Japan Journal

Back in LALALand and finally have a moment to reflect on my trip to Japan.

Highlights:

Omakase at Yasuda – in a rare moment when all other guests were gone, Chef Yasuda told us his favorite sushi was rock oyster sushi, then prepared it for us. I was in disbelief because not only did no one else get to taste it that evening, I felt that this was an intimate and special revealing. He told us his favorite places in Tokyo like a knife shop downtown, which we visited, and explained to us how his journey started, in New York, and why his personal views clash with the Japanese way. Even though I was about to keel over from jet lag, there couldn’t have been a better way to start my trip. It set a tone, a mood. Tokyo became backlit with a personal story, one that cued certain elements the rest of the time, like noticing the order, discipline and politesse of the culture more from the perspective of someone who is Japanese but internally, rebels.

10 Course Kaiseki at Isshi Souden Nakamura – I felt tears flooding my eyes not just because of how beautiful the courses were, how elegant they tasted, how unique the night was sitting on bamboo mats in Kyoto and watching the rain tap gently on the sliding glass doors, but because I seriously couldn’t eat anymore by the 7th course. Sometimes a sensory overload can elicit a powerful emotional response in me; I am moved. As I get older I find that ability to be moved disappearing because it’s worn down by exposure. But Nakamura brought it out in me; you can’t not appreciate the experience.

Tea at Ippodo – I’d found this place on Instagram a while back and never had an opportunity to visit the shop in New York. The original shop in Kyoto is adorable. I have never had matcha that tasted as rich and flavorful. We went back twice even in the rain because we loved it so much.

Hedgehog cafe- there are many types of cafe’s- cat, owl, bunny, maid, you name it. The one I thought would be special was the hedgehog cafe, where you could pick up tiny hedgehogs over tea. Mine was very prickly and walked all over me, literally! You’re supposed to cup it in both hands while holding it, but mine wouldn’t sit still.

Bondage workshop with Kinoko Hajime- our last day in Tokyo right before heading to Haneda airport, we met with legendary Kinbaru artist Kinoko. He told me I have “a very mistress face”- I blushed

 

LA

Hey guys-

Currently writing this from LA. For the last 9 years I’ve spent about 25% of my time here. In the next year, I’m planning on bumping that up to about 40%. I’m on my way to being truly bicoastal

I’ve put myself on a regimen of spin classes, sauna and epsom salt baths every day since being here. Detoxing my body felt necessary. I also took the liberty of detoxing mentally and emotionally. This takes the form of several exercises. Today’s involved writing down 5 (well, I wrote down 6) of the closest people to me and writing down the attributes I admired and the attributes I felt were flaws.

Commonalities emerged. The people closest to me had: warmth, loyalty and independence in common. Their “flaws” I found were attributes I also didn’t like about myself.

As much as ego-centricism is toxic, ego is healthy as that’s what our worlds are comprised of. We’ll never reach a truly objective standpoint so as much as we need to try to stay away from the world revolving around us, in essence it does because we imbue it with our own meanings. The attributes I wrote down were ones that elicited a strong reaction in me. They were ones I noticed and sorted, out of the 10000’s of attributes any one person can possess. The ones we notice always tell us something about the work we still need to do on ourselves.

Try this exercise and see what it tells you. Only if you feel particularly open to a real confrontation.