Friday, November 25, 2022
HomeTeaTea Adventures of Present Interns

Tea Adventures of Present Interns

Justin, Patrick, Katrina, Hannah, Alex, and Satomi-san right here! Throughout our internship, we went on a number of journeys and tea-related festivals and occasions, each individually and as a gaggle. Being situated within the Kansai area, there are numerous prospects for locating many alternative locations in Japan. On this weblog, we’ll inform you a bit of bit about these journeys since they may encourage future interns and also you, expensive reader, who’s following Obubu’s story! 🙂

The primary week of our internship was wealthy in experiences! We received to go together with Matsu-san to a yearly tea-picking and hand-rolling occasion in Higashiomi. Earlier than the occasion, we visited the sustainable group initiative “Nanohana Mission” manufacturing facility, which cultivates canola oil, in addition to recycles oil to refine it into biodiesel gas on which the residents function the Chokotto Bus “Eco-Tomo”.



It was raining rather a lot that day, subsequently, the tea leaves have been picked earlier than we arrived. The ex-mayor could be very keen about tea, subsequently, he helps this initiative and we had a stunning lunch at his home. Then, Matsu-san taught us and the entire company methods to make Kamairicha: we pan-fried the tea and rolled it on bamboo trays for a number of rounds, and dried it till it was able to drink. After the occasion, we went to see Lake Biwako and had some ice cream collectively.



Shigaraki is situated about half-hour by automobile from Wazuka the place we dwell. It’s such an enthralling city that the majority interns have visited greater than as soon as, not just for the tea utensils but additionally for the sort folks they meet in Shigaraki. Shigaraki ware is a pottery with an extended historical past and tradition that has been produced because the Kamakura interval and is legendary as one of many six oldest kilns in Japan. Additionally it is synonymous with tanuki collectible figurines, and you might be sure to come back throughout some distinctive ones right here!


When you have a yearning for one thing candy, there’s a place the place you possibly can take pleasure in tender ice cream created from Asamiya tea, which is able to fulfill each your coronary heart and abdomen. To not overlook additionally the unforgettable expertise in Miho Museum: the architectural design is built-in into the pure environment throughout the mountainous panorama of Shiga prefecture. The museum displays artwork from historic civilizations together with Japan and the traditional orient, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and America. Picture: Ujitawara.



Present intern Alex Dubovoy traveled with former intern Alex Billingsley to Koyasan, a sacred mountain in Wakayama Prefecture. First settled by the Buddhist monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) in 819, Koyasan has been a pilgrimage website for over a thousand years and is the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. Shingon is a type of Vajrayana, or esoteric, Buddhism, which signifies that it’s significantly totally different from different sorts of Japanese Buddhism and bears sure resemblances to Tibetan Buddhism. Although Shingon has all types of attention-grabbing arcane and secret practices (learn: ghosts, exorcism, fireplace), Koyasan can be a welcoming place for guests. It’s notably recognized for the custom of shukubou or visitor lodging. So, each Alexes stayed at Muryokoin, a wonderful temple, and took part in temple providers at 6 AM (sure, fireplace, a number of fireplace 🔥).


They have been handled to pretty shojin ryori meals, the Japanese vegetarian delicacies usually meticulously served at temples. They sampled native specialties akin to koyadofu (freeze-dried tofu), gomadofu (sesame tofu), and…nicely, tofu. Each Alexes are additionally enthusiastic goshuin gatherers. If you go to temples in Japan, the temple employees will generally provide to jot down calligraphic inscriptions and situation a purple stamp in a particular pocket book (referred to as a goshuinchou).


Collectively, the Alexes will need to have gathered almost 30 stamps! Their go to wasn’t full and not using a nighttime wander by means of the native graveyard, the place Kobo Daishi is believed to have remained alive in fixed mediation since 835 👻 Oh, additionally it was Halloween weekend 🎃


Deer, deer, and extra deer! Lovely temples and classic shops! AND, an exhibition that made our ‘deer’ Mushi Justin (a reference to his intern mission ‘Mushi Mokuyoubi’, i.e., ‘Insect Thursdays’) very joyful: Naramachi Dung Beetle Gallery. Shigaraki, Nara, and Kyoto are probably the most accessible and close by locations for weekend journey, subsequently, the interns went there usually. We advocate going to Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple, Isuien Japanese Backyard, and Naramachi Procuring District. Enjoyable reality: Patrick ran from Obubu’s home to Nara station! (half marathon)


If Nara made ‘Mushi’ Justin joyful, then Dobutsu Justin (referencing his different mission ‘Dobutsu Douyobi’, or ‘Animal Saturdays’) was simply as happy in Kyoto: Arashiyama Monkey Park and the Bamboo Grove! Our pretty temple fanatics Katrina and each Alexes have been additionally excited to fill their goshuinchou to their coronary heart’s content material when doing the Thinker’s Stroll and actually getting into each single temple and shrine for a quick prayer.


