It's hard to believe that it actually happened in the post-Fukushima Japan, but it most certainly did. For the city's commercial tea growers, the Board of Education and teachers, it was more important to proceed with the pre-scheduled annual event and to promote the local industry (tea growing) than to ever so slightly think about the health and safety of the 10-year-olds.
The event took place on May 11, and one week later, a high level of radioactive cesium (830 becquerels per kilogram) was detected in the tea grown and harvested in Bando City.
From the now-withdrawn (but cached) web page of Iwai Sakura Shopping District (original in Japanese; not the literal or complete translation but you get the idea...):
Wednesday May 11, 2011: "Sashima Tea Field Study" - 3rd-grade pupils of elementary schools in Bando City picked tea leaves in the rain, enjoyed tempura made of raw leaves
Sponsor: The Board of Education of Bando City, Ibaraki Prefecture,
On Wednesday May 11, the annual "Sashima Tea Field Study" was held in Ibaraki Prefectural University of Agriculture in Bando City. It was raining, but 3rd-graders from 13 schools in Bando participated in the study.
13 schools were divided into 6 groups, and took turns in learning about the tea. The field study was first started in Sashima district, which is famous for its Sashima tea, but when Bando City was created by merging Iwai City and Sashima-machi, the field study got bigger in scale.
This photograph [photos were not cached] shows the pupils from the First Elementary School in Group 3. When a Bando City worker greets them, they greet back vigorously.
The head of the Board of Education of Bando City greets the participants.
The head of the Bando Branch of the Ibaraki Prefecture Tea Growers Cooperative explains tea growing, and the pupils listen attentively.
Now it's time to go to the tea plantation and pick the tea leaves.
Bright green, new tea leaves. It almost smells like brewed tea.
Pupils holding up the tea leaves they just picked to the camera.
They pick tea leaves in two rows. For some, it may be their first time to touch tea leaves.
Teachers are having a good time with their pupils.
Members of a Bando city citizens' group make tempura using the tea leaves that have been just picked by the pupils.
Eating delicious tea-leaf tempura. For some, it may be their first time ever.
Organizer: Tea Growers Cooperative of Ibaraki Prefecture, Bando Branch
Sponsor: Bando City, Bando City Board of Education