Patrick Leonard


Intern #171

Before Obubu

Hi! Hello! I’m Patrick, Intern #171! Before Obubu I was…I was…an intern at Obubu! So I’m also number #136, you can find me again if you scroll down further in the photos. But between those two times, I was working at Aristocat Cafe, a cat cafe and tea house in the United States. Pretty much the dream job, right? Even though I didn’t get to play with that many cats, that was because I was too busy brewing tea and burning cappuccinos.

The last time I interned at Obubu was during the Fall of 2022. Let me tell you, Japan in the fall is pretty amazing. 10/10, would recommend. However, the fall doesn’t allow you the experience of the spring harvest, an unfortunate side effect of time. Pretty much a week after leaving Obubu, I was already planning on coming back for the spring, just a year after being sidetracked by cats.

During Obubu

During my time at Obubu, I did many things. Like all the things. This thing and that thing, that thing and this thing. The harvest was a slow time coming, but that’s to be expected when you arrive in March, though I did get to harvest one of my all time favorite teas, Kyobancha. But then there was a lot of time trimming and weeding, pulling saktura flowers from balls, one bud at a time. Oh, and tea tours, lots and lots of tea tours, where I got to meet all the people. I’m pretty sure everyone came.

But then the harvesting and processing season began. That made me happy. Many days supporting Akky-san in the fields and processing at night. Went to most the fields, even visiting one in the middle of a wind storm at night to check on the shading. Was an adventure! And only once did the car end in a ditch. That’s pretty darn good.

On the weekends, there was a lot of travelling. I mean honestly, perhaps a little too much travelling. Many days in Uji with fellow interns. (I recommend Baisa Nakamura and Jinjiro Tea Shop for tea, Nico for lunch, and Asahiyaki for ceramics).

I also spent a lot of time hiking the ancient roads in Kyoto and Nara Prefecture. Well, four of them. Well, three of them, one of them twice. Well, one isn’t an ancient road. I got lost on the Yamashiro Kodo, fell in love with Yamanobe-no-michi, so I did it once by myself, and once with other interns, and I died on the Yagyu Kaido. But I got better.

It was a good time and a half, and I only think I have one fractured finger. (Update: Maybe two)

After Obubu

Listen, I don’t know. The only thing I know is I have tickets to see Gogol Bordello in September.