This picture is from Tenryūji Temple, one among Woo Jae and Katrina’s ventures, the place the dragon painted on the ceiling in one of many temple’s halls serves as an optical phantasm: the dragon will stare at you irrespective of the place you stand within the room.



Intern Katrina and Hiro-san participated within the annual 5-day enterprise journey to Fukushima metropolis for a kimono gross sales occasion on the “Kimono Iwaki” major retailer. They brewed our beloved Wazuka teas for the employees and clients, the principle teas being Obubu’s Hojicha, Kabuse Sencha, Genmai, and Sakura Sencha. Katrina ended up chatting with kimono craftsmen and came upon that one of many masters makes Sengoku period type kimonos, and one among them was dyed with tea leaves! Iwaki-san was very pleased with the tea and our constructive vitality, subsequently, he generously gifted Katrina a yukata and the equipment that include it. Thanks! The exhausting work was rewarded with 2 days of vacation, subsequently, on the way in which again to Wazuka, Katrina spent that point in Tokyo, which resulted in significant and provoking encounters that proceed to gas her goals. She received to fulfill Tengyo Kura, a Japanese storytelling vagabond; and Jeff Fuchs, a Canadian tea explorer who accomplished the Historic Tea Horse Highway. Take a look at their inspiring work and writings! Tea connects folks (higher than Nokia, no offense).


We additionally had a distant weekly intern assembly, when Katrina was working hectically round Sumida metropolis in determined seek for WiFi. After efficiently discovering it on a avenue close by Tokyo Skytree, George and Woo Jae referred to as (“why is my face on the projector!?”). Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.



As soon as upon a time, Matsu-san kindly invited interns to affix his tea ceremony lesson taught by Nakai-sensei (Urasenke schooled tea grasp). Alex, Patrick, and Hannah immediately agreed and continued their research throughout the internship, in a while, joined by Satomi-san and Katrina. The earlier intern Moe-chan is also one among Nakai-sensei’s college students, subsequently, we extremely advocate her college! George has additionally finished a number of classes! (we’re fortunate to have Alex and Matsu-san as interpreters who kindly translate the lesson, subsequently, heads up that you simply would possibly want some Japanese language expertise by your aspect). She creates a classroom, the place it’s okay to make errors as a way to be taught. We regularly have a very good snicker, and she or he is such a mild and type particular person (Nakai-sensei additionally makes scrumptious wagashi sweets!).


We have been fortunate sufficient to additionally go to the World O-Cha Pageant, a significant tea occasion that takes place each three years in Shizuoka metropolis. It was pleasant to get to fulfill different Japanese tea producers and people which might be keen about tea. For instance, we chatted for some time with Bret Mayer who launched us to the Shizuoka Tea Rolling Preservation Society and their pretty handmade teas. Aside from consuming tons of magical teas, probably the most memorable issues inside this pageant was the Tune Dynasty ​​(960-1279) matcha preparation workshop because the powdered tea that we all know as matcha was dropped at Japan by Zen grasp Eisai throughout Tune Dynasty, i.e., Kamakura interval. The interns received to find out how “dian cha” (matcha) was ​​served: firstly, a small quantity of boiling water is poured (this motion is named “dian”) right into a Tenmoku chawan to make a “tea paste”. The small pours are adopted with vigorous 1000 whisks (roughly, clearly) and this course of is repeated 7 instances. Nevertheless, within the final two, the whisking is far more mild to make the froth as frothy as potential with out massive bubbles. And lastly, we draw with koicha (a tiny quantity of tea paste that’s ready individually), which in Chinese language is named “chabaixi” – historic artwork type of calligraphy and portray on tea froth (within the image, Alex’s kanji for Wazuka). After the pageant, we stumbled upon an izakaya the place the proprietor’s birthday was celebrated, and an ex-mayor of Shizuoka metropolis ended up giving us a stunning lecture concerning the historical past of Japanese tea and its significance in Shizuoka. But, the adventures didn’t finish there.


