IIya Vally, Japan
I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to “travel” while staying safe at home. The first step is to pick a country that you would like to visit, and then follow the tips below. I’ve chosen Japan as I miss it greatly and am longing for my next trip.
Travel Through Food: I tend to cook a quasi-macrobiotic/Japanese menu most nights, but when I want to make it extra-special, I try a few dishes that are a bit more traditional. For a special night, I may make pickles early that day to serve in the evening, and I make miso soup with traditional dashi stock, rice, fish, and a couple of side dishes. I also focus on presentation and use chopsticks that I picked up in Japan. They hold special memories. If it’s a weekend, I have sake with a special sake set I picked up in Bessho, Japan. Since most sakes have an interesting background, I always research the brewery and share its story.
You don’t have to cook a full-on meal if that’s not possible. Perhaps enjoy a tea specific to a certain area or a small snack.
Travel Through Music: Add another dimension to your cultural immersion by listening to music from the country you are enjoying. For Japanese music, try our Hinoki Onsen playlist. Sound is a wonderful way to create a different vibration in your living space. I always find it fascinating how beautiful other cultures’ music can be. Other options for Japanese music are to search the terms “shakuhachi,” “koto,” or “shamisen” on Spotify. There are countless options to listen to.
Travel Through Entertainment: After you’ve cooked a nice meal and/or listened to some music, continue the experience with a foreign film or a good book. Both reading books and watching movies are ultra-immersive activities that will take you away from the day-to-day and expose you to culture on a different level. Watch a few movies from a different culture, and you will begin to grasp subtle aspects of that culture that you may not have learned otherwis
- The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu
- The Tale of the Lady Ochikubo, author unknown
- Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata
- The Old Capital, Yasunari Kawabata
- Geisha, Liza Dalby
- The Tale of Murasaki, Liza Dalby
- Sansho the Balif
- The Life of Oharu
- Tokyo Sonata
Shima Onsen - Gunma, Japan
Travel Through Self-Care: At the end of one of my Japan travel days, I always choose one of the Aromatic Journeys and enjoy a full four-step bathing ritual. If you want to do something that your whole family can enjoy, perhaps diffuse the Home Essence. Use your imagination and pretend you are soaking far away, perhaps off the beaten path. Draw your perfect bath and use the coordinating music playlist to go deeper.
Since travel isn’t an option at this time, I plan to try this with different countries and am excited to learn something new in the process. India, Italy, Korea… the possibilities are endless.
You can do all of the above with any culture. Do you best and allow your imagination to guide you.