INSPIRATION COMES IN WAYS AND WAVES
INSPIRATION COMES IN WAYS AND WAVES
It can be a challenge to write about something every week to which one can relate and hope readers can do the same. Latching on to an election in Thailand seemed logical since politics tend to be pretty much the same from Thailand to Timbuktu though in Thailand the subtle innuendos were quite different. On the other hand, it is awfully boring to write about the same sort of thing from week to week. Therefore, where do you find inspiration? I found it in a House of Suntory, an elite Japanese whiskey maker advertisement entitled Distilling the Essence of Japan. Our daughter, Sara, just published a book entitled The Art of Home, shown below, in which she attributes much of her approach to interior design being influenced by the simplicity of Japanese art and architecture. It so happens she was born in Japan so there is a historical connection as well.
Therefore, what is the secret sauce in life in Japan and the essence of Suntory Whisky as they are promoted as being the same. The House of Suntory paid to post their views to the world. I can assure you that I received no compensation from Sara Story Design to mention Sara’s book though I would not mind sharing a bit of Suntory with her someday.
Suntory Whiskey describes their secrets behind a century-old distillery as dedication to the Japanese spirit of craftmanship known as “monozukuri.” Monozukuri is defined by taking craft to its extreme limits with utmost attention to details. Nature’s fleeting moments, unforeseeable turns and imperfections give monozukuri its soul, inspiration and harmony. The Japanese believe the pursuit of perfection also means letting nature take its course.
For the master calligrapher, Ogino, shown below, the objective is to have skills that transcend effort in that nothing should be forced. “Since everything springs from nature, Japanese arts seek to follow the flow of nature,” he says. “That is the root of our sense of beauty and harmony.”
According to the Japanese artist Horiki, shown below, her artwork known as “washi” expresses gratitude to sun, moon, forest, fire, and mountain which is “receiving and expressing the blessings of nature that is ingrained in culture and shared by old and young alike from the tiniest pebble to the tallest peak, there is a spirit that inhabits nature. “
A further important Japanese trait is “omotenashi” which is the Japanese art of hospitality rooted in the tea ceremony in which guests are looked after with the utmost sensitivity. After over fifty years of having been a guest in Japanese restaurants, bars and hotels, I can attest to their universal presence of hospitality. The owner of Tokyo’s Ginza District Bar High Five, Hidetsugu Ueno, shown below, says “omotenashi” means reading the body language of his guests to anticipate their need rather than waiting for a request. He weaves human bonds through time spent with guests appreciating a fine whisky or cocktail which is known as “hakanasa.” One look at his welcoming smile confirms we all need to visit Bar High Five.
Sara Story not only writes about Japanese influences in design, but she also brought a very visible symbol of them to Center Point, Texas in the form of the well-known Japanese artist Yoshitoma Nara’s Miss Forest sculpture. The sculpture, in honor of the Japanese victims at Fukushima, is placed on the lawn adjacent to the Sara Story Design gallery. You might ask why Center Point, Texas though you should be aware that it is the “Center of the Universe.”
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