It’s now a couple of months since I discovered that I’d been accepted onto this year’s Tea Master Course at Obubu Tea Farm in Wazuka, and I’ve now paid for the course, booked my flight, and got my vaccinations sorted. I’ve got excited, terrified, ok about it, now back to terrified again, but I’m sure by the time I’m on that train to Manchester Airport, I’ll be even more terrified!

I’m lucky that there are lots of YouTube videos about Obubu Tea Farm, often I think done by the interns who spend several months on the farm. It seems that they choose a project to do towards the end of their stay, and some have chosen to focus on promoting the farm on social media. I’m also very lucky that Ailish who is now working in Seibiant speaks Japanese, and is actually going to Japan before me, to teach English there. I have a little crib sheet of basic phrases behind the counter in the shop, and it’s surprising how many people know ‘konnichiwa’! Even more exciting is the fact that the Mayor of Himeji in Japan is visiting Conwy in early June, so we’re hoping we can welcome him to the shop, to say Konnichiwa.

We were given an extensive reading list to work through before the course, and we have those books in the shop, so if anybody wants to have a look, and maybe borrow them, get in touch – they’re rather heavy – more like the sociology of tea, ethnography, history, and a text book of the Japanese Tea Ceremony – seriously strict and heavy! I didn’t know that there are several schools of thought relating to the tea ceremony, and I think we’ll be getting a taste of each of those while on the course. What I’m most looking forward to however is the tea growing and processing, as I think that’ll be useful for the next step in Seibiant’s progress – but more of that in a future blog.

Another big question – me being a notorious light traveller – is the size of bag I take! Do I take a big solid suitcase so that I can bring back teaware and tea, or do I just take my normal size bag, so that I can easily manage it while I’m getting from Osaka to Wazuka! Decisions, decisions!

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