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Life Lessons from Kawane, Shizuoka

Ian |


hiroshi okamotoAs I got off the train, I saw an elderly woman leave the tracks and walk away onto a small path without properly walking through the ticket gates. I thought, did she prepay for her fare? No, she actually went to pick a piece of trash and bring it back to the station attendant.

At night, the miso soup at the place I stayed at was so delicious I went in shock. The okami-san (proprietess at a Japanese inn) said she made it from the rice she grew and the salt taken from the ocean nearby.

I was late getting back to the station, so the man driving me back sped through a narrow road going through two fields. He stopped the car for a second, and said, “This is the field where the rice you had last night was grown.” Then he once again drove the car expertly on that narrow road.

A local policeman and an elderly woman was chatting passionately about life at the woman’s front door. Their conversation and that of the insects were the only sounds echoing at the entrance to the station.

Walking along the roads surrounded by tea fields, I could hear steam whistle from the locomotive engine of the train. The magnificence of the mountains started to create a complex echo, transforming into a natural vibrato.

This is Kawane, one of the regions in Shizuoka Prefecture where tea is cultivated. Allow me to tell you the stories of the people who have taught me, who have done so much for all of us.

–by Hiroshi Okamoto, Japanese black tea master and owner of tea shop Creha. (Translated by Ian Chun)









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