Today's article comes from one of Nagano's local newspapers.
It's that time of year again. Well, actually it is a little past that time. I am, of course(?), talking about the time of year to pick new tea leaves. The tea picking process started on the 14th in the little village of Tenryu located on the southern edge of Nagano prefecture. That is actually 11 days later than normal because of frosts that occurred in the spring.
If I am asked if I like to drink coffee or tea I will always say that I want to drink tea (though in reality I end up drinking more coffee in a day than tea). Tea is an intricate part of the Japanese lifestyle and also helps to support many villages that would normally not be able to grow anything else. That is the case with the small village of Tenryu, which is made out of many sloaps and vallies. Tenryu's tea fields are 290 to 400 meters (.18 to .25 miles) above sea level.
The tea is picked by breaking off the stem below the leaves (which come in sets of three) so the leaves are not damaged. Below you can see a picture of the picking process.
See you next time at JJNN