Radiation and Tea in Japan


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby tjsan » Apr 17th, '13, 10:39

Kevangogh wrote:I'd like to share with this community an email I received today from a customer. Of course I'll redact the name of the individual who sent it, it's not important "who" it is. The customer below is seriously concerned about his tea and even if he isn't using common sense, I of course gave him a refund.

The tea in question was grown in Uji, it's a Tsuen green tea. That's a full 550 km from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

There are two reasons I'm posting it here. The first is that I'd like to give you some idea of what we have to deal with behind the scenes two years after the disasters. This is only one email, as you might imagine, I've had many similar to this. This is not even taking into account the situation I had to deal with back in January from the idiot who went by "veritas" here a few months ago. In case you don't know, that was the guy pretending to be a lawyer who purchased our teas, had them tested, was posted how thrilled he was with the results, then threatened to get a lawyer in Fukushima "at your expense" and sue us despite saying on here how pleased he was with the test results, and who a mere month later publicly stated on the YouTube comments that he still drinks the green tea he had originally complained about.

The main reason I'm posting it, however, is that I would like you to understand how much we appreciate it that most of you, on the contrary, use your brains and common sense. We do appreciate it that most people understand that irradiated ground water from Fukushima Daiichi is not going to not going to seep 550 miles to Uji.

So whether you purchase from us or anyone else, I just want to state how appreciative we are that you, unlike some, have used common sense and continued to purchase Japanese green teas, we know it would be easy to get freaked out about it. Here you go....

I used your web page to send you this same email letter. Please cancel my order # XXXXX


http://www.O-Cha.com
April 16, 2013, 4:05 pm
I have an order (# XXXXX) waiting for shipment of the new crop.

I am concerned about the radiation levels in my order since this is a new crop. I have seen on TV that your underground water supply used for drinking and crops are becoming high in radiation from the nuclear power plant and your government is concerned with the problem. This was on PBS Asia News today.

I really enjoy your teas in the past but I am concerned now of the safety of your product. Until I see that, your government has put a news release that the levels of radiation lower. The program also showed the radiation levels in the west coast area of the USA are also becoming higher from the fallout from Japan’s power plant.

Please cancel my order # XXXXX and return funds to me. I DO NOT WANT THE PRODUCT.

Xxxxx Xxxxxx

Emailed and received to O-Cha on 6:05 AM Wednesday, April 17, 2013 (JST) Time in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan


What is the current situation? Is Shizuoka/Uji tea safe in this season?
User avatar
tjsan
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Feb 1st, '1
Location: Poland

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Kevangogh » Apr 17th, '13, 13:35

Uji has always been safe. Some but not all areas of Shizuoka had high levels of radiation in the tea during the year of the earthquake. When I say "high", I mean over Japan and EU standards but below USA and International standards. We quit selling Shizuoka tea that year. Safe or not, no one is going to buy a tea which has low levels of radiation, even if it's considered safe, over one that has zero. Last year the rules for levels in Japan became even more strict, they're now probably the strictest in the world at this point. I believe Shizuoka teas are safe but we currently require inspections and certs for any Shizuoka tea we sell. I drink Shizuoka tea all the time.
User avatar
Kevangogh
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Jul 13th, '
Location: Japan

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Catfur » Apr 17th, '13, 22:09

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity.

Again, the most "dangerous" (for certain, very strange values of dangerous) tea reported (from 2011, even) was so "dangerous" that you would literally have to consume a physically fatal amount of it (from sheer volume, if not caffeine poisoning) in order to get a dose that might give you a minute increase in cancer risk.
User avatar
Catfur
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Jun 19th, '
Location: Carlsbad, NM

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Chip » Apr 17th, '13, 22:23

Catfur wrote:Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity.

Again, the most "dangerous" (for certain, very strange values of dangerous) tea reported (from 2011, even) was so "dangerous" that you would literally have to consume a physically fatal amount of it (from sheer volume, if not caffeine poisoning) in order to get a dose that might give you a minute increase in cancer risk.

