Lukas Wenzel

Lukas Wenzel,

Intern #155


Instagram: @lu.kas___

Reach out at any time :) lets chat about tea and life!

Before Obubu

Hello everybody! My name is Lukas, a recent high school graduate from Germany. I was only 17 years old when I graduated, so I didn’t really feel like moving on to university right away. Instead, I decided to do a gap year first! I have been interested in Japan for quite some time now, one reason being my deep passion for both Japanese teas specifically and tea in general.

Before actually coming to Obubu I spent about one and a half months travelling Japan on my own, being tossed around in a wild current of tea plants, chance encounters and incredible experiences. It was a month of wild exploration, heaving work under the oppressive pinky of the relentless Japanese summer, and enough life lessons to fill a hundred books.

Eventually, my way carried me to Wazuka where I got dropped off at the parking lot of Lawson and became a seasonal worker with one of the local tea farmers. It was another great experience that rooted me firmly in Wazuka and the community.

Fast forward two weeks, and I was in front of Obubu. After some gruelling weeks of nothing but weeding, I stepped into the office and met many strangers who would very soon become lifelong friends.

During Obubu

I knew it from the first day I arrived but in hindsight, I do realize even more just how lucky I was. Living and working 24/7 with people from very different cultures and backgrounds can go in all possible directions both good and bad. Thankfully, the way it went with my cohort was to the stars and beyond. I had the incredible luck of meeting some of the best and kindest and most awesome people on the planet. From our first Mandarin-Puerh session in Houjicha house to a very eventful beach trip, the chemistry between our two groups was explosive from the very beginning. In just 1 month these kind and amazing people produced more life-shaping experiences than 19 years of life.

If any strangers on the internet or my fellow interns read this in the future they might think that this is way too much. That I’m exaggerating. I am not. This internship has been an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. When you’re with the right people, when the passion is shared, the nights long and the tea good, any moment, however mundane, becomes unforgettable. Our activities at Obubu were varied and plentiful, but every single one of them became fun and enriching thanks to your presence. I am so proud of the factory we renovated with sweat and lots of cold brewed tea (and the help of some very skilled craftsmen, particularly Kitazawa-san), the tea tours we organized and the weeding we did all around Wazuka.

As for the activities we did together, there were too many to count. From weekly tea ceremony lessons with our incredible teacher Nakai-sensei, fun weekend trips all around Kansai, or simply sitting together and drinking tea. We did everything from construction work, often spending entire afternoons atop ladders screwing beams into the ceiling, to tea tours, interacting with guests and sharing some of our knowledge with tea lovers from all over the world. We took care of a lot of tea fields, weeded the bushes and maintained mountain roads. Particularly on the field we manage together with the staff. Aoimori, the blue forest. An incredible one-hectare oasis of tea experimentation and freedom that is very hard to find anywhere else. Even though we did not get to experience much farming, our activities were still varied and just as interesting. 

Thanks to all of these experiences, my new-found friends and the beyond-kind Obubu staff, my passion for tea deepened in ways I never imagined. To everybody who helped shape this experience: Thank you.

After Obubu

As amazing as an internship at Obubu is, it is equally draining in energy. After 3 months in Wazuka, I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. And that is exactly what I’m going to do. During my time here I’ve made many new friends all around Japan and I’m fully intent on visiting them all. There are so many tea places, so many parts of Japan and so much culture I haven’t explored yet! I want to see all the other parts of Japan. I want to see more tea bushes. More tea rooms. So I will spend the winter migrating south, travelling Japan and seeing many cool new places. And as for spring – there are many tea fields around Wazuka that will need my many busy hands to get harvested. So this will absolutely not be my last encounter with Obubu. I will be back with many new teas!


Inspired by the best ever senpai sa-chan/ume-chan/murieal I wanted to dedicate one paragraph specifically to thanking everybody around Obubu.

The staff

Hiro-san: Thank you for your incredible organisation, keeping Obubu from disintegrating and having so much trust in me and my fellow interns. The working atmosphere and company you keep alive are one-of-a-kind.

Kayo-san: Thank you for your unending kindness and amazing cooking. The sprinkle of warm energy you bring to the office is truly special.

Miwako-san: Thank you for being the engine that keeps Obubu running. If there is a single person that keeps the energy of Obubu constantly up then it’s you. Your passion for what you’re doing is incredible.

Akky-san: Thank you for your tea. The company you founded is incredible and can only continue to operate thanks to your hard work in the fields.

Jean: Thank you for being the most welcoming assistant manager ever. You’re a great teacher, amazingly knowledgeable, deeply professional and just generally very nice to be around. 

George: Thank you for being the most knowledgeable person ever. Your experience and British humour are sure to light up any room you walk into. You are a core reason why Obubu is as amazing as it is.

Everybody else: There are too many hands involved in Obubu and too many amazing people to get to know in just 3 months so this is dedicated to everybody I didn’t get the chance to mention. Your support to Obubu, in whatever way to so valuable and important. Only thanks to you can Obubu function. Thank you.

My senpai:

Symphony: You’re the best. Your energy for your work is stronger than the roots of a tea bush. You have been an incredible mirror to me and have shown me a version of myself I want to become. You probably don’t realize it but you have been very important for my personal growth. Thank you.

Sara: You’re also the best. The most talented person ever. How somebody can be such a constant stream of happy emotions and sunshine is a miracle. You’re the driving force behind most of my deeply cherished memories at Obubu. Thank you.

Juliette: You’re the best too! The most badass person I have ever met. Your calming and focused energy has been a joy to have around every single time. You brought joy to every single conversation and were very often the connecting piece between all of us. Thank you.

Itsaya: Guess what? You’re also the best. You’re the most admirable, funny ball of energy I have ever met. I also have you to thank for getting back into One Piece. Let’s enjoy many more cups of tea and mango together. Thank you.

Yena: You, who would’ve guessed, are also the best! You were the presence that kept us together and calm. You have been so much more than just an incredible teacher for both everything inside and outside of Obubu and I’ll never forget your incredible baking and presence. Thank you.

My cohort:

Julien: The craziest person ever. Every single conversation is a rollercoaster of beautiful insanity. As the most ambitious, knowledgeable and open-minded person ever, you are a treasure trove of wild stories and good food advice. You are great and endlessly funny. Thank you. 

David: The funniest person ever. The constant and reliable stream of amazing jokes and one-liners has been an absolute blast. You are so amazingly kind and talented and your many passions are an inspiration. Thank you.

Maren: The strongest person ever. Your experience and story have opened my eyes to many things I was previously unaware of, be that tea or not. Your knowledge and love for tea were so inspirational. Thank you. 

My kohai: Thank you for being amazing and so quick to learn everything we taught you. I am very proud of all of you and I know you will continue our legacy and protect the amazing place that is Obubu. You are a great bunch and we like you a lot. Please continue to enjoy Japan and carry Obubu’s mission into the world!

Thank you everybody for making this time unforgettable and participating in this grand adventure! I will make sure to visit you all again and bring lots and lots of good tea! Thank you!