Bringing Mindful Japanese Culture to Our American Home Part I – Food Presentation

japanese food
Beautiful details and presentation go into the presentation of Japanese food.

I never watched Marie Kondo in Japan for some reason until I moved back to the US this December. My husband and I are minimalists at heart and love our tiny Orlando home.

So when we finally watched back home recently, we adored Ms. Kondo for she certainly brought back cheerful memories of Japan’s remarkable culture that brings life alive in the moment via the senses and awareness via beauty.

It was this beauty and mindfulness of Japan’s living mythology that supported me gave me great joy when living in Japan. It also helped me when I wasn’t doing well either, for its inherent beauty brought me out of my ego mind and back to the glorious present moment.

Kaiseki of Japan.
Kaiseki at Umehana in Osaka.

Back home in America, a living mythology such as Japan’s that supports the psyche’s needs and connects one to the environment is non-existent.

Japanese food
Japanese food in little dishes.

Holding in my hand and feeling a ceramic made by a living artisan opens up a little glimpse of eternity for me to and connects me to the cosmos.

Japanese bowls and dishes in our Orlando, Florida home.

So, back here in Orlando, Florida while coronavirus rages thanks to our moron governor and collapsing government, stress and rage are averted by practicing the mindfulness that Japanese culture we integrated into our home provides.

We have been unpacking and adjusting for months, so it’s still a work in progress, but we have arrived at a nice breathing point.

I will be posting a series highlighting my favorite elements of traditional Japanese culture we have blended into our American home.

Japanese dishes.
Beautiful little dishes at an antique store in Kyoto.

First things first: Mindful presentation.

A series of tiny dishes from Japan. I love the one with Ebisu and the fish. Folklore permeates Japanese culture and sustains its people.

I love to cook so I make it special and mindful by paying attention to the details and presentation.

In Kaiseki, Japanese course meals, the details of the tiniest things are a marvel to experience.

It’s beauty and intricacy are a feast in itself, feeding you body and soul a deep connection to the earth, food, art, beauty, body and nourishment all rolled into one.

So serving anything mindlessly like in a styro-foam bowl or some other blasphemous container of the wasteland is just unacceptable. Food prep is meditation in action.

Little dishes make great presentation for snacks!

Here at home, everything is served in a beautiful bowl that has a story to it, like where we got it or who made it.

It helps cut down on clutter and too many things that veils the now.

Or food is served in the ubiquitous and gorgeous tiny dishes just like Japanese food is served in during Kaiseki.

In even the smallest dish, like noodles, the presentation was key and half of the experience eating. You went away not only full on eight, tiny servings of food, but with the awakening you had while eating it and marveling at the culinary and cultural artistry.

Japanese wooden trays
Japanese wooden trays at home in the USA along with some tiny dishes that were a gift from NHK.

Everything is also served on a wooden Japanese tray. We snagged five of them at Fuji-san’s Antiques in Nishinomiya.

Japanese napkins
Japanese napkins with traditional motifs.

Simple details of Japanese napkins are part of the presentation, as I love the traditional patterns.

So, cooking and eating is an awakening process in our American home thanks to traditional Japanese culture.

Using everyday functional and owning a minimal amount of beautiful, hand-made objects were how people during the Edo period lived simple and that the art of everyday objects made live special for everyday people.

Tiny Japanese dishes I use for my garden harvest
I uses little Japanese dishes and trays for my garden’s harvest.

I feel calmer, grounded and happier because everything has meaning and beauty living this way, and I see a glimpse of eternity in every moment interacting with these object.

TIny plates from Japan.
It’s little dish central at our house!

Life is an looked at in complete awe this way. Plus, I love to make things delicious and beautiful for others, as Japanese culture teaches us mutual dependence on each other.

Just like the folktale of a people who had long spoons and could not feed themselves with it no matter how hard they tried.

They discovered instead that they could feed each other and were happier in relationship to their food and each other because of it.

Japanese ceramic bowls hand-made in Okinawa bought in Osaka.
Japanese ceramic bowls hand-made in Okinawa bought in Osaka.

Tune in next time for another article of Japanese culture we have imported home to America!

Japanese ceramic bowls hand-made in Okinawa bought in Osaka.
Happy Hubby at Home! I love to cook because it expresses how much I love my family and friends!

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