In 2009, we participated in Japan Foodex for the first time, although our first contact dates as far back as 1986 when young Nobuyasu Muira of Mitsui Norin visited the Seeyok Tea Estate and we started picking up the threads of marketing there.
Japan has always intrigued me. As a child, I concocted a language in which I replaced each of the 26 English letters with Kanji characters and wrote a secret diary using those characters. Later, in the 1980s, Bangladesh TV enticed me with Samurai serials. Then came Nittoh canned green tea and ultimately Darjeeling first flush for Japan. Selling tea in yen was a thrill and 1,200 was a high figure for a kilo of fannings.
In 2010, we visited the Shizuoka tea area and Tatsuo Sano took me to various tea plantations and to the tea-processing factories of the Sugimoto and Marumatsu Tea Companies. The World Tea Museum in Shimada, the Gyokuro House in Okabe, and Maejima Tohe, a Gyokuro Sensei, made a particular impression on me – showing me the ancient tea culture of Japan.
Last year, I came across Matsu of Obubu Tea Farms in Kyoto during Foodex and he recognized his friend Dan in a photo in my Secrets of Tea booklet, which started yet another bond that was further strengthened at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, where he saw the teas of the Doke Tea Farm in Bihar.
On March 11, 2011, a tsunami wreaked havoc on Japan. Matsu led a Tohoku tea caravan to the affected areas last month and our teas were presented there to lift the spirits of those facing severe winters in makeshift dwellings. We became the proud members of International Tea Farms Alliance (ITFA) and plan to attend Foodex 2012 from their Booth No. 8E17.
On March 10 and 11, we will attend the World Tea Farms Festival in Wazuka, Kyoto and review their tea university. We wish to spread the word about this festival through T Ching. Mr. Hara, whom I first met in China few years ago, has been the driving force behind us searching for just the right tea with anti-aging benefits. Japan historically has been a land where immortality was always searched for and we hope to find the secret formula soon through our teas.
what a coincidence, Foodex 2012 opened today..thanks Tching…
I too am fascinated by the tea culture of Japan. You are quite fortunate to have made the important connections giving you access to this unique culture. I applaud the work you’re doing to help those harmed by the tsunami. Thank you from all of us and I look forward to hearing about the World Tea Farms Festival.
there can never be so great tea enthusiasts in the world then the Japanese – every single child starting from the age of 2 was a professional tea tester from this Wood Country of Wazuka near Nara – I was simply amazed – and can not figure it out where our Tea Board is?
Good Luck to you and Matsu at FoodEx and with the following visits to Wazuka.
Thanks Dan – everything was a great success…https://skydrive.live.com/#cid=08EC579C9C3838F1&id=8EC579C9C3838F1%216414&sc=photos
The entire article was great but I’m reeling from what you did as a child with the alphabet! :) We need help here in Southern California in promoting Indian teas BTW.
After whatever I saw in Wazuka I am still dumbstruck and now waiting to go it alone in every nook and corner of the globe…Darjeeling tea can change faces…I had never known that and I think I must go back to my secret diary..ha ha..
Wonderful article and I so appreciate the tea culture of Japan. Your appreciation of the Japanese comes through so well in your writing.
Thanks Katwilson your words encourage me to cover Japan more and more and my recent trip which just concluded few hours ago has really catapulted me into the next horizon…