Ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会) is one of those Japanese phrases that is near-impossible to translate. Derived from a mix of roots like tea master Sen no Rikyo, Buddhism and also Tokugawa Shogunate politics, the term can be used to encourage one to cherish a once in a lifetime moment or – in the tradition of tea ceremonies – a cup of tea. (The Japanese title for the movie Forest Gump was Ichi-go ichi-e, perhaps because of the protagonist’s tendency to appreciate every moment and every chance encounter.) It was with those spirits that Mr. Yamashi, a trained, class 1 tea steward (sometimes known as a cha-mmelier) decided to open a shop dedicated to Japan’s finest teas.
151E is written in alpha-numeric characters but is pronounced ichi-go ichi-e. It opened shop in Fukuoka 2 months ago and boasts the finest varieties of teas from the Kyushu region. But it wasn’t only tea that Mr. Yamashi has as taste for. The shop also features an elegant interior with minimally gorgeous packaging for each tea. They say the way of tea is inscrutable, but Mr. Yamashi has certainly figured it out.