The Amayori Sento — Japanese Culture


A   J O U R N A L   O F   B E A U T Y

A Healing Lesson from the Cherry Blossoms

As you are reading this journal post, I will be en route to Japan. One of the highlights of this trip is that I will arrive right in the middle of the beautiful sakura season. Cherry blossoms are a reminder of life’s fleeting beauty or mono no aware - the transience of life. I have also heard mono no aware described as capturing the essence of a long sigh. This concept of impermanence is not one we often think about in the West, where we strive for constant perfection and happiness. However, in Japan, this sentiment has been a strong part of the culture for quite a while. Cherry blossoms bloom quickly, almost as if they are coming out of nowhere. They...

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Japanese Bathing Wisdom for the Entire Family

In a traditional Japanese home, the bathwater is shared among family members. This practice perhaps comes from the Japanese tradition of the sento (public bathhouses) or bathing in public hot springs. Though unfamiliar to Westerners, the practice really does make perfect sense. Keep in mind that a shower precedes a Japanese-style bath One never enters the bath dirty regardless of whether at a public bath or home. Sharing bathwater is not only good for the environment, but also makes life easier for everyone involved. Imagine how well your family would sleep if everyone took a bath before bed. There is also something comforting about knowing that everyone has gone to bed calm and soothed. Interestingly, there is a bathing hierarchy...

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Creating Ryokan-Style Comfort In Your Home

One of my greatest hopes with Amayori is that it will pique your interest and inspire travel to Japan. Should you ever make the journey, I highly suggest spending at least part of your trip at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). The hospitality at these establishments is unlike anything else. From the second you arrive, it’s as if your every desire is anticipated and cared for before it even crosses your mind. Below are a few of the subtle, small touches that all contribute to a harmonious stay. I love to incorporate these into my home, especially during the holiday season. Seasonal Flowers and/or Art: Most ryokan rooms, and Japanese homes for that matter, have a special outlet called...

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What “Japanese Beauty” Means to Me

Recently, after a long vacation on which I did lots of meditating, I felt the call to go deeper and share my passions and journey more with you. From now on, please join me for more intimate conversations on this journal. My greatest hope has always been to share what I have learned on my journey with others, so, here we go. Let's start with the term "Japanese beauty", which has been a bit of a buzzword lately and will become more of one in the future. When I think of the term “Japanese beauty,” I’m not usually referring to beauty products as one may think. I am referring to something so much deeper and more meaningful. I am referring to...

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The Japanese Wellness Ritual of the Daily Soak

Earlier this August, I had an experience in Japan that shifted my perception on bathing. I was staying at the house of a friend’s family and, as in true Japanese culture, I was offered to use the bath first. In Japan, where almost everyone bathes every night, it is traditional for families and guests to share bath water (perfectly OK since in Japan one showers off first). I took my soak and lingered as I often do — for 30 minutes or so. When I got out of the bath I had a sense I did something wrong. I begged my friend to tell me if I made a cultural faux-pas. She pulled me aside and explained that I had...

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