Images courtesy of the contributor.
From the moment you get up in the morning, go to the restroom to get ready, have breakfast, catch the train to Minamimakhuari station and take the bus to the venue of Foodex 2014 in Makuhari Messe, the chant of “Arighato Gujaimaso” (thank you) is heard constantly. By the time you leave, after five days of intense work for the preparation of your booth on March 3, to opening on March 4, and packing up on March 7 – the chant dwells in your heart and rings in your ears until long after you leave Japan.
By appreciating every positive move in life and by liking and selecting the best, it was the day of Darjeeling tea in Japan. We certainly won the hearts of Japanese tea drinkers during those four days of Foodex 2014. A still bigger achievement was the discovery of a new contraption in which a one litre glass bottle with a rubber top was fitted with a strainer and a plug for very easy cold brewing and serving Darjeeling for the American iced tea revolution. This was a simple hit; everyone in the Indian pavilion appreciated the smoothness of the resulting liquor in contrast to the normal astringency of hot brewed tea.
A buyer-seller meet was organised by the Indian Embassy in Tokyo along with the Indian Tea Board wherein the issue of MRLs and very stringent food safety laws were discussed at length. The prominent companies like Lupicia, Ambootia, Jayashree and Premiers were present, too. It is important now to maintain the committment to these values, keeping these strict implications to look after the parties involved .Whether it be the laborers, company principals, or the marketing setups – a fair distribution of costs involved at each level so as to truly comply with the certificates like Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Allience, UTC, and so on.
Brewing the teas the right way, enjoying the benefits both in the mouth as well as the stomach is the culture of tea which every society follows. The Orient was the first to do that, and has continued for hundreds of years: Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Taiwanese have distinct, highly developed, diverse tea cultures of their own. When it comes to India, it is the masala chai which is the tea culture of India, but Japan is adapting to masala chia faster than perhaps anyone else.
In all, it is a joy to be in Japan, relishing their way of a superb life – full of tea.