Four years ago, Obubu traveled to Fukushima as part of a Caravan of Support for the victims of the April 11, 2011 earthquake that had rampaged the region. Wanting to help but feeling powerless in the middle of winter, Matsu-San and Akky-San brought their solidarity by way of tea. Over the course of 20 days, they served Sencha to more than 1,200 people at 40 different events. They met people whose entire lives had been turned upside down by the world’s worst natural disaster and did their best to bring light by way of tea and kindness.
This month, Obubu returned to Fukushima. This time, we had been invited to serve tea in a kimono shop. We weren’t sure how much would have changed or what to expect.
For five days, we worked alongside the diligent and lovely team at Kimono Iwaki as they sold exquisite kimonos. More than 500 ladies came through the doors of the 150-year-old family-run shop and we sat down with them for an introduction to Obubu and our teas.
The menu consisted of:
First at 60 degrees for 90 seconds
Then at 80 degrees for 10 seconds
Lastly with boiling water for 40 seconds
Kabuse Sencha “Salad”
Preparing the steeped tea leaves with a few drops of soy sauce and genmai (the roasted rice found in Genmaicha and a great success amongst the Fukushima crowd)
Genmaicha or Houjicha
We loved getting to share our teas with this community by day and adventuring out with Matsu-San’s college friends by night. We discovered a town almost like any other. Nestled between mountains and beautiful clouds, Fukushima has an active community full of dreams and projects, steadfast in leading a renaissance to show the world that Fukushima is much more than just a nuclear disaster zone. Thank you Kimono Iwaki for the opportunity and thank you Fukushima for sharing your brave and optimistic charms with us. Obubu will be back!
Written by Elsa Carette