I’m originally from Tokyo and used to live a very busy and stressful life. I didn’t like it, but thought that I simply had to put up with it as a part of being an adult. I dislike rushing around and pushing myself to do things quickly as it causes a lot of unnecessary stress. As a small business owner, of course I want to maximise our productivity, but that doesn’t mean we have to do things very quickly. If the quality of our work and lives suffers as a result, then it makes no sense! I try to focus on my work, my home life, and having a slow life as much as possible. As life is short, I can’t focus all my time on being productive! I like to enjoy a cup of matcha tea whenever I am stressed, and have a cup of hojicha in the evening to relax as I don’t like too much caffeine in the evening.
I teach the Japanese tea ceremony in west London and find that the tea ceremony is very good at reducing stress, and creating a peaceful lifestyle. I can see that quite a lot of people have the same idea, and come to my workshop quite regularly. If you are interested in joining my workshop, you can book a ticket here. A workshop gift ticket is a great present for tea lovers or people who want to lead a slow life.
We have a variety of tea from Ippodo in Kyoto. As you may know, Ippodo is one of the most respected tea makers in Japan, and has fans all over the world. As our tea sells out quite quickly we’re setting up a preorder system for our Ippodo tea. If they’re not in stock on our website you can preorder them and receive your tea when we get our next shipment. We usually get tea delivered once a month, and will show you an estimated delivery date. We’ll also include a little present as a thank you for waiting for your tea! It’s currently the holiday season in Japan, so we expect our next delivery from Ippodo on the 15th May. We’ll let you know when stock arrives and your pre-orders have been dispatched.
I really enjoy walking outside and eating outside, and find it very relaxing. The weather is finally starting to improve and I can’t wait to start eating outside! I have my magewappa bento box, so even the simplest lunch is very elegant. Magewappa has over 1300 years of history. The prefecture of Akita in northern Japan, has been producing magewappa for centuries, and many current producers come from a long line of craftspeople who have been passing the skills and techniques of this traditional craft down from generation to generation. In fact, the Odate Folk Museum in Akita has a magewappa bento box that is over 1000 years old, and it’s the same shape as the ones we sell! Magewappa is a method of taking a slice of cedar wood and steaming it so you can bend it into shape. The ends are then bound together using the bark of cherry trees. It sounds very organic and natural, doesn’t it?! The cedar has antibacterial properties, as well as moisture-controlling properties, so your food stays fresh and doesn’t get soggy. Magewappa is an incredible, traditional (and functional!) craft, I can’t go back to a plastic bento box now!
I wrap my magewappa bento box with a tenugui cloth. Our tenugui are made and printed in a workshop in downtown Tokyo. I visited the workshop last summer, and they have a lot of young apprentices. As many Japanese traditional crafts rely on older generations, it was really fantastic to see young people learning, and carrying on these traditions. All the tenugui patterns are kimono patterns from around 100 years ago. At that time Chusen dyeing was extremely popular, and kimonos with these patterns were all the rage. Designers and stencil makers were competing to show off their skills and talents – we can now inherit a piece of their creativity and imagination through tenugui! I love the simplicity and elegance
I also use these chopsticks, which match my bento box. They’re made from the wood of fruit trees, and are simply finished with pure beeswax. They’re very minimal and elegant. Japanese chopsticks are tapered to a point, so are easy for everyone to use.
Finally, it’s time to switch to my spring/summer bag! I use tweed and recycled leather totes in the winter, but now it’s time to start using my hoop canvas bag with my spring outfits! These bags are perfect for smarter occasions, as well as casual picnics in the park, visiting gardens or having lunch with friends. These bags are all designed and made by Yoko, who has a small studio in Hiroshima. They are really one of a kind, and made from vibrant and durable canvas. They’re both fashionable and very functional!
These are my Spring slow life essentials. As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ll be promoting our slow way of life during May. We hope you will try some of our slow life recommendations!