Student Blog

Alumni Interview Vol.14:Using presentation skills to hand down Japanese tea culture

5min read

Taishi Shimizu is currently working as the 10th generation for his family’s tea plantation in Uji, Kyoto. So how did Taishi, who had known since he was a student that he would take over his family’s business, spend his student years and what was his vision?

Alumni Profile
Name : Taishi Shimizu (On left in picture)
Birthplace: Kyoto
Year of Graduation : College of International Management 2016
University Activities: Futsal Club APU Delfino、studied abroad in America(1 year)
Current Position : Cha-en SHIMIZU-YA 10th generation

Q: Please explain to us briefly about your current work!

As a 10th-generation family tea farmer in Uji, Kyoto, I grow and manufacture tencha, the raw material for matcha, and also run our own cafe. Recently, I have launched a cosmetic brand "Shinba" that uses JAS-certified organic tea leaves that I manage in my own garden. As more and more Japanese people turn away from tea, we believe that we have a mission to pass on this important part of Japanese culture. Before taking over the family business, I joined Conrad Osaka (Hilton Group) as a new graduate and worked as a salesman.

Q: Was there any deciding factor that led you to enter APU?

I had already decided I wanted to enter APU when I was in my first year of high school. I was already vaguely aware that I would take over the family business so I thought about how I could expand the possibilities of tea. Then, I had the thought that if I made friends with foreigners those possibilities would open up, so I started to consider APU, where international students, people who speak English, and people who are internationally minded gather. My high school had a program to enter APU, so while playing soccer, I kept my grades up to be able to enter!

Q: What did you do during your time at APU?

To tell the truth, I was always playing futsal. In my case when I was in high school, I was frustrated that I couldn't participate in the national soccer tournament, so at university, I definitely wanted to go. That’s when I found APU Delfino and became completely absorbed in it.

As a result of devoting myself to futsal, I was able to participate in the national tournament for 3 consecutive years and finish third for the 2 consecutive years. In my last year of school, I became the circle’s representative. It was a wonderful experience.
Even so, I wanted to be able to speak English, so in the fall of my third year, I took a leave of absence to study abroad in America. I also was very diligent when it came to classes with group work and presentations. I use my presentation skills even now, so I am very glad I fostered that skill.

Q: Was there anything you glad you accomplished during your time at APU? Any regrets?

I made many friends and built a wide range of relationships that I am grateful for to this day. Society is formed by interactions between people. What is important when working with other people is building relationships on a daily basis so that people can help each other when the need arises. There are many senses that I was able to cultivate at APU because of the diversity of cultures and people that come together.

As far as regrets go, I only have fond memories of my student life, but if I had to say, it would be that I wish I used my time more effectively to study. I think university students are free to choose what they prioritize in their lives.
My first priority at APU was making international and internationally-minded friends, so in Delfino, while playing futsal I made friends. I accomplished my biggest goal, and I met my wife at APU as well. I don’t really regret anything.

Q: Please tell us how the skills and experiences you gained at APU useful to your current job.

I think I became able to explain things logically through taking different classes at APU. In APU classes, there are invariably many chances for presentations and group work. Conveying to people what they don’t know in a logical and precise manner is a skill that will be a big asset after graduation. So, even if you hate studying, I suggest taking group work and presentations seriously. Moreover, your communication skills will evolve naturally. I was always social and loved talking with people, but my overall communication improved.

Q: Shimizu what kind of future do you want to build for yourself?

I want to make my ancestor’s brand, Cha-en SHIMIZU-YA, the Hermes of Japanese tea.
Tea is one of the symbols of Japanese culture, but even many Japanese people don’t understand the difference. Tea is a luxury, so I want to make a society where people discuss how delicious it is.

In order to find new possibilities for tea in addition to eating and drinking tea, we launched a cosmetic brand called "Shinba" and started developing cosmetics that allow consumers to know who they’re buying from.
We also believe we play a major role in passing on the important culture and history of Japanese tea to future generations. Ultimately, I would be happy if I could make people's lives a little richer through tea!

Q: Lastly, please give a message to current students!

Just do what you want until your heart’s content so that you can enjoy your university years. Those who don’t have something they want to do should get involved with many kinds of people and search for that something!

Loop.A.S. Interviewer

Name: Yuta Kosaka
Collage: College of International Management (APM)
Hello, my name is Yuta Kosaka, a 3rd year APM student. At Beppu, I am enjoying a slow life with my two cats.
I would like to “Loop” current students and alumni using various methods.


The name says it all: student Organizations Loop.A.S. main goals are to connect APU alumni and the current students and to make chances for APU students through a variety of activities and events. And their activities are for both Alumni and Students. They work with the APU Alumni Association to create opportunities for alumni and students that they can meet, share knowledge, and gain better understanding of life after APU/in APU. The Student Blog posts interviews with alumni conducted by Loop.A.S.

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