I am not a nuclear phyisisisist ... er scientist. I am just a country teaman. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I think it is more a case of simply not understanding the subject. 99% (just guessing) of the population has virtually zero grasp of the material needed to understand what is safe and what is not.

But the information is out there ... and along with testing results provided by vendors should be sufficient most of the time.

I can understand the apprehension, but different people react to apprehension different ways. I chose to learn (and live) and then endeavor to share the information I learned with others.
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 21937
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby JBaymore » Apr 18th, '13, 11:03

Chip wrote:
Catfur wrote:Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity.

Again, the most "dangerous" (for certain, very strange values of dangerous) tea reported (from 2011, even) was so "dangerous" that you would literally have to consume a physically fatal amount of it (from sheer volume, if not caffeine poisoning) in order to get a dose that might give you a minute increase in cancer risk.

I am not a nuclear phyisisisist ... er scientist. I am just a country teaman. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I think it is more a case of simply not understanding the subject. 99% (just guessing) of the population has virtually zero grasp of the material needed to understand what is safe and what is not.

But the information is out there ... and along with testing results provided by vendors should be sufficient most of the time.

I can understand the apprehension, but different people react to apprehension different ways. I chose to learn (and live) and then endeavor to share the information I learned with others.


Said by a wise man.........

best,

...................john
User avatar
JBaymore
TeawareArtisan Member
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sep 15th, '
Location: Wilton, New Hampshire USA

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby VanFersen » May 16th, '13, 15:40

First at all Ahoi to everyone :)

I am new here and my first action on this board is a quite unwelcome one because "I need to ask a pain in the ... question" Great I am getting definitely popular here. (sarcasm)

Since the incident happened in 2011 I was first scared but then I couldn't stop buying my favorite japanese products just because of this incident. Sure like many others I was sceptical at first but then I read so many articles and talk with so many people who already been there in Fukushima for helping and one guy he was from Geneva Switzerland and he told me that he measured a higher radiation level in Geneva than near Fukushima when he was there for helping and evacuating the towns people.

Anyways long story short. I for myself started to believe again and my favorite product green tea wasn't really affected...what I thought first.

Two weeks ago in another german forum we talked about Sencha and it was the first time the topic came up and someone wrote "You just need to take care of some regions" I asked "Which ones for example?"

And he said "Shizuoka". Then I started searching for articles about that and found quite some stuff about it. But it was all a mesh up about this and that. Some pros and some cons. And so I finally found this huge Community here and that there are so many here who are directly involved because they are sellers living in Japan but also community members who really know what they are talking about :)

So once and for all I want to know is it a problem or better to say do I really need to worry if I would drink a Green Tea from Shizuoka?

Why? because I already do. That's why I asked. I bought this one here:

Sencha Tamakawa (Shizuoka, Honyama) some weeks ago and first a was not sure if I should drink it after someone wrote "take care of Shizuoka" but then I did it anyway. This Tea was harvested in Spring 2012.

I am really sorry I know I must have been at least the 100th user here who asked such a similar topic.

Thanks for the time reading my jibber jabber ;)
Last edited by VanFersen on May 16th, '13, 16:32, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
VanFersen
 
Posts: 35
Joined: May 5th, '1
Location: Vienna

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Chip » May 16th, '13, 15:56

Welcome to the forum, VanFersen. Your concerns are reasonable, and I feel we can reasonably set your mind at ease.

There were a few areas in Shizuoka that did register higher than the already low legal limit for 2011 harvest. Warashina is the most notable. The legal limit WAS 500 bq per kilo of dry aracha and some of these came in just over the legal limit.

Fast forward to 2013 harvest. The legal limit is now much lower. I have asked around and have yet to hear of any aracha going over the lower limit of 100 bq per kilo aracha. Still, I think most vendors selling internationally are not offering teas from Warashina. (BTW, this regulation went into effect April 2, 2012 ... and I did not hear of any teas going over the limit, so you should be fine with the selection you already have)

All teas for export must by law be tested and be under this new legal limit which is incredibly low. Every tea that I have seen teasted came in at virtually 0 bq per kilo ... they may have registered 1-2 bq, with an error of +/- 1-2. Likely these are virtual zero.

