Thursday, January 27, 2011

Japanese Elegance

An Japanese doll I found in Anime shops, I thought she is so beautiful.

I was fortunate enough to meet and live with a traditional Japanese family in Tokyo, who can speak a reasonable amount of good english. It is a family of highly educated professors of Science and Biology, so you can definitely count on a group of very interesting people.

Japanese women are definitely an elegant lot. It is winter here and despite the cold, the ladies get pretty dressed up in beautiful coats and boots. One thing I've noticed is that men and women are very distinct from each other.

In some countries, men and women dress alike. If you have a view of a crowd of people, you don't see men and women distinctively. In Japan, you can see the difference.

I was taking the train back to my hotel in Osaka just a few hours ago and I noticed this group of people who stood out from the crowd because they were not as well-dressed as the typical Japanese. Instinctively, I remembered thinking, those people are not Japanese. Then I heard some loud expressions and accents, and immediately, I knew they were not Japanese but tourists for sure!

I would love to write more about Japan, but I need to get to bed (and do some more reading of Japanese culture). There's so much to learn and I can definitely pick out a couple of lessons of elegance from their perspective.

Do you have a favourite elegant culture that you feel inspired by? If you don't mind sharing, send me an email and I might feature you or your letter on! Otherwise, comment below for all of us here sitting here listening eagerly. :)


  1. I am personally inspired by the elegance of Italian people. I was blessed to be a Student Ambassador a few years ago and I stayed with a host family in Italy. Their home was simply furnished with few, but beautiful items. They dressed quite simply as well, were laid back and very hospitable. I received better treatment from them than the parents of close friends! It was an enjoyable experience.

  2. I can't wait to hear more about your trip. I love what you said about the women and men dressing differently and the women dressing beautifully. It is a wonderful reminder that we can look and find elegance everywhere in our everyday life. Being elegant is always about the details, it's about what you leave in, and just as important, what you leave out.

    It is also interesting to note that even when we explore other cultures, it's easy to see. That tells me that elegance is also a beautiful way to stand out in a crowd.

    P.S. Your doll is beautiful.

  3. I too was hosted by elegant people, in Buenos Aires.
    The couple invited us into their home upon realizing we were travelers; we were dressed shabily, not out of carelessness, but due to harsh conditions of poverty.
    They took us in, did not comment on our shabbiness, served us hot tea, scones, and engaged us in elegant conversation. We were theatrical performers, so in thanks, we performed a few musical numbers. It reminded me of those movie scenes where everyone gathers around a piano and sings.

    That was 33 years ago, and yet it still stands out as one of the best afternoons in my life.
    I learned that hosting strangers is often more enjoyable than family or friends. There are no expectations, and everyone is careful with each others' feelings. Also, no one seems threatened by each others' wit and talent.
    I think the work you are doing is important. It's important in my life, and I do not have the ability to travel as you do. So thank you for all the traveling and research.