Welcome to CHA-Link
Hi every one, welcome to CHA-Link!
I’m Rica Takeuchi, Miss Tea Ambassador of Japan.
My family had run a tea shop in Tokyo in 1915.
Since I was young I was crazy about tea and without asking would take tea leaves from the store.
Now I have got an authorized qualification to be a Japanese tea instructor and also belong to the same school of the tea ceremony as my grandmother. Starting next February, I’m going to be a master of the tea ceremony.
Japanese tea instructors have a good knowledge of the cultivation, production, history, chemistry, health science, industry and other aspects of Japanese tea. Surely they know the best way how to make different types of Japanese tea.
On the other hand, masters of the tea ceremony know the manners to serve tea in the tea ceremony. So they are focused on the cultural side of Japanese tea.
Now I am doing an activity called “CHA-Link” in order to “link people from different worlds through Japanese tea”.
I am targeting people from other countries: holding tea events overseas and uploading YouTube videos about Japanese tea in English.
There are 2 main reasons why I started CHA-Link: The first reason is related to my family store. After elementary school I usually went to the store and said to our staff and my family working there “ok it’s time for tea and rest!”. Oftenly my grandmother or I made tea for them and we talked about our days such as, “Rica, how was the school today? How did you like it?” with a cup of tea in our hands. I really loved the time spent conversing with them over a cup of tea. Since then I have grown to like the time with spent over a cup of tea as much as tea itself.
However 5 years ago, our family had to close the store due to financial difficulty after 98 years since grandfather opened the store. I had been at the store since I was a child and continue to be there everyday during its final weeks. During the store’s final days, there were daily long queue of customers visiting our shop, and they would gave us beautiful words of encouragement, such as “you guys should continue the store”, “your store helped us”, “we will miss the store” and so on. What’s more, the most shocking experience to me was a customer cried for us, though nobody would cry if one 7 Eleven closes. At that time I realized that my family had been treating the customers with great care and therefore the store was beloved by people both inside and outside of business.
The other reason is my volunteering experience in East Timor for 2 years.
While I was working there I tried very hard for East Timor’s development and future.
However, during my time in East Timor I came understand that as an outsider I was not the one who would be able to change the country.
I came to believe that the answer was that only locals could change the situation of their own country through dedication and hardwork. Of course it is also important that developed countries share their skills, knowledge and funds with other countries, but what is more important is to inspire them to be serious to strive for a better future by their own initiative.
Using that logic, if people in developing countries are already happy, I believe outsiders should not try to do anything for them that is unrequested.
If locals are not serious and committed to a project or a change it will be impossible for them to continue or make things sustainable by themselves.
Now that I have realized it and want to work for my country as a local Japanese.
For these two reasons I have found CHA-Link to reactivate Japanese tea industry and Japanese culture.
I believe that I can resolve the issue in our society through Japanese tea.
CHA-Link aims to make the world a better place.
I believe a lot of problems happen in this world because people are losing their time to be calmed and relaxed from their busy and stressful lifestyles. That results in turning people selfish as their mind is filled with their own business and stress, and has no space to care for others.
Wars happen as people lack the compassion for each others. Environmental pollution happen as people don’t care for the environment.
I believe that Japanese tea has a power to heal people.
Japanese tea will make your state of mind at peace from various functions, such as the state of peaceful mindset through Zen Buddhism philosophy as a foundation of Japanese tea culture, the meditative experience in the tea ceremony, the compounds found in tea, and other aspects.
Once people have regained their peaceful state of mind, they will be CHA-Linked; people from different worlds will be linked naturally.
Now I’m planning to organise a Japanese tea tour that people from overseas can learn Japanese tea and gives them an opportunity to think about their own happiness. Through Japanese tea, I would like to develop a chance that people with different backgrounds can share their thoughts and see themselves from different perspectives by talking with others who see the world in different ways.
So firstly CHA-Link aims to share the beauty of Japanese tea with more and more people around the world. During that time we also create opportunities to “cha-link” people.
The website of CHA-Link provides information for you to learn and experience Japanese tea. Especially “OCHA MAP”, showing tea experiences in Japan, will be a best partner for your trip in Japan. This map will show you teahouses to enjoy Japanese tea and Matcha sweets, tea shops to buy authentic Japanese tea leaves and events to experience traditional Japanese tea ceremony. In addition, you can check the photos and videos of places on my instagram and YouTube channel which are linked on the map. We, CHA-Link will also hold various events so please follow us on our website, Instagram and YouTube and join us when you come to Japan:)