As you alluded to, radiation is everywhere and we are exposed to higher likely each time we fly.
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 21937
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby edkrueger » May 16th, '13, 16:39

Chip wrote:...radiation is everywhere and we are exposed to higher likely each time we fly.


I stopped eating flys because of the radiation. :mrgreen:
User avatar
edkrueger
 
Posts: 1693
Joined: Jun 24th, '

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby ethan » May 16th, '13, 18:19

Using info provided by Chip & logic similar to Ed's, I'm going to have all of my tea from Japan sent to me by ship. lol
ethan
 
Posts: 361
Joined: May 27th, '
Location: Boston, MA 2/3; Thailand 1/3

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Chip » May 16th, '13, 21:07

edkrueger wrote:
Chip wrote:...radiation is everywhere and we are exposed to higher likely each time we fly.


I stopped eating flys because of the radiation. :mrgreen:

I capture flies with chop sticks in mid flight and eat them alive. :mrgreen:
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 21937
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Catfur » May 16th, '13, 21:46

Chip wrote:
edkrueger wrote:
Chip wrote:...radiation is everywhere and we are exposed to higher likely each time we fly.


I stopped eating flys because of the radiation. :mrgreen:

I capture flies with chop sticks in mid flight and eat them alive. :mrgreen:


My cats wish they were you.
User avatar
Catfur
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Jun 19th, '
Location: Carlsbad, NM

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby VanFersen » May 18th, '13, 16:07

Thanks for your answer ^^
User avatar
VanFersen
 
Posts: 35
Joined: May 5th, '1
Location: Vienna

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Trigga » Sep 14th, '13, 23:56

This is my first post everyone! Just to introduce myself, I'd like to say that I'm an avid and longtime tea drinker. My tea of choice is green tea, I drink sencha, matcha, and gyokuro far more than anything else. Currently I'm in Japan traveling over the span on 3 months. My trip began on August 8th, and I will be returning home to America on November 5th. I'm WWOOFing, which is an amazing organizations with chapters all over the world. Basically it's a great means to travel anywhere in the world for very cheap. You pay for transportation costs, and arrange to stay with host families. Once with the host family you work maybe 4 to 6 hours per day in order to stay there, and eat for free.

So far this has been the trip of a lifetime for me, and I'm learning a great deal. What brought me to this site is my curiosity about the current state of Japanese green tea, particularly from Shizuoka. Last month I had the chance to work on an organic green tea (sencha) farm in a town called Haruno, near Hamamatsu city. I got to see just about everything (cultivation, compost fertilization, trimming, pruning, weeding, packaging, and processing of tea) except for the actual harvesting of the tea. I even got to partake in the act of processing the tea by hand called 'Temomo-Cha'.

Since being here in Japan my largest concern by far has been about radiation from Fukushima. I've stayed at a couple other farms prior to staying with the family that grew geen tea in Shizuoka (another in Shizuoka as well as another in Nagano). Both were also great, but some things have been making me increasingly skeptical about the things I've been consuming. My trip has been taking me further and further south with each host I stay at. I find that at each new, they tell me how their food is safe, but areas further north, and west of them are very dangerous. Currently, I'm at a guest house off the coast of Shikoku, on an island called Tebajima. This new host won't consume any foods from Areas northwest of him. I even brought him some organic sencha from my last host in Shizuoka, and he refused to drink it and advised me not to saying that it was very dangerous, and that he only drinks green tea from southern sources. Kyoto, Uji, being maybe the furthest north. This host is even saying that Japan in general is a very dangerous place right now. Even here is Shikoku there is always risks of radiation from Fukushima.

