Falling in love with Japan: A video series

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Old friends kneel on tatami mat floors and catch up over a cup of matcha, salarymen pause to slurp ramen as the world rushes around them, worshippers reflect quietly at an ancient temple… There are small moments of magic everywhere in Japan. 

We’ve teamed up with JNTO and Theobald Fox to produce a series of evocative short films that capture just a few of them. The concept is koi no yokan; a Japanese phrase that can only be loosely translated to “the feeling when meeting someone for the first time that falling in love with them is inevitable” (a little bit wordy in English).

As a group of travellers enamoured with Japan though, it is a sentiment we are all too familiar with.

The seven films are based on untranslatable Japanese words or phrases that each offer an insight into Japanese life. Take a deep breath, make yourself comfortable, and prepare to fall in love with Japan.

Kuidaore – ‘eat until you drop’

Feasting on okonomiyaki, chomping on tonkatsu, and piling up plate after plate from the sushi conveyor belt… Kuidaore means eating or drinking yourself to excess. Not a tricky feat in Japan.

Ukiyo – ‘the floating world’

Neon lights, food stall smells, a sense of calm in a sea of people… There’s something otherworldly about Japanese cities and it sure can sweep you off your feet.

Komorebi – ‘sunlight filtering through trees’

We don’t have a word in English that comes anywhere close to komorebi; sunlight filtering through the trees. Japan’s landscape is 70% mountainous, so it’s not easy to pick a favourite place for komorebi – but if push came to shove it would have to be the Kumano Kodo trail. This ancient and sacred pilgrimage route has wooded pathways under canopies of trees, broken up only by the occasional waterfall or temple.

Kodawari – ‘relentless devotion to one’s craft’

It is possible to demonstrate complete dedication to any task; from monotonous repetitive actions to painting an exquisite piece on lacquerware. Regardless of what it is that you do, take pride in it.

Onkochishin – ‘finding new wisdom in old ways’

Japan is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, but ancient temples and shrines also wait around every corner. Even as the country continues to take great strides (often leaps) forward, lessons can always be learnt from the past.

Ikigai – ‘a reason for being’

Ikigai can loosely be translated as ‘a reason for being’, or ‘a reason to get up in the morning’ – something that motivates and gives one a sense of purpose. This could be through work, family… or even diving with friends to find shellfish.

Yoisho – ‘a sound for rest’

…and breathe. It’s been a long day, so it’s time to relax. This film captures sinking into an onsen (hot spring bath) in the beautiful surroundings of Yunomine. What a way to unwind.

Have some magic moments of your own by visiting Japan for yourself. Whether it’s trees, cities, food or finding yourself, we’re happy to help you plan.

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