Itsaya Gérard

Itsaya Gérard


Intern #151

Instagram: itsaya.grd



I knew Obubu thanks to Jean, an assistant manager, I met him at Palais des Thés, as a previous employee, and we talked a lot about tea. Because I used to write Japanese everywhere, even in the shop,  we talked about my passion for Japanese culture. Obviously, Obubu arrived as a topic of discussion because we talked about my dream to come to Japan. It sounded like a dream to me; be in Japan, work in a Tea Farm and learn more about tea!


My passion for tea started when working in a tea shop, Palais des Thés, in France. A very good place to learn about tea; with tea from all over the world, explanation books, different teawares and patient co-workers to teach me. 

It’s the perfect place to do a lot of comparative tasting between each country and discover new teas every month!

We have many different kinds of tea, so it’s difficult to know deeply all the characteristics and properties of each tea. We can’t focus on just one. That is what Obubu brought to me; Japanese tea knowledge. 

I was so happy when I was accepted, I couldn’t believe it, my dream would come true! 

It’s difficult to learn deeply about Japanese Tea in France which is why I was so happy to have the possibility to increase my knowledge. I was so intrigued by the harvesting machine and the processing, especially the steaming machine. 

I grew up in a circus so I lived in a community for 14 years, I travelled around  France and nearby countries, so I was excited to live with a lot of people again, it’s an atmosphere that makes me feel good. 

Also, I studied Japanese and Japanese culture at University, I really wanted to speak Japanese and be part of daily Japanese life. So, as a tea lover and big fan of Japanese culture, I was so impatient to come to Obubu!


I remember the first day I arrived at Obubu, especially the feeling on the bus to see tea fields everywhere in Wazuka. The river seemed incredibly beautiful to me, the forest was everywhere, surrounded by the mountains, and the local Japanese houses. I can’t explain how much I was happy that day. 

I knew it would be amazing, but I didn’t expect as much. 

I remember the first day I harvested, with Miwako San and Akky-San, the sensation of holding the harvesting machine, being scared to break the tea bushes, and being fascinated to see Akky-San in harmony with this plant. Akky-San is a crazy person but when he is harvesting he becomes very serious, and it’s like he is talking to the tea bushes. 

I remember this first day of harvest, I was captivated by the beauty of the tea fields, the forest and mountains around, and the sounds of birds that cradled us. Especially with this mysterious bird that I had never seen but used to hear every day, at home, at the tea field, everywhere in Wazuka. Thanks to him for making me happy every day with his song.

I can’t forget my fear on the road to the tea field, some of them are narrow and very steep. However, I had never seen as much as a beautiful road before. We went through the forest, and on the sun-dappled road, we followed the river and the curves of the mountains. It made me very happy. 

I remember the first day I processed, I was jumping into the factory. I remember all these new smells of the leaves, all different sensations when we touch them after each machine. I am so grateful to have had the experience of making tea, the opportunity to try every machine part of the process, and the possibility to understand deeply how we make Japanese tea. 

Above all, thank you for letting me make my own black tea. It was one of my favourite moments here, I didn’t know what I was doing at that moment because it was the first time I led a process but I’m very proud of the taste of my tea. I love it! 

I remember the first day when we had the welcome party. When I met all the Obubu staff and interns, the kids of Akky-San running everywhere. I remember the smell of the food and this big table with everyone who was laughing. I loved the atmosphere like a big family, this remembered my childhood in the circus. 

I remember my fear this first day at Obubu about my English comprehension as well. A big part of Obubu for me was my improvement in English. That day I wasn’t able to speak English and it was very difficult to understand. It was very frustrating to me during the internship, I wanted to say so many things but I wasn’t able to. So I worked very hard to improve, every morning I studied my vocabulary and each weekend I took a day to study. 

I can see my evolution since the beginning even though I sometimes struggle to say everything I want to say.

I remember my surprise to see how much we are all tea lovers here, everyone in a different way. Tea is the central point of Obubu. 

We drink tea in the tea field to take a break, while we are working in the office or in the factory, we eat tea with the guests during the tea tour, we drink tea during our classes Japanese Tea Basic, we make comparative tasting, we use to go on trips about teaware and tea. It’s amazing how tea is everywhere at Wazuka and Obubu. 


