Already for some time we have been wanting to create a space to highlight positive Japanese tea activities and to connect with each other over the shared love for Japanese tea. During the pandemic opportunities to meet in person were few and far between. Most of the activities of our association had moved online as well. In 2023, however, the timing was finally right, and we have decided to hold two Japanese Tea Conferences: in Tokyo and Kyoto.
The first of the two – the Japanese Tea Conference in Tokyo – took place on 22nd July and was held at the Tokyo International Exchange Center. It was our first time to hold such an event in Japan and we were not sure if there will be enough interest. However, nearly 70 people attended the conference, and we were very happy that it was a success!
The conference started with the introduction from our president Simona Suzuki. Following that was the centerpiece of the conference – the global report by the Japanese Tea Evangelists – Japanese university students, who went to study aboard last year and held various tea activities in their host countries. Last year we had 26 students on the Japanese Tea Evangelist Program who went to study abroad to 15 different countries. During the tea conference in Tokyo 8 of them presented on their activities and the tea situation in their host countries. We also met 14 students who have joined the Japanese Tea Evangelist program this year and will be going to study abroad this autumn.
After the presentations the participants could mingle while tasting some teas. Japanese tea evangelists brewed and served 9 award winning teas from various regions of Japan. Among the participants we had government officials, tea industry professionals from Japan and abroad, and tea lovers with strong interest in Japanese tea. The chatter buzzed all around and the last hour of the event passed every quickly.
We are looking forward to holding the tea conference again next year and hope to see you there!