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.
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