I spent the day in Shizuoka today. Despite having lived in the country for 18 years or so, I’d never really spent much time here. One time I visited a friend in Hamamatsu, but I never got outside the city.
This time I drove. A lot of it highway, but then I got off the beaten path. I was driving to the coast and I saw these cute rows of shrubbery, and I thought to myself, “that’s cute, shrubs.” Only they weren’t shrubs. They were green tea plants.
Turns out something like half the green tea in Japan is produced here.
I rolled down the windows because it’s a warm day, and it hit me, a deep green smell. Sweet and earthy, I felt like the air had steeped in the leaves, like the world was a cup of tea. Not black tea, but green tea, matcha. Beautiful.