I first heard of “Nihoncha Instructors” some 3 years ago, when I saw that there are Japanese tea professionals with such designation/qualification. With a little research, I discovered that there is a non-profit organisation known as Nihoncha Instructor Association that serves as an examining body for the qualification.
Some time in 2016, Ricardo, a Colombian tea blogger I follow, related his experience in taking the course. From there, I found out that one does not have to be in Japan to be able to take the course. Foreigners can actually do a correspondence course, with the option of taking the practical exam in Japan. Without taking the exam, one gets qualified as a Nihoncha Advisor upon successful completion of the course. My curiosity piqued, I decided to set it as a long-term goal.
Well, to cut a long story short, I have signed up and paid for the course few weeks ago. Call it fast-forwarding my goal or just me being impulsive, I will now be expecting the course materials to arrive next month.
One thing, I have to complete the course within 6 months. That’s including the completion of 3 written reports. That is certainly going to be a challenge, but at the same time, something to look forward to. It will keep my mind active and occupied, since I have been feeling quite stagnant lately.
In taking this step to broaden my knowledge of Japanese tea, I have one Nihoncha Instructor to thank for, and that’s none other than the tea ‘evangelist’ from Sweden, Per Oscar Brekell. I recently read his book, and it really inspired me to go ahead with my plan to take up the course. I could relate to some of his early experiences where Nihoncha is concerned.
When I asked him about his experience in taking the course, he was kind enough to offer a few words of encouragement. In addition, he also helped me in clearing an initial hurdle concerning international application by putting me in touch with someone in the association. That lady was so patient in handling my various queries via email, and I’m also really thankful to her. That was also a challenge and feat, as I seldom communicate in formal Japanese by email. All those keigo! Really a refresher of what I’ve learnt all those years ago.
Last but not least, I’m also spurred by the moral support from a longtime friend and fellow tea enthusiast Heather, who is a certified tea specialist. She too is somewhat of an inspiration to me, for her knowledge of teas from around the world. Her blog is truly a testimony of her passion and dedication in the subject.
So anyway, I’m actually excited to get started. As it is going to be a whole new experience for me, I will likely blog about it from time to time.