Since yesterday we are not travelling alone any more. Valérie and Francoise are on the way together with us during the next ten days. Our first tea garden visit is today in Mie Prefecture the organic tea garden of it’s founder Iwao Hayshi. This time Iwao catched us up from the train station toegether with his grandson Shuhei. That also Shuhei started to work for the garden of his grandfather means that now three generations are working for the garden together. All organic tea garden parcels together have a size of around eight hectare. Together we go with the car for around half an hour until we arrive in a little village, which is surrounded by several hills of about 300 to 400 meters high.
After we have arrived at the house of Iwao Hayashi, he shows us a new room, which they have build in the old tea factory building. Until the year 2015 the tea factory was in a quite small building, and all the green tea processing machines were standing in the second floor of it. Since this was quite risky in case of an earthquake, the family decided to move the tea processing machines to another building, which was built in the year 2014. Thanks to the fact, that most of the green tea processing machines have been moved to the new building, the old little factory building,where now only the final processing machines (sorting and final heating) are located, had some free space for a nice meeting room, which Iwao Hayashi proudly showed us. Until last year we every year met in a really little room, which was the office and at the same time also the tea packaging room.
We all are very impressed by the young and energetic atmosphere of Iwao Hayashi. The neary 80 year old grandfather still works in his organic tea garden. During our talk we ask him about his secret to stay so young and having so much power. Naturally he tells us, that this is thanks to drinking his organic green tea every day, but there is also another important point. He expresses, that he is really sure, that also they choice of a good water is important to stay healthy. Iwao Hayashi gets his water from the hills surrounding the village the family lives, and he has a special technique of storing it and to filtier it with a kind of coal. He is not able to explain as the details of the chemical process, which is going on in the water tank thanks to the coal he puts into the tank, but he is sure that the coal takes out substances from the water, which would not be good for his health. Furthermore, he tasted that the water is getting much milder and rounder, which fits perfectly to his style of green tea.
This year it is already nine years ago, when we met Iwao Hayashi the first time in 2006. The first time we went to Mie to visit him for an Interwiev on organic agriculture, which we made for a graduation thesis. It was thanks to this talk, that Iwao Hayashi had the idea to ask us to import his tea to Europe and sell it to tea shops there.