Elvira Helleskov Batko

Elvira Helleskov Batko, Denmark

Intern #159

Instagram: @elvira.batko

Before Obubu

In 2019 I visited Japan for the first time with my family. During the visit, I got curious about Japanese culture and lifestyle. Tea, ceramics, nature, and rituals. Tea has always had a special place in my heart, and it’s something I have always wanted to learn more about. Tea serves as a means for me to connect with the present moment and also contributes to mental relaxation in my busy everyday life. 

Therefore, when I learned that Obubu offers an internship, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me. Because of my general interest in science and health, I was especially curious about the different components of tea and the health benefits of drinking tea. In addition, living in Wazuka was a chance for me to immerse myself in Japanese culture, farming, and of course to expand my knowledge on Japanese tea. Earlier this year I graduated high school in Copenhagen, so therefore I wanted to try something different before starting university. And with all of this in consideration, I thought it fit perfectly into my schedule to move to the other side of the Earth for three months.

During Obubu

During my internship, I experienced all the different aspects of the Japanese tea industry. Our days were scheduled so that every day was different, and we got to take part in different kinds of activities, including everything from harvesting with Akky-san, to helping with different events such as handpicking and -rolling tea. After only a few days we also got introduced to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony (chadō) with Nakai-sensei. 

I have experienced so many different things and seen the different sides of living in the Japanese countryside as well as working in a small company. 

One of my favorite things to do at Obubu was tea tours because I got to improve my communication skills, teach about tea, and meet so many interesting people from all over the world at the same time. It was especially fun when I had to host a tea tour in Danish for a group of Danish farmers!

During the three months the weather changed along with our activities, and when the Autumn harvest started, we got the chance to take part in the whole tea-making process. From harvesting in the tea fields, processing the fresh tea leaves and lastly packing the finished tea. In this context, it was interesting to me how dedicated and passionate all the staff members are regarding their work, and how much effort they put into making delicious tea.

Because one of Obubu’s core principles is education, I got to learn about all the types of Japanese tea, different brewing techniques and parameters, pottery in different regions, the history of tea and so much more. Moreover, I also got to explore other beautiful parts of Japan during the three months, both individually and in groups, and as a result engaged myself even more in Japanese culture – especially by filling my goshuinchō!

I am also very grateful for all the fun times I had with Gabrielle and Emma, and the special friendship we created during the three months: We have so much in common, and I’m so glad I got to experience Obubu with you. Being the youngest intern, this experience has taught me so much – not only about Japanese tea but also about myself and my interests.

After Obubu

After my internship at Obubu, I will go back to Copenhagen and start university. Besides all the ceramics and tea, I will bring home a lot of new knowledge and rituals regarding tea. 

I will always be grateful for all the experiences I have had and all the new relations I made during my internship, and I will hopefully go back to Japan someday. 

It would also be interesting for me to learn more about tea from other countries, and visit tea farms around the world. My appreciation and love for tea has grown bigger and I will miss waking up in the beautiful countryside, between the mountains and in the fantastic nature. When I get back home, I will still be brewing my morning matcha and sharing my love for Japanese tea. I wish the best for Obubu, and hope to be back soon!