Life Lessons from Kawane, Shizuoka

September 23, 2018

130926-kawane

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)

CREHA TEA PRODUCTS

電車から降りたおばあさんは、改札に行かず、線路わきの小さな道から出て行った。料金先払いだからこれでいいのかな?と見ていると、落ちているごみを拾って駅員さんに渡していた。

夜、宿泊先で出てきた味噌汁は、衝撃を受けるほど美味しかった。おかみさんは、自分ちのお米と実家の海で取れる塩で作ったんだよ、と語ってくれた。

駅まで送ってくれたおじさんが、時間がぎりぎりだ、と車を飛ばしてついた先は狭い田んぼ。「これが昨日の食べた米を作っている田んぼだ」としばらく車を停めて見せてくれた。その後車は再び田舎道を飛ばし始めた。

見回りの警察官とおばあちゃんが玄関先で人生について熱く語り合っている。その声と虫の鳴き声だけが駅の乗車口で響いていた。

茶畑に囲まれた道を歩いていたら、機関車の汽笛が聞こえてきた。壮大な山々が複雑な音の反響を作り出し、天然のビブラートをかけていた。

沢山のお茶農家さんと話が出来た。自分たちのお茶がより魅力的になる為に何をすべきか・・。みんな自分の答えを探しているようだった。

静岡県の茶産地の一つ、川根。
皆さんにしてもらった事、教えてもらった事、体験した事、ちゃんと伝えていきますね。

The post Life Lessons from Kawane, Shizuoka appeared first on YUNOMI.



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