Katrina Wild

Riga, Latvia 

Intern #138


Instagram: @dragonsleaf 




My tea story is somewhat similar to Akky-san’s: it started with a single cup of tea when I was 18, which instantly brought me to plunge into tea, work in a tea house in Riga, and get educated in the Gong Fu Cha ceremony. During my university degree in Music, Theology, and Cultural studies in Scotland, I worked as a manager of a Czech-style tea house. After graduation, I moved back to Latvia for a year and noticed that tea still is very much a burning passion of mine, so I worked in another tea room, as well as for a Danish coffee & tea brand. Tea schools, social media management, photography, apps, translation, webshops, events, and ceremonies: it all related to our beloved Camellia Sinensis plant. Nevertheless, I am in love with simplicity – humbly serving tea has always played an essential role in my relationship with tea – sharing with the community in a meaningful and soulful way. When life switched to a nomadic mode of living, the destinations ended up being Siwa Oasis (Egypt) and Engadin (Switzerland), where the exploration of cultural landscapes alongside a cup of tea continued. And eventually, Wazuka! 



I was looking to deeply immerse myself in tea, specifically, how the cup that I was drinking 7 years ago is made: cultivation, harvesting, and processing. I was convinced that to understand the essence of tea better, I have to work with the plant directly on a farm, close to nature. Therefore, Obubu was a perfect choice, especially because of its education and community-supported agriculture philosophy, which aligned with my values very much. Additionally, Japanese tea and culture have been something very close to my heart for a long time. I discovered Obubu through the Global Japanese Tea Association’s event “Japanese Tea Marathon” which Simona and Matsu-san were running (pun intended) in 2021.




I was really lucky to come here in Autumn because the transition between seasons in Japan is something truly spectacular: we experienced weeding amidst summer heat, the beautiful mountains of Wazuka painted by momiji, as well as the chilly evenings under a kotatsu with nabe. In my opinion, Autumn is a great time for an internship because there are lots of tea festivals: Uji tea festival, World O-Cha Festival in Shizuoka (once in three years), Tokoname Kyusu Festival, as well as the Chagenkyo Matsuri in Wazuka (or Teatopia Festival), which we didn’t get to experience, unfortunately, as it hasn’t been hosted due to the pandemic (fingers crossed for the next year!). In Autumn, there is lots of harvesting and processing, which is great: you get to feel what it is like to be a busy tea farmer and appreciate how hard tea farmers like Akky-san work. Another unique point about our internship was that we experienced the border opening up, therefore, we did the first tea tours after the long hiatus. Besides all those activities, I filmed and produced “Tea of the Month: Black Gyokuro” with Hiro-san, as well as focused on managing Obubu’s social media accounts and my project which involved researching the Japanese tea cultivars (“Cultivar of the Week” on social media and “The Short Guide to Japanese Tea Cultivars”). During our weekly meetings, George lightheartedly joked “How are you doing with your thousands of projects?”. 

I will cherish the memories created here together for a lifetime: harvests with Akky-san (including the wholesome breaks where he would give me cultivar exams, as well as share his knowledge about tea farming); dancing in the factory with Matsu-san after a nabe party; interviewing a Buddhist monk at the Shoho-ji with Alex; hand-picking and hand-rolling events in Higashiomi and Wazuka; tea tastings with Patrick in the office witnessing his genius; Kayo-san’s kindness and amazing cooking (tea tempura is my favorite!); Miho Museum, Nara and Shigaraki ventures with Justin; meeting one of my biggest inspirations Jeff Fuchs in Tokyo, who completed the Ancient Tea Horse Road; meaningful conversations with Hannah in an onsen in Izu Peninsula; a picnic with Miwako-san, Sakura and Satomi-san in the Tenku tea field; Nakai-sensei’s Urasenke Sado classes; seeing a swordmaster practicing alone in one of Kyoto’s parks at midnight with Woo Jae; karaoke with our kohai Mathilde; Yamamoto Jinjiro’s tea shop in Uji; and visiting tea farmer Yamada-san in Fuji, welcoming him to Wazuka, and drinking tea all day together with Akky-san. And, obviously, heartfelt gratitude towards all the wonderful locals we have encountered in Japan (too many to count but I do remember you fondly!). 

Favourite Obubu teas: Ujihikari and Gokou Matcha, Kabuse Sencha, Fern Shoot Wakoucha




I am incredibly grateful to Obubu for gifting me massive luggage of experience, knowledge, and freshly sharpened skills, which I am taking on my following tea journeys, the next stop being: Vietnam! My intention is to delve deeper into hand-making of tea. I will continue learning and being a freelancing tea alchemist, explorer, and storyteller. The time spent here has assisted me with shaping my vision, simultaneously, allowing space for more clarity where the puzzle pieces of my somewhat hectic adventurous life are slowly fitting in the right places. Therefore, I will proceed to dare to dream big, think with my heart, and create stories around the world alongside a cup of tea while cherishing those friendships created on the path, supporting and nourishing my dear community, including the Obubu family. But who knows, maybe you will witness Katrina living with honey badgers in the savannah drinking Japanese tea, studying tea in the Wuyi Mountains, or journeying along the Ancient Tea Horse Road in a caravan (quoting Akky-san: “you are advenCHA!!”). And, hopefully, come back to Japan soon enough. Who knows. I shall leave it up to the magic of the Universe while being guided by my North Star: TEA. Ichi-go ichi-e (), dear friends, until the next time we share tea. Thank you. 



Japanese Tea Cultivars : A Short Guide

Tea Adventures of Current Interns