Goodbye Boston; Hello Japan

It’s 5 Am and I am looking out of my hotel window awaiting sunrise. I am in Kagoshima city, located in southern Kyushu Island and having my first taste of the local green tea.

Kagoshima is situated at the top of a lovely  bay, and has an active stratovolcano named Sakurijima which can be seen from several vantage points in the city.  When the sun comes up, maybe I will be lucky and catch a view of it. As I wait I am listening on my iphone to the music of Porcelain by Helen Jane Long – the perfect ‘waiting’ music

I had the good fortune to fly directly from Boston to Toyko on Japan Airlines new B787-800 Dreamliner aircraft which was inaugurated at Logan Airport in March. My traveling companion for this flight was the left engine of the aircraft – a massive beast that dwarfed other jet engines I have seen up close.

I am traveling to Japan as a guest of a Japanese business group that is hoping to sell more Japanese tea in the USA. I am thrilled to be invited, and equally excited to be back in Japan. As a true Virgo personality, I see Japan as a land of infinite Virgos, and love not only their tea and tea culture, but their drive and commitment to society. Japan is polite, orderly and runs like clockwork.  We are happy to do our part as much as possible to add Kagoshima tea to our Tea Trekker selection of Japanese tea.

My hosts sent me business class, which was wonderful. I chose the Japanese lunch, which is a set of small kobachi bowls of lovely little portions of fish, veggies, tofu, etc. Look at this beautifully presented ( and delicious) food…who would think that airline food could be this good?

What was all this? Well,some of it was:

  • grilled mackerel with nuts
  • braised duck breast with duck meat ball
  • squid julienne with fermented soybeans
  • egg tofu with salmon roe and grated radish

After lunch, I noticed that a film was playing on the monitors in the front row of my section of the cabin. I realized that it was about the highly skilled men who maintain the working condition of the granite millstones that are used to grind tencha leaves for making matcha powder. These stones have to be finely chiseled, clean, and operate smoothly in order for them to do a proper job of grinding the tea to powder fineness.

And lastly, at the end of the film, came this picture of an adorable puppy, perhaps a Japanese Shiba Inu. I had to add it to this blog post!  So, altogether now….AWWWWAAAAAAA……

Tomorrow, off to the tea gardens of Kagoshima, and perhaps a peek at that volcano!

1 thought on “Goodbye Boston; Hello Japan

  1. AWWWWAAAAAAA – okay, now that I’ve done that…What a great intro to Japanese culture the film on tencha-grinding millstones must be for those who have no idea how important the process is to Japanese tea culture. We can hope that there were people on the plane who found it interesting and will pursue drinking the delicious beverage matcha. Have a great time discovering more background about this lesser-known area of tea-growing in Japan, and return with flavorful, new-to-us, southern Japanese tea.

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