Why I have found CHA-Link
Hi everyone! My name is Rica Takeuchi. I am a Japanese instructor and am managing this website of “CHA-Link”.
I am so glad that I can communicate with you through Japanese tea by this website.
I am writing about why I started this website on this page so please go on reading if you are interested and have some time.
My family had run a retail store near Higashikurume station in Tokyo since 1915.
At first my great grandpa was selling fertilizer for farms, feedstuff and others.
About 50 years later, my grandma started selling Japanese green tea.
When I was a small kid, I was already quite crazy enough about green tea to snitch some green tea leaves form the store and made my family angry. If you asked me my favorite food at that time, I would answer without a doubt, “green tea leaves”.
After school it was my job to make green tea for our staff in the store.
I really loved the moment enjoying the tea all together.
Well, probably I might have already noticed the role of tea to connect people at that time.
I got interested in communication tools such as a sign language and English when I was a primary school student. That might be because I had worked for the store and loved communicating with customers since I was little.
Especially I was keen to learn English to communicate with more and more people around the world. That enthusiasm made me study Recreation and Tourism Management in San Diego State University, California for 2 semesters with a student exchange program through the Uni in Japan.
About 1 year after I came back to Tokyo, my family made a hard decision; we were closing the store after 98 years.
Since a week before closing the store, so many local customers had come and said “you should keep the store!“ to us. What’s more, there was one lady even cry for us. That experience was so shocking for me and I would never forget it.
Also I re-recognized that the store had been loved and supported by local people since my great grandpa’s generation.
Before closing, some business management consultants diagnosed our store.
The diagnosis said “The store responded to all the requests from customers and ended up in this situation”. It was actually a little bit funny because it reflects the characters of my dad and grandpa; they were good persons but not ideal business men Lol
My grandpa died one year after that but my dad keeps the business in a different style that he goes shopping instead of elderly people and deliver what is ordered to them.
One year after, I had a strong interest in international cooperative activities and I started working for the Ministry of Tourism, Art & Culture in East Timor as a Japan Oversea Cooperation Volunteer for 2 years.
After that I got hired by the Secretary State of Youth & Sports of East Timor for half a year and I kept trying my best to develop the country in a good way for local people.
However, the more seriously I work for the country the more clearly I realize that I am not the one who can change this country.
I have found the answer that only locals can change the situation of their country only when they work on it seriously.
Of course it is also important that developed countries share their skills, knowledges and funds with them but what’s more important is to inspire them to be serious to attain a better future for their happy lives on their own initiatives. In that meaning, if they think they are already happy, I believe outsiders shouldn’t try to do anything for them.
If locals are not serious it will be impossible to continue anything by themselves. Developing countries tend to be used to be supported and getting aids from other countries so it is a big challenge to motivate them to be serious according to my experience.
However it is also important for us to keep trying to give them awareness and chance to think about how to run the country by themselves in a happy and sustainable way.
We, people from developed countries will also have an important opportunity to think about how we can build and maintain a peaceful world through this discussion.
( This is just my opinion and I respect other options 🙂 )
One day this thought came into my mind.
Is Japan alright? Isn’t there anything only I, a local Japanese can do for the country??
The population is Japan is getting smaller and smaller.
It is likely to happen that Japan will accept more workers from other countries and Japanese people have to know how to work with foreigners. Also Japan will need to sell more products and services to other countries when the domestic market is shrinking. Japan has to prepare for this globalization but do you think Japanese people will be suddenly able to communicate and get along with foreigners?
I don’t think so. They need a proper training for it. It is not just about languages but communication skills.
This is also a field I can help with by my experience in overseas.
At the same time, I have got this feeling that I want to take over the history and spirit of my family who has loved the local city. This thought has been growing gradually since our family closed the store.
Of course with my loving green tea!!
I will be happy if I can contribute to the society by what I love.
Or I just found an agreeable reason to pursue Japanese tea haha
Connecting with abroad and Japanese tea are a perfect combination for me and I am sure I am going to be happy through this activity.
Anyway I am trying to master Japanese tea and I have become a Japanese tea instructor this year!
My grandma used to be a master of green tea ( Sencha ) ceremony and I also started training to be a master in the same school after her in order to learn the culture and etiquette of the tea ceremony.
When you say “tea ceremony” you may imagine a “ground” tea ceremony because it is more common but the one I am training in is a “leaf” tea ceremony.
Even not may Japanese people know well about the leaf tea ceremony!
I am going to tell you more about it on the website soon 🙂
On this website, I am going to share information about Japanese tea from different perspectives.
I respect traditional and old ideas but also believe I have to think out of the box in order to discover and provide new and different appeals of Japanese tea.
Apart from the website, I am also planning to organize events to get a variety of people involved so I hope I will see you there!
Thank you very much for your reading this!
I will do my best to entertain you through this website!
7 January, 2017