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Day 23. Above: evaluating teas with Shinya San.
Today (and the next week) was one of those rare times when you get to spend time with a master. I don’t use that term lightly. Shinya san, the manager of the tea farm we work with, is truly that: a master. He has earned a reputation throughout Japan and the world as a rare talent. Growing up around tea (his father is president of the farm) exposed him to the ins and outs of the business. Once he really entered the world though, people took note. He has many gifts: an incredible palate, a keen eye, patience and commitment. He is a serious, gentle, and humble guy. He has been named a “master” tea connoisseur by the Japanese government and has won countless awards. If you mention his name, everyone in the Japanese tea community knows him. I am indebted to him for letting me get as close to the source as possible. The next week or so will be updates from my time with him. He is truly living by Sen-No-Rikyu’s words. “No pains must be spared in helping anyone anxious to learn”.