Passport to Japan: with food, zen buddhism, ikebana and beauty rituals

„PASSPORT TO…” is our new series of blog posts! Every month of this year, it will be taking you to a new and exciting destination, which should satiate your thirst for travel (or make you crave it even more)! We will be immersing you in interesting stories, showing you lots of intriguing stuff and we will also be your guide to some great experiences, here in Bulgaria, which carry the spirit of the place and which will make you feel like you are there – at least for a little bit. What do you need to pack? Just your Gift Come True passport! This month we are taking you to…

Japan – an archipelago, situated on more than 6000 islands, a country with ancient culture and metropolitan develoment, where currently live over 50 000 centenarians, while the average life span is larger than in any other country on the planet! This is a quaint and completely different from the west world place, where the nap during work is something normal, the maximum train delays are of the astonishing just 35 seconds, and leaving tips in the cafes and restaurants is considered as absolutely inadmissible. What else? Read on…

Food is a ritual

The Japanese cuisine is simple, yet refined. It includes a variety of seafood with its biggest star being the sushi for sure. In the past, the temperature of the sushi rice was considered as such an important factor in its making process, that women were not allowed to prepare sushi, just because their hands were reckoned to be too warm. The rice itself continues to be honored by the Japanese and the interesting thing is that they can even eat it for breakfast! However, no matter what the Japanese put on their table, one thing is always important: to eat slowly, peacefully, enjoying every bite! Experience the Japanese food culture with this cooking class, where you will learn how to prepare ramen, sushi and a matcha tea cheesecake. Or, go on a tasting: of different types of sushi and a selection of wines or of a special five-course Japanese meal for two!

The art of being zen

The Western mind is logical and analytical. The Eastern – intuitive. It is impossible to talk about the Japanese culture seperately from the Zen Buddhism as it is strongly influenced by its philosophy. What sits in its core is meditation – it allows you to connect with yourself on a profound level and to be here and now – not in the future, nor in the past. One of the methods, by which you can reach this exact release of tension and complete reset of the senses, is the flotation or the weightless floating, where both the body and the mind reach a state of full relaxation.

The tea is a must

After every meal, the Japanese serve a cup of their green tea. There are many different types with the most popular one being matcha (an integral part of the culture and history of Japan) as well as gyokuro – an elite variety with a special production technology. Exactly three weeks before being picked, the gyokuro plants are shaded so that their aromas and aminoacids intensify. This is followed by a couple of months of maturing, during which gyokuro is developing its distinct umami flavour: deep and stable, with a delicate sweetness and a supplementary fruity taste. This variety is also known as the “tea of the geniuses” thanks to the stimulating effect it has on the cerebral activity! You have the opportunity to try both matcha and gyokuro with this tasting of Japanese green tea for two in an authentic tearoom or with this delivery of Japanese tea from boutique factories to your home.

Ikebana and the flower aesthetics

Since ancient times, the Japanese have possessed a strong aesthetic sense. One of the biggest proofs for this is the Ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arrangements, which turns plants and natural materials into unique compositions. Each of them highlights the relationship between the individual and nature and brings harmony into the spaces. In the past, the ikebanas used to even be exhibited in the homes of the aristocrats together with valuable artworks. These spaces were also considered as the most important place in the home and were predominantly used for special guests and events. You can have such creation of living plants in your home, too – with the hand-made unique green “painting” of Scandinavian moss.

The beauty secrets, passed through the generations

The beauty of the Japanese women distinguishes with a delicate silhouette, shining hair and more than anything - flawless skin. Of course, genetics play a role, but that’s definitely not all! Their beauty rituals, including the masks, the face massages and the green tea are the real secret. And, one more thing: according to them, the effectiveness of the cosmetic care depends mostly on the way it is applied and its penetration in the skin rather than on the product brand. And, just like the Japanese women never miss doing – gift yourself a beauty ritual! We are giving you a couple of ideas with the 4-in-1 facial therapy, the face and body care for a smooth and radiant skin, or the optimal SPA treatment with a rejuvenating massage, relaxing bathtub, Thai foot massage and salt room.

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