Saya Iwama

Hello! I’m Saya, Obubu intern #132.


Firstly, let me tell you about myself before I came to Obubu.

I graduated from university this March with a major in Japanese language studies. From Japanese tea to Karuta and Bon Dance, I have a passion for Japanese tradition and culture.

I’m from Mie prefecture, which produces a large amount of tea. I was always the one to make tea for my family at dinner time. Even when I lived on my own for university in Tokyo, I made tea with my teapot every morning, which I know is quite rare among young Japanese people. Thus, during university, I started to recognize Japanese tea as part of my identity. I read some books on Japanese tea and gradually got interested in learning more about the process of making tea and being in the tea fields.



When I searched for tea farms which accept interns on the Internet, I found Obubu.

I am interested in learning about Japanese culture and sharing it with people from both inside and outside of Japan. Obubu accepts interns from all over the world, so I thought that learning about tea with international interns would be a great experience for me. Moreover, the lively atmosphere of Obubu, their progressive approach to producing different kinds of teas and promoting them, other activities on Obubu’s website, and the posts on SNS greatly attracted me and made me want to join the community.



During my stay in Obubu, I enjoyed being outside in nature and getting my hands dirty while harvesting with the Obubu staff and the other interns. Now I miss harvesting, including sitting down on the ground in the tea fields during break time with a cup of cold brewed tea.

I put the most effort in working on the “Sakura project”. I was not only able to join in on every process of making Sakura Sencha (e.g. hand-picking the cherry blossom flowers and drying them), but was also able to get involved in many other aspects of management of the project such as writing blogs, making and aggregating the questionnaire after the event, making an event report, and managing the photo contest. Through this experience, I grew affectionate to the tea itself and how nice it feels to serve it to people with my own love for it. I truly appreciate the opportunity that Obubu gave me.

I also loved spending every day together with the fellow interns who share the same love for tea as me. They inspired me a lot in different ways, and thanks to them, I was able to know myself better and learn how I can contribute to them by doing what little I can for them during their short stay in Japan with my knowledge of it.

Through the wonderful experiences in Obubu, I feel I’ve become stronger both physically and mentally. I was able to grow my confidence in many different ways.



Now that I have finished my internship in Obubu, I know more about tea. I have more options of teas and know more ways of brewing them when I enjoy tea at home. I also always take my teapot and some tea with me when I travel somewhere and enjoy sharing it with other people there, which I didn’t do before. I got more motivated to learn more about Japanese tea after coming back to my hometown, and now I’m studying for the exam to be a Nihoncha (Japanese Tea) Instructor.

As I mentioned above, it is not very common, even in Japan, for young people to make tea with a teapot at home. I will share the culture of Japanese tea with people in some way in my future career and hope that it will contribute to “Japanese Tea to the World”!


You can find out more about my experience at Obubu in the video below: