My name is Alexander Seleznev, I’m 38 years old. I came to Japan 11 years ago to study economy at a university in Kobe. Now I own a tea company selling Chinese and Japanese tea.
Today I’m heading to tea plantations located somewhere in Japanese backwoods.
Tea is my passion, hobby and business and I really enjoy what I do.
Welcome to my day!
It’s December 17th, 2011 and I’ve just woken up.
My days usually begin with Richard and a cup of green tea.
Both Richard and the tea are unique in some sense. Richard is sort of noble and sometimes arrogant. As for the tea, it is made of the popular in Japan yuzu cirtus fruit which they sometimes add into hot springs creating an unforgettable aroma.
Weather is perfect and I’m heading to the electric train station.
What remained after the yearly light festival.
It’s 10.45 and I’m waiting for my train. At 1 p.m. I have to meet with my friends to go to the Japanese tea festival.
This is the so called ‘local’ train which makes stops at every station and I need speed. So I keep waiting for an express train.
Maybe I could go there…
A Japanese girl playing with the everpresent creation by Steve Jobs.
Passing a village…
Suddenly, I realized that I might be going the wrong way, so I called a friend of mine who is a travel agent and he confirmed my fears!
I asked the conductor when I could change the train to get to Kamo station and he said, showing zero interest, “The train arrives at Kidza station at 12.26″. In this respect, Japanese people are similar to Germans. They also like accuracy in everything.
I like Japanese farms.
A Japanese Buddhist-style graveyard.
Traditional samurai houses. I find them very stylish.
These black things that cover the tea plantation are used to protect tea leaves from direct sunlight. That is the way they grow high quality Japanese tea.
It’s 12.26 and I’m at Kidza station. Now I have to change the train to go to Kamo station. It’s going to take me 10 to 15 minutes which means that I’m going to be in time!
I’m a philologist and it’s more convenient for me to ask people directly rather than read the schedule for trains… So I asked a man how I could get to Kamo station and he obligingly said that I had to board from the opposite platform.
If only I could see that man again…
Typical Japanese schoolgirls.
When these girls saw me, they began to wisper secretively something to each other which made me think that it was the second or the third time they saw a foreigner.
Some time later, I realized that I was alone in the train..
When I finally found a lady there and asked her if the train was going to Kamo station, she said that it was going in the opposite direction. I had to go back to Kidzu station and take the right train.
It’s not accidental that in Japanese guide-books they often write that in Japan there are people who deliberately show tourists the wrong way. It is fun for them.
When I returned to Kidzu, it was 1.30 p.m.
After that I couldn’t call through the tea center to find out the address where the seminar was to take place. Fortunately, my friend helped me again and found it on the Internet.
The only taxi I found belonged to a 70 to 90 year old driver who could hardly read the address I showed him. Besides, he answered my question “Where are we going to?” with “I don’t know. We have to ask someone”.
I didn’t know for sure that the seminar would take place exactly where the webside said it would but I had no choice and decided to make a try.
These landscapes worked soothing on me.
These is the way they grow another sort of tea. They also protect tea leaves from direct sunlight but in this case, they do it for a shorter period of time.
A tea factory.
We’d been driving for about 20 minuteds when saw a lady. Luckily, she said that she knew where they held the seminar and showed us the way.
Here it is!
Fortunately, I didn’t miss a lot. When I came, people just began to introduce themselves. At the the summit, there were mostly local tea growers, several tea fans like me and several foreigners from Australia, China and Korea.
We discussed how important it is that people know about tasty and healthy Japanese tea and tasted different sorts of tea. I liked local sencha but in general all of them were great. Made in Japan!
Japanese white tea is rare and very expensive.
After that we talked to tea bloggers from the USA and Canada via Skype and discussed peculiarities of tea promotion there. In fact, tea is not very popular in North America.
Then we were asked to choose people to make a speech and I was one of the speakers. I mentioned that we could use Social Networks for tea promotion and it would be very difficult for Japan to compete with China that is experiencing a tea boom right now.
After that, we headed to tea plantations to discuss technical issues of tea production.
After all those discussions, we were invited for a stand-up party.
The organizers of the seminar provided us (the participants) with a bus that transported us to Kabo station.
At home, I was met by arrogant Richard and delicious green tea. As usual.
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