After attempting one of the best teas from throughout Shizuoka on the World Tea Expo, a number of of the interns went on a spontaneous journey. Whereas attempting to navigate the town, we took an surprising flip that led us to Route 223, which might be learn as “Fujisan” in Japanese. Crossing Shizuoka Prefecture Highway Route 223 is a uncommon expertise as it’s traveled by ferry, throughout Suruga Bay, connecting Shimizu Port and Nishi-Izu Toi Port in simply over an hour. This brief cruise was an incredible alternative for us to calm down and revel in views of Mt. Fuji. Whereas exploring the attractive shoreline of Izu Honto, it was simple to see why that is acknowledged as probably the most visually gorgeous locations in Japan. Alongside the way in which, we took a number of breaks at unbelievable and memorable areas. Amongst our favorites have been: Sawada Park open-air onsen in Nishi Izu, Inashimo Shrine, Matsuzaki City (one other of Japan’s 100 Most Lovely Villages), and Matsuzaki Seashore, the place the day was made full by an unforgettable sundown.


One weekend within the fall, we have been invited to a pageant in Tokoname, additionally one of many six historic kilns of Japan. Naturally, we needed to go. Takayuki-san of Issei-Touen Tokoname (@issei_tokoname) was our host for the day and he graciously took us round Tokoname. The day began with an exquisite sencha and gyokuro brewing demonstration the place we went to attempt totally different tea units from totally different native potters. Afterward, Takayuki-san launched us to many alternative potters (together with one which made dinosaur teaware! [IG: @takawogama] ) and galleries exhibiting stunning items of Tokoname teaware.


We noticed two totally different pottery demonstrations, one involving throwing a kyusu on a standard wheel and the opposite, creating teapots and not using a wheel. Ending off the day we ate dinner with our great host Takayuki-san. Additionally, we  received to pet cat movie star Marron-chan (@kamasaka_marron) and made off with half of Tokoname’s teaware, so nice day general.


Tea connects folks, but once more. Katrina received invited to go to Yamada-san (Chakoubou Yamadaseicha) and Yamaguchi-san who warmly welcomed her to Fuji Metropolis due to their latest journey to Latvia.


Collectively they roasted kukicha in a houroku pan on a Swedish torch in a tea plantation subsequent to Fujisan alongside an exquisite BBQ and many tea, had a quick sencha manufacturing facility tour, and visited Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre and Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine, in addition to had a visit to the Izu Peninsula with its spectacular volcanic coasts.



The subsequent morning, Yuki Takahashi and her household kindly welcomed Katrina for a brief shamisen, shakuhachi, and koto lesson. And at last, a quick official assembly on the Fuji Metropolis Corridor the place tea and the way forward for friendship between Japan and Latvia have been mentioned. We’re wanting ahead to welcoming Yamada-san to Wazuka and Obubu quickly!



Uji is the epicenter of tea! It’s the place the primary tea bush was planted in 1190 when the monk Eisai introduced it from China. Tea is all over the place right here, in all totally different sorts of shapes: tea and pottery retailers (akin to Asahi-yaki), matcha ice cream, matcha ramen, matcha takoyaki, matcha gyoza, and so forth. All of us attended the Uji Tea Pageant, which hosted a number of tea occasions and stalls by varied tea producers and native craftsmen. Hannah and Katrina additionally loved the exhibition on the Tea Museum in Uji. The interns additionally visited Akky-san’s buddy Yamamoto Jinjirou (@yamamotojinjirou) whose household has been rising and producing tea for six generations. They specialise in hand-picked tencha and matcha, that are produced within the oldest tencha drying oven in Japan. They develop solely Asahi and Samidori cultivars, that are picked solely as soon as per yr in spring. The shading practices additionally embody the preservation of custom: Yamamoto-san grows rice to cowl the tea bushes with rice straw as a substitute of the black artificial fiber covers. We had a good time collectively and everybody went residence in a automobile full of baggage of every kind of various tea-related items!


Actually, the employees members have been stunned by how a lot vitality we had for touring in any case these loopy harvests and processing evenings! We’re grateful to Obubu and this internship for these alternatives as a result of it has taught us first-hand about tea A LOT, in addition to made this type of exploration very accessible. Interns are very fortunate to have the assets to go to so many stunning locations in Japan throughout their days off. Thanks Obubu, thanks Japan! We’re wanting ahead to witnessing the tea adventures of future interns and coming again since we made so many great associates right here! 🙂



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