2023 June round up

Welcome to this delayed version of the June round-up newsletter. A monthly letter about everything that has happened inside and outside the tea nursery.

GJTA Master Course

In previous newsletters, I announced that I was participating in the GJTA Master Course in Wazuka, Japan, this summer. I am writing this newsletter on the last day of the course, the 30th of June, and later than usual. The tea course, the activities, meeting with farmers and getting to know the other participants and the teachers has been a great experience and taken most of my time.

The 2-week course is ending today, with a visit to the pottery region of Shigaraki 信楽焼 and a Senchado 煎茶道 tea ceremony. I wrote an article going through the first and second days of the course, but I might redo it into a brief explanation for each day instead. I still struggle to condense my writing. And honestly, I like long-form posts. More on the course later, as I did with the Foundation and Intermediate courses.

In the meantime, I would like to share how amazing it was, to meet the farmers and their families. The extreme effort they put into their craft and product is misunderstood, unknown and undervalued.

Recent Activity

Recent activity on the blog has slowed to a halt due to the trip and the course. Only the pre-arrival for the tea course has been published. I have been posting several stories on the Instagram account of the blog. There you can see parts of the topics we studied and mostly pictures of the beautiful town of Wazuka and its tea fields.

I have countless notes and new information to catalogue in my note-taking system. I will update some blog posts with additional information and write new ones that bubbled up during the lectures.

The tea vault project

The Tea Vault will launch later this summer, hopefully in September at the latest. I still have two weeks of vacation in Japan, and I want to make sure the initial launch gets to the hand of some of you first to test it out. Reading on the blog website might be more convenient, especially on phones. But on the other hand, having the ability to use back-linking notes. See what is getting connected into a post or branch out is a great learning experience. Where you can jump in and out of your reading while still learning from related content from your original reading topic.

What is next

Having spent two weeks in Wazuka and the Kyoto prefecture has expanded the number of notes, places, and information I have about the region. I will update the Kyoto prefecture post once I return to Sweden at the end of the month. I will also continue with some tea types posts, as I have learned immensely about their cultivation and production during the course. At the same time, I will prepare material for the tea vault project, so it will be intense background work for the blog. The schedule for the publication, as always, will be when the posts are ready.

I have been thinking about what to do with the cultivar genealogy tree I produced a while ago. During the course, I had the opportunity to meet with someone with much more experience with that sort of work. Hopefully, we can show you collaboration soon.

Books and other fun stuff

During the trip to Japan, I started reading Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan by Eric Rath. Before that, I read a paper he wrote about the development of Kaiseki cuisine. Rath's article explores the relationship of Sen no Rikyu 千利休 and Endō Genkan 遠藤元閑 with Kaiseki. The book is a long way to learning part of the development of tea ceremony cuisine. But it is nonetheless an interesting read to understand the background context and learn about the historical development and definition of Japanese cuisine.

That is it for this month. The final touches to this newsletter have been written somewhere between Nagasaki and Kobe. We visited the Ikedoki team in Higashisonogi and learned from the commercial and cultural role that Nagasaki, Saga and Kyushu played for Japan and Japanese tea.

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