It was delicious. First time we had ingested gooey cheese, salty tortilla chips, hot sauce, and refried beans in almost two weeks. That sets a record somewhere, I'm sure.

I must also admit that on our way home, I started plotting while the Tea Drinker snoozed in the passenger seat next to me. None other than The Wing Stop was on my list. You have heard me go on about this addiction of mine before; I just could not drive by without getting a combo chicken wing order (Original Hot and Parmesan Garlic). And, I wonder why the lovely people of Japan are all slim and trim?!

Jet lag is a strange thing. It's like altitude sickness- sometimes it renders you useless and another time you are left unscathed. We arrived home (5:00am Tokyo time), and felt like we could take on the day. We got right to work: played with the cat, started unpacking, put in a load of laundry, munched on chicken wings, called friends and family, and then hit the wall. We ran to our beds, and settled into a strange slumber for three hours where we dreamt of yen monies, sake, sushi, and subway schedules. I felt the sensation of being on a boat. A combination of a woozy and sinking feeling as I slipped deeper into some unknown bliss. Then, woke up craving Mexican food and a good bottle of wine. Mission accomplished. Then again, felt like I could take on the world only to crash a few hours later and sleep until nearly 1pm the next day.
Today, we are zoned out and fighting sleep at every turn. Trying our hardest not to look at our work inboxes as the email is mounting, and the schedule of next week is looming. Just one more day of rest, and then the sweet memories of Japan will reveal themselves as we settled back into our normal routine.

I am certain that drinking green tea can help minimize jet lag. I have read that of all the amino acids found in green tea (Genmaicha), the most prevalent is L-theanine, which induces relaxation. One should drink loads of green tea (Gyokuro)in the days leading up to flying across time zones, and avoid alcohol and sugary treats. Oops. And upon arrival, drinking green tea can help you stay awake, and focused, and at night can help you relax, and fall asleep. Again, avoid alcohol and fatty foods. Oops. L-theanine increases your serotonin levels, and can help you remain calm, and ease the jet lag jitters. Too bad, we are so darn tired that we can’t muster the energy to dig out our new Japanese green tea finds. It will have to wait until tomorrow or at least until after another nap.

Drink Drink the Leaf loose leaf green tea and reap the health benefits.

1 comment:

Okuma said...

Though green tea has caffeine which boosts your metabolism, studies show that Wu-Long tea actually has about half the amount of caffeine that green tea has, yet contributes more to weight loss due to its polyphenols.