All posts filed under: Culture

Slowing Down the Pace – Minka Cafe

First-time travellers to Japan usually choose Kamakura, the small version of Kyoto, just one hour away by train from Tokyo centre. Traditional century-aged Zen temples, the Great Buddha statue and Edo period small alleys every year attract thousands of tourists to the city. But those who search for the true roots of Zen in the former de facto capital find themselves in the West part of the town, Kita-Kamakura. Despite being a home to three of the five highest-ranking Zen temples, this part of the town dwells with tranquility without a trace of mass tourism. *** While you would easily find the way to temples here without a map, Minka Cafe is hidden like a well-kept secret in Kamakura’s greenery. In Japanese, a word Minka describes the type of traditional Japanese house building style which could still be found in the countryside. Yet Kita-Kamakura’s Minka represents a literal meaning of the term – houses of the people – which kindly accommodates anyone who steps inside.     The place fills up with customers very quickly as soon as it opens. Usually locals or nearby-living moms with toddlers settle for a conversation and …

Simplicity Equals Perfection

Late Sunday morning in Tokyo. Yesterday’s black suits-filled streets are empty. But this emptiness breathes another life into the alleys. My fingertips are craving to feel the touch of natural linen in Shimokitazawa’s Fog store. The nostalgic ‘made in Lithuania’ label shortens the distance between Europe and Asia in seconds. The sun reaches its peak and I start wandering around quiet streets of Setagaya. I settle in a minimalistic café, which offers me a cup of heart-warming coffee and homemade years-mastered anpan*. Wake up. You are not in Tokyo. You’ve just found a small patch of Japan in Ealing Broadway. … Tucked away in West London, Ealing has become popular with Japanese community. Loads of Asian restaurants offering sushi and bento are cheaper than Central but still too pricey for my pocket. But when it comes to coffee and sweet delights I always manage to loosen my budget – those are my ‘money can’t buy’ little moments of happiness. My radar is always ON searching for Japanese atmosphere. Café in Japan is unique as it …

The Unique Nature of Green Tea

Myths, Facts and Philosophy A tea master purifies himself by splashing some cold water on his hands and then humbly takes a tea whisk. A sacred atmosphere fills the room when a tea artisan contemplates over a bowl of Japanese green tea, known as matcha. A tea ceremony, Chado, is not dedicated to consuming a tea. This combination of an art and a spiritual discipline is all about aesthetics. … Still an oddity to the West, Japanese green tea slowly gains a worldwide popularity with its claiming health benefits, rather than a cultural practice. While legend has it that green tea was ‘discovered’ in China in 2737 BC, it was only in the 16th century that tea reached the West as explorers visited Asia. Traditional Chinese medicine has been using green tea for centuries to treat everything from headaches to depression. Now commonly recognised as a ‘superfood’, green tea has special health-giving benefits because of the way it is processed. Despite that, black tea leaves are the most commonly drunk type of tea in the …

Curiosity’s Day Planner: London

London is praised as the greatest city in the world. Stop here. Been there, done that, boring. If you are a keen world traveller, you probably think of London as a very ‘normal’ city with too many tourists and too many queues. However, London is so much more than that. Big Ben or Tower Bridge are not the things that make London special. Unfortunately, there is no single answer why this city is worth living/visiting, but The Curiosity has a possible solution of spending a great day in London.

Fashion in Motion with Yamamoto

Colourful and sometimes outrageous Kansai Yamamoto’s collection used to amaze fashion lovers in 70s and 80s. HIs designs as well as shows always combine culture with fashion and entertainment. Most well-known costumes for David Bowie in 1973 and spectacular shows have included his name in one of the greatest and iconic contemporary designers list of that time. Kansai Yamamoto launched his first collection in London in 1971. Later on it was called as ‘The Show of the Year… a spectacular coup de theatre’ and Yamamoto has became famous with his avant-garde designs on international scale.