Now that the garden has been cleared, the fun begins. We started with a visit to Yame, where Fukuoka’s best tea is grown, to see the champion tea grower of them all, Akihito Takaki. Aki has ten hectares of tea plantation, which may not seem much, but it’s enough to harvest 20 tons of leaves, which make 4 tons of green and black tea. Those beautifully manicured rows of tea are harvested by machine- the hand picked plants are far less ornamental. Fortuitously, Aki also supplies one year old plants, of which he has a stock of a million, no less. We placed an order for 2,000, which at 50 yen a plant (3 1/2p) seems something of a bargain. Aki, in a two hour tour of his farm, also gave us all the advice we need about the care of the plants. The bare field below will be planted in March. The two following photos show what they will look like after in the first and the second years (we hope!). As will everything in the garden, things happen slowly, and it’ll be five years before we can harvest a decent crop.