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A look back at 2020

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

January/February: Winter Fancy Foods Show at Moscone, I meet Mr. Iwase of Kanei Hitokoto Seicha

and people from The World Green Tea Association, and the University of Shizuoka. I am accepted into the Shizuoka Tea Study Program. I will be spending 5 days in Shizuoka learning all aspects of Tea, from cultivation to export. The Pandemic is known, but…off to Tokyo anyway, and eventually to Shimada, where I will be visiting

tea farms/refining factories, The Shizuoka Tea Market, The Shizuoka Tea Museum, meeting masters in every aspect of tea along the way. I was also tasked with shopping for ChaTo. I arrive back home before the Pandemic really changes our lives. I will be blogging about the Tea Study Program in the future.

March/April: Major sports are shockingly shut down due to Covid. I come upon an unfortunate personal episode, spend 15 days in the hospital with a virus (not Coronavirus). ChaTo is shut down due to the Stay-at-Home order. March is not a great month. April is just as strange…ChaTo is still shut down, and I begin chemo-therapy for 8 weeks (not for cancer, but to zap the virus). Cherry Blossom Festival is cancelled.

May/June: ChaTo is shuttered, the Stay-at-Home order is still in effect. Shincha

(first harvest of the year) is happening. Shipments are being held in Japan due to Covid. June 27, Japan Center Mall re-opens with Social Distancing requirements. No more free samples.

July/August: We start to get our rhythmn, adjusting to the new Covid procedures. July 20 another shut down order is in effect. The Shincha (first harvest tea) and Sencha this year has been so fantastic this year. The new Saeakari cultivar is nutty and wonderful. We get shipment of ceramics I had shopped for in February. Timing on products shipped is becoming impossible to predict.

September/October: September 4 re-opening. Heatwaves. Wildfires turn day into night. Seasonal Yuzu Sencha makes its return. We begin carrying Arabikicha - powdered green tea. Indoor dining returns. Halloween is cancelled.

November/December: Thanksgiving and Christmas events are cancelled. Indoor dining banned again.

It’s always wonderful to get a visit from Sensei Reiko Wake, Japanese Tea Ambassador. There are only 30+ JTA's, we are so lucky to have her time. She always answers any Tea questions we have with knowledgeable fun. We begin carrying our first Oolong - Osumi Ginger infused Oolong. It is ChaTo’s 4th Anniversary. Our website is launched. The 2021 Fukubukuro Sale is a wild success.

I want to sincerely thank our ChaTo Tea Friends who braved the Covid safety restrictions and requirements to visit the shop. I hope everybody will be able to meet with their families and loved ones soon and let’s look forward to a great Tea year in 2021. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

no umami no life

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