My wife and I just spent the past ten days on a trip to Japan; a country that quickly rose to the top of my most favorite places in the world list! Despite things getting comedically dramatic as we tried to navigate our food allergies with translation cards, we ate well. And, thanks to miscommunication regarding whether or not clams and scallops count as shellfish, I accidentally ate both – and I’m still alive AND they were delicious. For my wife’s celiac disease, we had to opt out of soy sauce on our sushi adventures, but were able to find a local, non touristy spot in Kyoto, where the chef was willing to accommodate our high maintenance requests. My wife got a belly echoing “NO” when she tried to put ginger on her sushi, really capping off our culinary misadventures.
By far our favorite place on the trip, and the world, was a gem of a ryokan suggested by a friend who travels to Tokyo monthly. We enjoyed hot springs under moonlight, and 12 course breakfast & dinner in our room. It was…magical.
What really struck me on the trip was the attention to detail – always. From coffee making, to drinks, to dinners, to ingredients, greetings and farewells, there was precision. Every movement, gesture, and act is filled with intention. The sushi chef we experienced in Kyoto was full of mastery. The tasting menu we had in Tokyo was from a chef who proudly said he was a 2nd generation chef. The time and energy put into mastery was a blessing to experience. We’re so often inclined to skate along the surface, not really penetrating the depth of knowledge available once time and energy’s put into really experiencing something so deeply true craftsmanship unfolds.
Taking a momentary break from work, we were able to turn things upside down the past few weeks diving into a new culture and experiencing the world through new lens. Maybe not so new…but a 14 hour flight and time difference defogged our personal lenses which have been caught up in routine these past few months. It was nice to shake things up a bit and see things a bit more clearly once again.