I’m very grateful for all that Obubu taught me. I learned so much about tea but also about me. I’m now more confident and sure about what I want for my future. It’s the first time I have travelled alone as far and as long, and I want to continue. Travelling is so enriching. 

A funny thing I’ve learned here is that if the plan changes, it’s no big deal! I used to not like it when something didn’t go as I planned, but here it’s hard every time something changes in the program. However, I’ve learned to be happy with that! It’s a good quality that Obubu has! 

I really had a wonderful time here, everyone is so nice. We support each other and try to be happy in all situations, even if it can be hard because of the heat or the tiredness. Spread your happiness and everybody will return it to you! Obubu’s mood is amazing! 

We share tea together here and all Wazuka share a tea passion, the sound of the harvesting machine resonates in the town. I loved seeing the trucks carry tea bags and drive fast to head to their factory! 

I did so many things I never did before, I really improved myself by speaking English, working, fighting my fear and so much more. I will continue in the future to increase my knowledge and capacity, it has given me the desire to surpass myself more and more.

I know I will work again in Palais des Thés before hopefully opening my own shop with a friend. I want to spread Japanese Tea knowledge to the customers, people I will meet and all the people I love. 

I will never forget the beautiful time I had harvesting, processing and being with everybody. I will never forget Obubu and all it gave to me. 

Now, when I drink a cup of Japanese tea I’m gonna see tea fields, Akky-San and Miwako-San harvesting. I’m gonna see the Obubu family. I’m gonna see Wazuka. 

It’s very hard to say goodbye. The time past here is so nice that is difficult to not want to stay here longer. 

I’m going to Vietnam for two weeks after the internship and I’m gonna come back to visit Japan for one month and a half. Obviously, I will come back to Obubu! I know it will not be the same. My Houjicha House family will be not complete, Juliette and Symphony will not be here and my room will not be mine anymore. But I’m really happy to know I will see Wazuka again. 



I would like to say thank you to Obubu! I will never say enough how much I’m grateful for all you gave to me. Thank you for your passion for tea, and thank you for spreading that in the world with your internship program. Thank you for being our host for these 3 wonderful months. Thank you for letting us learn about Japanese Tea, and thank you for your time. 

Hiro -san, thank you for your teaching, for being with us every day, and for always being smiling and generous.

Kayo-san, thank you for your kindness, always give your time to everyone, we know we can count on you

Miwako-san, thank you for your good energy, and kindness, and for paying close attention to everyone during the work. You’re so good at farming, strong and smart! 

Akky-san, thank you for creating Obubu, for loving tea as you love it and for sharing harvesting time. I will never forget that, it was my best moment at Obubu. I admire your skill with tea, I hope to be as good at farming as you one day!

George, thank you for being so funny and for your silly jokes which hide how much you care about us. 

Jean, thank you for letting me be your friend, I like you so much, even though you are always stilling my crocs!  You are very funny and I love all the time we discuss together. You helped me a lot, I hope we will be friends for a long time. I was really happy to live with you for 3 months! Thank you for making me laugh and being here when it was difficult for me with English!

Sara, thank you for being so kind to everybody, you see the beauty of everyone. Thank you for walking with me at night. We are similar on so many points, it’s nice to share the same feelings about life and the countryside! I’m really happy I met you!

Julietto-dono! I love your open-mindedness, you always smile and laugh; Thank you for that. I admire how you take things lightly. I want to do a festival with you because I love how you dance!  I hope we will see each other again! 

Symphony I love you! You are so nice, Thank you for always being available to help everyone. Please never change! I will miss your unexpected reactions! 

Yena, thank you for always saying “all good”, it gave reassurance, sharing with me your passion for pudding! Especially thank you for your help, you are the one who helped me the most with English, I really appreciate that!

Maren, thank you for your energy and elegance! You are so kind and I like how you love tea!

Julien, thank you for always being happy and always laughing! You’re so nice!

David, thank you for teaching me weird words in English and for being so kind. Thank you for driving me to the waterfalls, it was a beautiful place!

Lucas, thank you for your fresh and sometimes crazy-dangerous ideas. 

Sophie, thank you for teaching me and being patient! I miss your advice! 

Justin, thank you for sharing music in the car on the road to the tea field!

Thank you everyone for teaching me and helping me! I’m very happy I met you all!!! 



Feel free to send me a message, I will be happy to share with you!


Instagram: itsaya.grd 

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