In a fashionable area of the city of Shizuoka, an hour southwest of Tokyo by shinkansen, is a teahouse where a young French woman is attempting to spread her passion for Japanese tea to the world, particularly to Japanese youth unfamiliar with its place in their cultural heritage.

Marie Roux, 24, has been working at Maruzen Tea Roastery cafe for less than a year. She greets customers in flawless Japanese, brewing them tea at custom-ordered temperatures and serving them tea-infused gelato.

Roux, who is from Besancon in France's Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region, didn't expect to find her life consumed by a passion for Japanese tea. As a university student, she only became interested in studying Japanese after reading manga and watching anime as a teen. She wasn't even sure if she would ever visit Japan.