Tea Companies donating to Japan Relief Efforts
For those of you who read Japanese, this is a news story about a tea field in the Rikuzen-takata City, in the town of Kesen-cho. Tea from Kesen, or Kesencha, has been cultivated here for 300 years. 130 years ago, the region was the fifth largest producer of tea in Japan with over 500 tons produced.
Now, there is one tea field left, owned by Konno-san, age 96. Every year in early June, a community of several dozen tea picker women come to pick tea for Konno-san continuing a centuries-long tradition. But this year they are not sure whether this will happen.
With the town destroyed (see video of Kesen-cho town here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6nM814erBI), people are living in evacuation centers or have moved away to their relatives’ homes elsewhere (one woman is still missing…). Konno-san himself is now living with his daughter away from the tea field and is worried that he can’t take care of the plants. (At age 96?! The story doesn’t elaborate on who helps him…)
We don’t know if our tea fund (Tea Lover to Tea Lover, http://www.obubutea.com/donate) can help this situation, but we’ll try to contact Konno-san to see if something can be done so that this tradition does not die.
And if they can pick tea again this year…what a symbol of hope and revival will that be!! Will update when we know more!
American Tea Room would like to thank all of our customers who purchased online from March 14 – March 31. American Tea Room is donating 10% of our proceeds which resulted in raising more than $1500 for Japanese Disaster Relief. We are splitting the total between two very deserving charities: Japan Trade Winds and The Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami Relief Fund. Thank you everyone for your generous purchases.
We have been working hard to contact all our partners in Japan to ensure that they and their families are in good health, and to offer any assistance. By March 15, we had only been able to contact half of them, and have yet to hear form the other half. As we do a lot of business with Japan and have recently visited there, forming many friendships, the people and the culture has become very dear to us. Beyond the initial disbelief we felt at the extent of the tragedy, our inability to confirm the safety of the friends we have in Japan is very frightening, but we hope they are well and have managed to find a safe place to take refuge. For now, all we can do is offer financial assistance to the various relief organizations involved in the recovery effort. We encourage all of you to do what you can – if you search for Japan relief fund online you will find many organizations set up for this cause. In addition, all profits from any Japanese teas sold on our website or in our store will be contributed to the Red Cross in Japan during this crisis.