Shizuoka Tea Auction: Photos
The center of activity for nearly a month every spring is the aracha auction where thousands of tons of tea are bought and sold. Located in central Shizuoka, farmers, wholesalers and prefectural agricultural representatives gather to participate in bidding on lots of raw tea that will later be processed into finished products. The scene is lively and has, by Japanese standards, a relaxed and carefree vibe - formalities are at a minimum. The hat colors represent whether the person is a farmer (green), buyer (blue), or representative of the Shizuoka tea association (Yellow). The process is rhythmic - Inspect the dry leaf with one hand, raise to your nose and inhale, smell the wet leaf, slurp the tea. Everyone is focused. Everyone has tea leaves on their face. Everyone tallies with an abacus. It's heaven.
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