At my last host, I asked if his tea had been tested before. He said yes, and showed me paperwork that was for the most part, illegible to me. I could see what was labeled 90 bq. He told me that this testing had been done after March 11th when the Fukushima disaster occurred. Last year in 2012, his reading were lower, at about 40bq. Since the government limit in Japan is much higher now, he has not gotten his tea tested this year. I read through every page of this thread, and it left me feeling secure in my decision that the green tea's coming from Japan were, for the most part, safe. However, it seems that each new host I go to provides me with information that conflicts with what previous hosts have told me. I'd like to hear more people's opinions on this. I have already purchased a large amount of sencha from this farm in Shizuoka and am thinking that it may have been a waste. Part of me feels that the risks of this tea are so negligible, and I've already bought the tea, so why not. On the other hand, why would I want to take an unnecessary risk, and that my knowledge of these issues are very basic. Has anyone found any more recent, more accurate information regarding this topic? Please provide some input.

Oh yea, here is my youtube channel. I make a lot of VLOG's of my journey. If you have questions about my trip and WWOOF, please watch my firs VLOG, the introductory video. I upload new videos at least once per week, usually about 3 or 4 per week, so subscribe!


http://www.youtube.com/user/Crash607/videos

Thanks!
Trigga
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 9th, '1

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby Chip » Sep 15th, '13, 11:23

Hello, Trigga. Thank you for posting. Please post your Vlog under TeaBlogs and Vlogs.
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 21937
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Radiation and Tea in Japan

Postby JBaymore » Sep 15th, '13, 12:50

Trigga,

I spent this summer in Japan making pottery and doing some museum research. Returned about 3 weeks ago. I am there just about every year. I was there in 2011 right after the earthquake, tsunami, and meltdowns also. In fact twice in 2011. Deliberately went thru Sendai and into the Tohoku region.

If you are there... you know that the press there is covering the situation at Fukushima at a pretty high level. Much more than we get here in the States (since I have returned home). Stuff we are just hearing about now in our media here I saw months ago in Japan. Things that were said would not likely work in the Japanese press or that were really bad ..... the local press is NOT yet saying.

That being said...........

I can think of no country in the world (except maybe Russia...with Cherynoble) where the populace would be more "sensitive" to issues of radiation. They are the only nation that has had nuclear bombs used in warfare on their territory. So I would imagine that there is a "collective gestalt" about the potential dangers of radiation that kind of absorbed as one grows up in that culture. Likely that fear is a bit "larger than life".

So how do you "weigh" the accuracy of the concerns of those people you are meeting? Are they scientists, or laypeople? What information are they basing their fears upon? It is human nature to say things like, "It is really bad over there but things are fine here." It makes you feel better about your situation.

I've seen conflicting information out of many different sources there in Japan. Since in 2011 as a college professor I was responsible for taking college students to Japan, I spent a LOT of time researching the science behind radiation exposure and such. I teach technical ceramics, so I have a bit of a "Tech Weenie" side to me.

The upshot of that information (and I still watch what I can since I go there so often) said that for the most part, other than very close in to Fukushima Daichi, and other than for long term exposures (living there), it is not all that bad. I personally wouldn't eat stuff grown in Fukushima-ken or some of the immediate close downwind locations, and I certainly would not eat seafood from that section of the coast.

And if teas have been tested....... and show level below the current regulation point..... I wouldn't really worry too much about that either. I brought some Shizuoka tea home with me.

I am NOT in any way downplaying the mess at Fukushima at ALL. It is a disaster that we have not yet figured out HOW to contain. It is not a Japanese problem... it is everyone's problem....... becasue there are such reactors everywhere. It CAN happen here. I personally think the freezing the ground approach is a pie in the sky approach... and expect it to take longer than planned and not work as planned. Then they'll be on to "Plan Q".

People get hysterical when the word "radiation" comes up. Some of that fear is warranted..... but most is not based in facts or science.

best,

......................john
User avatar
JBaymore
TeawareArtisan Member
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: Sep 15th, '
Location: Wilton, New Hampshire USA

PreviousNext

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation