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.
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.
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.
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.
First things first: Mindful presentation.
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.
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.
Everything is also served on a wooden Japanese tray. We snagged five of them at Fuji-san’s Antiques in Nishinomiya.
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.
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.
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.
Tune in next time for another article of Japanese culture we have imported home to America!