I’ve recently begun the journey towards honing the skill and art of Japanese いけばな (ikebana) flower arranging. In my journey I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best ikebana artists here in Tokyo to help instruct and inspire me.
As I’m just starting out my first lesson is to create a basic upright style moribana arrangement where the stems need to be precision cut and precision placed at fixed angles on a spiky kenzan. There are three main parts to the arrangement which are the shin placed at a 10˚~15˚ angle, soe at 45˚, and hikae at 75˚. After the three main stems are perfectly placed it’s time to accessorize with jushi subordinate stems that add volume and depth to the arrangement as the kenzan is not supposed to be visible.
The studio is filled with interesting add-ons that can make fabulous arrangements truly spectacular despite what they might look like carelessly piled in the studio corner. But I’m far from the stage where I get to go off textbook so it’ll have to be something to look forward to in the future as I progress.
When the weather has been as glum and uninspiring as it has been for the past few days pampering both belly and spirit feels extra important. As tempting as it is to spend all day in bed, I unfortunately have plenty of work that’s keeping me out of it. A healthy and hearty breakfast with plenty of fruit (nature’s candy) gets me going in combination with a warm cup of mao feng green tea and some classical opera playing in the background.
Have a wonderful day everyone!
I figured I might share some wisdom that I’ve picked up over the years and many, many, many hours that I continue to spend on long haul flights. With airplanes and hotels being like a second home to me it’s become important to know what and how to pack fast.
In my carry-on you can expect to find… My trusty Nikon camera, Apple laptop, and what feels like infinite cables and chargers for my many technical devices. Also, my latest read be it book or magazine, sunglasses, toothbrush, toothpaste. Maybe even a cashmere shawl and some comfy yoga pants to change into once airborne. Muji’s travel shop sells these amazingly practical travel cases and carriers that I rely entirely on to organize my luggage into neat sections that won’t shift as much upon handling, I can highly recommend them to any fellow neat freak travelers out there.
How do you choose your flight outfit? Based on comfort and style. I often bump into people I know when I fly so hanging out in sweats and flip-flops just isn’t an option. It would also look a little out of place when traveling in a cabin full of businessmen in suits.
What beauty products do you pack? I love having a L’occitane hand cream (100ml) tucked away in my purse for when it becomes unbearably dry up in the air and forgetting a thick lip balm would probably be my worst nightmare. I also pack a mini face cream, floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, and an Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat stick.
Pre-flight ritual… A cup of warm green tea, a hearty spoon of raw organic honey *consumed separately though.
Fit for flight means… That ideally you’re well rested beforehand, lusciously moisturized, properly fed with something healthy and looking forward to the journey or at least the destination.
Post-flight ritual… A tall glass of mixed fruit smoothie followed by a long steamy hot shower scrubbing off germs and jet lag, while hydrating a dry nose and throat. After, full body moisturizing and chowing down on something healthy. Then, sleep, sleep, sleep!
I hopped on a jet plane with the plan of landing in Sweden but instead it seems I’ve ended up in the 1700s. What a treat! The beautiful Linnaeus Garden (Linnéträdgården) in Uppsala played host to a fabulous event, a 1700s fair with authentic food, music, and interesting lectures.
One of the lectures included recipes, advice and food from the 1700s that was highly effective in painting a picture of what life might have been like at the time and let me tell you it was far less glamorous than the Marie Antoinette lifestyle I had envisioned and hoped for.
I also have to share the amazing Swedish program entitled Historieätarna (which roughly translates to the history eaters) where a pair of brave and highly entertaining individuals live, eat, dress and drink their way through different eras authentically. I highly recommend watching episode 5 of 6: Frihetstiden but bear in mind that the program is entirely in Swedish.
Here comes a small glimpse of the flashy neon signs that light up the streets of Shibuya like so many other streets here in Tokyo. It’s a ♪ city of blinding lights ♪ !
In the sweltering summer heat it’s especially important to know your limits. My tips for beating the heat and keeping your cool is with the help of some stylish accessories. Just because it feels like I’m physically melting away under the overbearing warmth of the sun doesn’t mean that I have to let my style and dignity go out the window as well. So, be sure to:
-Keep hydrated, if in an indulgent mood perhaps with some bubbly and refreshing Perrier or San Pellegrino.
-Carry an elegant pair of sunglasses that will always come in handy be it by shielding your precious eyes from the bright rays or hiding from demanding paparazzi (as so often happens to us civilians).
-Cotton handkerchiefs may seem slightly old fashioned but prove a great solution for wiping away any uncomfortable sweat that might accumulate on your face and neck while out and about. Upon arriving back home simply throw it in the washing machine and hey presto, good as new. *For any fellow perfectionists out there might I recommend ironing as well to achieve that extra neat and crisp look.
-Always carry a fan with you in case of emergencies, this season I have a new glamorous Céline fan that has been my absolute savior.
Stay safe out there everyone!
I’m up at 7 am this morning so that the team and I can fit in a quick rehearsal before the spotlights come on and it’s presentation time. I’m confident and certainly no stranger to giving presentations in front of large audiences and often those that are much larger in comparison to what I will be standing before today. The presentation goes very well, both the audience and panel seem genuinely amused and are hopefully equally impressed.
The presentations conclude just before 1:00 pm. Upon exiting the theater, I notice that the sun has made a welcomed appearance. The streets are busier than usual as hermits venture outside their protective shells and embrace the bright, warm rays. What started as another gloomy weather-wise day has turned into a splendid one. I quickly remove my black stockings and two layers of clothing, discretion is my goal. As I make my way down a long winding path towards the tube, I find that I’m almost relieved to reach the darkness of the underground as the impromptu weather change meant that I had packed an umbrella instead of sunglasses, which is what I really needed.
In order to celebrate the end or possibly just the beginning of this particular project, I picked up a large celebratory almond croissant in order to properly indulge. After that me and a couple of friends headed out to grab burgers at Byrons. They make some of the best hamburgers and french fries, my go to order is their mature cheddar cheese burger served with lettuce, tomato, red onion (not too much, onegaishimasu) and a touch of mayonnaise. I highly recommend it if you’ve yet to try.
iPads can surely be a nuisance; hello, I’m here, be social and don’t ignore me kind of thing… Whatever, I slip mine out with the hope that no one in my immediate surrounding will notice (yes, right?) only to write a quick message to the 21_21 design sight, an ambitious project by Issey Miyake, to let them know that I’ll stop by when I’m heading home, whenever that will be as I have yet to make plans. As usual… The 21_21 design sight was designed by acclaimed architect Tadao Ando, who truly has some amazing projects, like the Teatro Armani, (but the list is endless) inspired by Japanese culture, zen and ma, space.