You do not need to board the plane and leave the Netherlands to discover Japan. Step into Okura’s world and dream away. Japan Is well-known for its unique traditions and culture, which is rooted in finding living a meaningful life. As a result, they practice habits that improve the entire living manner of life. With this blog we would like to give away a peek into the Japanese way of life.
Chopsticks are originally from China and were introduced in the Japanese culture in the seventh century, called hashi in Japan. In Japan, people place the chopsticks horizontally and not vertically as in China. This is because the Japanese believe that they are the tools for eating food together with their god.
Tea ceremony is a Japanese tradition steeped in history. It is a ceremonial way of preparing and drinking matcha. A Japanese tea master, perfected the tea ceremony and raised it to the level of an art. Omotenashi, which is the philosophy of Japanese hospitality, originates from these tea ceremonies.
Bowing is the Japanese way of greeting. For Japanese people, bowing comes naturally as they start learning the important etiquette from a young age. In ‘the new world’, where people are advised to stop shaking hands and to avoid close contact, bowing becomes an even more interesting way of greeting and connecting.
Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding, ori means folding and kami means paper. The goal is to transform a single sheet of square paper into a finished sculpture through only folding techniques without cutting and gluing. This tradition has been practiced since the Edo period (1603 – 1867).
The best-known origami model is the Japanese paper crane. In general, these designs begin with a paper with different colours, prints or patterns.
Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. The custom of using furoshiki dates back as early as the Nara Period (710-784), when it was used for keeping the valuables of the Emperors. The term, which translates to “bath (furo) spread (shiki),” was later on used in public bathhouses to indicate a bath mat. It was also used as a wrapping cloth to carry clothes in the Edo Period (1603-1868). Afterwards, it was used as a daily bag until 1960, when plastic and nylon bags were developed. Nowadays, you can find many modern furoshiki, which is used as a shopping bag.
The festivals in Japan, matsuri in Japanese, are often celebrated around a particular event in close relation to the current season. The festivals range from small and peaceful to the large and noble. Japan celebrates many matsuri where the local community organizes stunning parades, involving carefully designed costumes and extensive preparation.
Japanese calligraphy has many purposes. It is an art form, a means of communication, but also a Zen practice that evokes harmony and wisdom.