|Arrival in Narita Airport - Tokyo|
As if deja vu, 30 years ago, when James was 11, and a student at Dunn School in San Ysidro Valley, where bicycling was a passion, John and Lynn Siegal-Boettner took James and 4 of his classmates for a summer of bicycling through Japan. We lived in Montecito at the time and all became admirers of Japanese food (although my first experience was at Robata in New York City in the early 1970s when I was fashion editor for the Press-Scimitar.) So, this trip is not only an amazing gift from my amazing son for my upcoming 75th birthday, he has brought along my granddaughter, precious Caroline, just turned 10, to see the places her dad experienced at the same age in this graceful country, so much a part of our American history. With all my travels, this is my first trip on Japanese soil. Thank you, son.
|chef at work|
Once we had arrived at the splendid hotel, we were struck by the silence inside - the peace, the respect, the modest bows as a song of greeting, the abstractness of the interior decor, the limit of color to browns, whites, blacks, grays so nothing clashes or distracts. Yet, on a table near the reception desk are tiny paper forms in various colors on top of stalks - wind irises. Orihana is a paper diffuser (smells sensuous) on a single sheet of colored paper combining Japanese arts of origami and Kirie to create flowerlike forms. So simple, so delicate, a soft gift for each of us by the Orihana Master Motoi Mitani. In Japan, a visitor is surrounded by a framework of service and respect, of pleasing us, not for gain or points or their own satisfaction. We are the focus and hospitality still thrives here, something almost totally lost in the United States, where egotism and entitlement are our costumes. No tips are expected nor accepted here.
|veggies - there's an okra too|