Since 2016, I’ve been spending about two weeks out of each year in Asia to gain new perspectives on work and life. Having spent 7 years in Singapore at a young age, my trips are more root-seeking journeys rather than exotic adventures.  I had been to Japan back in 2017 on a whim in one of those ‘finding yourself’ kind of phases. However, I was able to appreciate Japan in a different way the second time around. This visit brought a whole new perspective as I was able to judge things a little more quietly and maturely. 

The work ethic in Japan is well-known but I have to say that the greatest thing I gained during this visit was the lesson of patience and respect for everything and everybody. There is a huge sense of taking one's time to do the best one can do in Japan. It appears no one is in a real rush - and no one rushes each other. Because of this, there is a real solid sense of craftsmanship and thoughtfulness in all things that are designed - whether objects or experiences. It reminded me once again that true handicraft cannot be rushed. Things that are crafted by hand - slowly and thoughtfully, can never be truly replaced. 

I can't say I was overly impressed with the jewelry work that I saw (metals seem to be overly expensive in Japan, but the Japanese are true masters of ceramics (e.g. Kakiden Gallery). Some visual impressions of Japan below.  

A little coffee shop in Omote Sando (a perfect atelier)


Japanese ceramics exhibition at the Kakiden Gallery


Garden view from the Tokyo National Museum Balcony

Detail from a shrine in the temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Beautiful historical clothing at the Tokyo National Museum


Tokyo Imperial Palace
A restaurant in a tiny side street in Omote Sando
Samurai helmet - Tokyo National Museum

 

July 15, 2019 — Esin Nalbantoglu

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