This is a new program we have begun in response to feedback from some of our previous volunteers. We want to provide an opportunity to people who are interested in an immersive environment to learn about tea, giving them a chance to contribute their unique skills outside of the standard fieldwork, as well as opportunities for collaboration and community engagement. We wish to provide our interns with an in-depth education in our tea farming and processing methods while we learn from them about new ways to engage with the international community of tea lovers!
Through this internship you will get to participate in a many different types of work, which will likely change over the course of your period of stay. You will engage in your own independent projects, with guidance from us here at Naturalitea, or collaborate with your fellow interns. Other times we will all work together out in the field (there’s a lot of manual labor involved in growing tea, especially when it’s organic). You will also engage with friends and visitors and help to teach them what you have learned in your time with us.
Traveling to another country for an extended stay is a big commitment, and we ask that you give this very serious consideration before applying. You will be joining us out in a corner of the Japanese countryside that is far off the beaten path for most international visitors, so you should definitely expect some degree of culture shock. We truly believe, however, that your experiences here will be more than worth the challenge!
Over the course of your stay, you may be asked to take part in a variety of tasks according to the needs of the season. Generally, you will be expected to be able to work independently on a project of your own choosing, with the guidance of the Naturalitea team as needed. Depending on the specialty of your skill set, this will likely involve working in the office or at a similar designated space. At times, you may be asked to help with physical labor on the farm, including but not limited to weeding, pruning, and planting, which could involve extensive movement, bending over, and heavy lifting. Please be prepared for the level of fitness this work requires and have appropriate clothing available for such work conditions. Also note that, depending on the season, it can be hot, humid, and buggy.
Typically, you will work eight hours a day, four days a week. Work will generally be Monday through Thursday, from 8:00AM until 5:00PM. You may be required to adjust your schedule accordingly in the case of tours, visits, and festivals for which you are asked to represent Naturalitea.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US
In exchange for your hard work, we want to ensure that your experience here is a fulfilling one. Though our work keeps us busy much of the time, we will have designated time each week for teaching about tea and answering questions. Furthermore, we will do our best to provide you with special opportunities to explore the area in your free time. For example, we can introduce you to local potters, a tatami and kimono maker, and fantastic countryside restaurants. If there are other things you want to do or see outside of your work with us, please let us know and we will do whatever is within our power to make it happen! (Please note that there will be certain times, such as around harvests, when we will have no free time available. Our apologies, in advance!)
We also want to make sure you feel supported, and not overwhelmed by the sudden shift to Japanese rural life. If you have any concerns while you are here, we hope you will feel free to approach and discuss it with us.
Interns will be housed in a space just down the hill from our house/office. There are three bedrooms rooms available, as well as a large shared kitchen space, and shared washing and bathing facilities. You will might have the option to share a bedroom with another intern, if you are willing, and so be able to reduce rent costs. The cost of accommodation will include all utilities, furnishings, and internet access.
You should be aware before hand that this is a rather rustic setting (Please refer to the photos below to get some idea of the space). The housing is located in an old building that was once used as a kindergarten, and is surrounded by vegetation. During warmer seasons you should be prepared to see snakes and bugs around the yard, and other various forms of wildlife have been known to pass through on occasion throughout the year. During the winter it can get quite chilly, though you will be provided with good heating units for your room. We do ask that you help by keeping the space clean during your stay.
Your costs will include:
- Accommodations (rent is 13,000JPY/month)
- Food (we will provide transportation to grocery stores)
- Travel (Tokyo to Shizuoka via Shinkansen is around 6000JPY, plus an additional 410JPY for the local train to Fujieda)
- Assorted toiletries and sundries you might need during your stay
CODE OF CONDUCT
During occasions in which you are interacting with customers or otherwise representing Naturalitea to the wider public, we ask that you please adhere to a high degree of propriety and follow any instructions given by the Naturalitea team. We understand that you may be coming to us without a prior understanding of Japanese social norms, and therefore do not expect perfection on your part. We will do our best to make sure you understand what is expected of you in such situations. If you cause a disturbance or fail to follow instructions in a way that is harmful to the reputation of Naturalitea, you should be prepared to face some degree of disciplinary action or expulsion from the internship program.
We will do our best to ensure that you are provided with adequate personal and private space in your living arrangements. You will be provided with a private bedroom and shared cooking and bathing facilities. At times, other visitors may rent space in the same building in which you are living. Please respect their space and their use of the shared facilities.
Disruptive or destructive action towards fellow interns, Naturalitea staff, or others in the community should be avoided, and may result in expulsion from the internship program.
In all, we ask for your patience, friendliness, and flexibility in approaching a wide variety of social and professional situations during your time with us, and that you keep an open mind in all of your interactions with the Japanese community and fellow interns from around the world. Be prepared to interact and communicate with people from different backgrounds who might not be able to speak the same language as you.
We will require proof of travel insurance covering the duration of your stay upon your arrival.
Before applying, please read the "About Us" pages so that you have some familiarity with our ideals and the goals of our company. By submitting this form, you are agreeing to adhere to all principles laid out in our Code of Conduct.
***Please note that you must be able to speak in English, Chinese, or (of course) Japanese to apply.***
Date of Birth:
Desired Internship Period:
Are there dates in this period that you need to be away?
Spoken Languages and Fluency Level:
Work Experience (Up to two most recent.):
Additional skills, training, or experience:
Links to portfolio or other work you would like to share with us:
How did you hear about us?
What is your interest in organic agriculture, specifically?
Why are you interested in participating in our program?
What sorts of contributions can you make during your time with us?
How do you think you will make use of your experiences with us in the future?
Do you have any prior experience in Japan?
Do you have any questions or concerns about the program?