Jason Niffen

Jason Niffen United-States of America

Interns #163

 Before Obubu

I graduated in 2023 from Truman State University with a degree in physics. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I needed a break from school for a while. I began looking at places that I always wanted to travel to, and decided that I wanted to travel to Japan. Not really being one for the classic tourist experience, I wanted a chance to get to know Japan on a deeper level. Thus, I started looking for opportunities to immerse myself in Japanese culture. I also didn’t know much about tea before I came to Obubu, but I knew that I had always enjoyed tea and wanted to learn more about it. My curiosity about tea and my desire to experience Japan came together to help me find Obubu tea and become an intern there.

During Obubu

During my time at Obubu, I did a wide variety of tasks. My favorite among them being working in the factory processing the fall harvest. I enjoyed going out in the morning and harvesting, primarily from Aoimori, and then spending the rest of the day working in the factory and turning the harvest into amazing tea. The processing machines were very fun to be around and I loved the feel of the factory when everything was working together. While I was at Obubu, I was also lucky enough to conduct many tea tours. I enjoyed talking and sharing  my love for tea with people from around the world. Many times the tea tours were a learning experience for me also, as a lot of the guests had different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to share. 

When I wasn’t working, I spent time drinking tea, reading, and watching YouTube as well as exploring Kansai. Going to Nara was one of my favorite trips, as there were so many cool temples and shops to see! It was also my first time experiencing a big city in Japan, so everything was new and super interesting. I also really enjoyed the farewell party for the class of interns before us. Though it was sad that they were leaving, it was still a really good experience for everyone to come together and have a great night. Being at Obubu during the Christmas season was also extra special because we got to go searching for a Christmas tree for the 2nd floor of the factory. It was super fun going and finding a tree for the factory, and then decorating it later.

After Obubu

After Obubu, I intend to head back to Kansas City and share my love for tea and the new knowledge I’ve gained with my friends, family, and community. Tea has always been something that I enjoyed with my family, and I’m really excited to share with them all the new knowledge I’ve gained during my internship. I plan on going back to graduate school for physics. I would love to study quantum physics, specifically quantum optics or quantum computing. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll need tea to help me focus during long nights of studying and lab work in the future.