2023 March round up

Welcome to the first instalment of the monthly tea nursery newsletter. This aims to be a monthly letter rounding up everything that has happened inside and outside the tea nursery in the last month.

Welcome to the first instalment of the monthly tea nursery newsletter.

This aims to be a monthly letter rounding up everything that has happened inside and outside the tea nursery in the last month.

We have a logotype

As you might have noticed on the blog and the social channels, we have a logotype now! The logotype was created in collaboration with a local artist from Göteborg. Please check out her work. The logotype was drafted in a coffee shop sometime in February, if not mistaken. It takes root in the connection between Zen with tea and tea with Zen. I am really pleased with the result.

I plan on doing stickers or some other small items at some point. Let me know if you want me to look into something in particular. It could be a good way for people to help me cover the cost of hosting the blog and the other tools I want to bring online.

Recent Activity

Activity on the blog has dropped significantly. In particular, on the more opinionated and informal posts this past month. In January and most of February, I stayed home due to a fracture in two ribs. I am fully recovered now. The sick leave gave me time and space to work on the blog and posts. As well as to think about the logotype and future content I would like to focus on. Like the notes, a type of content that is more research and objective. These sorts of posts take a long time to produce and revise. My idea is to offer, with time, a network of notes with a note-linking system that is easily accessed and searchable. My version of a digital garden/knowledge base for tea. You can see a preview of how it could end up looking here.

This month's time has been used on expanding and refining the first half of the note dedicated to Kamairicha. In the first part, I focused on the Ureshino and general information about it. While the second part focuses on the Aoyagi style, the sun-dried variant and some interesting historical developments that would need more research to fully expose. These two parts relied heavily upon a paper from 2018 by Takayoshi Sakamoto. If you can read Japanese, it is an excellent read to learn more about Kamairicha tea, he is the author of two more papers more focused on both the Ureshino and Aoyagi styles, but there are very thematic and did not get into it for this initial rounds. I also referenced a lot of information from the blog from Senchado and the incredible trove of knowledge that Florent makes available on the Japanese tea sommelier blog.

Tea events

Late last month, I had the opportunity to participate in the meet the farmer event organized by the Global Japanese Tea Association. It is a monthly meeting where you get to taste two teas with the farmer and get the opportunity to ask questions directly to them. Although the event was in late February, I published a morning brew post about the aromatic sencha we enjoyed in early March. So it counts as a March thing to me. The farmer invited this time was Morihiko Yamamoto, an innovative farmer from the Makinohara plateau in Shizuoka. You will see connections with that prefecture if you read the last update on the Kamairicha post.

On the 29th of March, I will participate again in the event, where we will meet with a female tea farmer from the mountain tea region of Shizuoka. Looking forward to enjoying her tea and writing a blog about them on the blog.

Not sure if it counts as an event or not. But this summer, the Global Japanese Tea Association is restarting their master course. I am eager to participate in the summer edition this June. I will write about my experience as I did with their foundation and intermediate educational courses. It is a 2-week course, so not everything will be in one single post on the blog. Still haven't decided on how to do it. Anyhow, if you have taken the foundation or the intermediate courses, inscriptions for the autumn edition are still open until the 15th of May, 2023.

Books and other interesting reads

This month I have read two books about tea. I will not promise to bring a book every month to talk about in the blog or the newsletter. I usually focus my time on more general knowledge now.

The two books are significantly different from each other. One is about the historical economic development view of tea. While the other one is more of an anthropological study of the tea ceremony in northern Japan.

The first book is titled A Bowl for a Coin: A Commodity History of Japanese Tea by William Wayne Farris. This book came to my attention thanks to Ricardo from My Japanese Green Tea blog, where he posted a review sometime in early February. At the end of February, I decided to give it a look. It was a fascinating read, an in-depth look into the history and economic role that tea played or not at certain times and how it shaped Japanese society and probably improved the general health of the population at some point in history. I would love to write a review of the book at some point. But it would be a significant challenge to condense the amount of information exposed in that book.

The second book was Japanese Women, Class and the Tea Ceremony by Kaeko Chiba. A book about the complexities of class among tea practitioners from a woman's perspective. By an author who is a daughter and granddaughter of a respected tea ceremony teacher in Akita city, in northern Japan.

Other fun stuff

I have been considering making a small playlist to use during tea sessions. Please send me your recommendations for songs, albums or other playlists. I have also been playing around with the idea of making a small podcast for the blog. It would be mainly to talk, not just about tea but how I have been researching a particular topic or any other topic that didn't make it into the blog yet. Similar to this newsletter but in an audio format, which is probably way more digestible than this 1000+ word newsletter.

Let me know your ideas, thoughts and suggestions for the playlist and the podcast. And please send me any ideas on topics you would like me to cover on the blog. As always, you can help the blog by sharing this newsletter or any of the blog posts and sharing it with a friend or family member that could enjoy it.

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