About

日本美ーNihonbi

The love story began years ago whilst a college student in Grinnell Iowa. A picture of an Iga-style Japanese vase in a magazine mystified me with it’s impenetrable beauty. Having experienced the unique beauty of both African and Latin cultures growing up, the Japanese sense of beauty seemed something completely apart from any other culture- still, silent and enshrouded. Although it would be years before my feet landed in Japan, I followed my heart as my hands discovered the many mysteries of clay at the potter’s wheel.

practicing seiza with Ishan

My training in Japan began in the tea room with years practicing sitting seiza, learning proper bowing ettiquette, aisatsu and in general learning how to be composed, still and silent. All these skills acquired through tea ceremony have come in handy again and again in my life here. There is a certain grace and dignity to be found in tea practitioners (as well as practitioners of most traditional Japanese arts) that is something to aspire to. Meanwhile, my true purpose of gaining a direct understanding of the tea utensils was fulfilled at the same time as offering me a well needed meditative break from a hectic life at home with three young children. My dreams of coming to Japan as an apprentice potter in some village had indeed taken a different direction, but, as is often the case in life, the gradual unfolding of this unforeseen path has led me in new and exciting directions.

demonstrating how to pull handles at Qing Dao University, China

Eventually the seven-year-itch of not having touched clay became unbearable, and despite many time and logistical constraints, I found a communal ceramics studio in my neighborhood in Tokyo where I could continue practicing clay.

My daughters meanwhile began studying Japanese traditional dance, and having done modern dance in the States, I was drawn to this area too.

I also began studying  in the Sogetsu school of Ikebana, and whereas working in the studio was pretty much a solitary affair, I enjoy the community that our teacher has drawn together and the chance to share the creative act in a group. Exploring line, mass and color through Ikebana have provided a unique angle from which to deepen my artistic skills as well as my understanding of Japanese aesthetics. I see the meditative approach of Ikebana as a continuum of the silent state of mind cultivated in tea ceremony.

In the past few years, I’ve begun to discover a way to weave together all of these various

Nihobi tour: smelling Japanese incense at Kogado experiences and interests through offering unique hands on tours- the kinds of experiences I would have wished for years ago when the language and cultural gap still seemed insurmountable. It is my wish that through these tours, others may also gain an insider’s glimpse into the more hidden aspects of Japanese arts and culture, and fall in love, as I have, with the heArt of Japan.

experiences and interests through offering unique hands on tours- the kinds of experiences I would have wished for years ago when the language and cultural gap still seemed insurmountable. It is my wish that through these tours, others may also gain an insider’s glimpse into the more hidden aspects of Japanese arts and culture, and fall in love, as I have, with the heArt of Japan.

Contact: find nihonbi on facebook http://www.facebook.com/nihonbi

on instagram

or by email: nihonbi99@gmail.com

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10 Responses to About

  1. Judy Ashelman says:

    Congratulations on getting your blog started. Great introduction. Hope you can add photos to illustrate your artistic endeavors and travels. Look forward to hearing about the trip to Beijing, too!

  2. Ellen Motohashi says:

    Yahooooo Lara! So glad to see you getting down to putting it all down! I look forward to more of your inspirational ideas, aesthetic activism, and hopefully some pictures of your creations! Much love, Ellen

  3. Gabi Greve says:

    Thanks for finding the Daruma!

    Greetings from the Daruma Museum in Okayama.
    Gabi

    http://worldkigodatabase.blogspot.com/2005/09/ikebana.html
    .

  4. Malcolm W. Adams says:

    Thanks for sharing and educating. I am a 36 year resident of Japan from Nebraska. I happily discovered your site. I will visit regularly to experience what you are sharing with the world about my beloved adopted country. I am a resident of Shizuoka Prefecture and a Broadcast Journalist who has written much about this area’s Japanese Green Tea culture and history. Thanks for sharing.
    Brother Malcolm
    Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
    https://www.facebook.com/malcolm.w.adams

    • nihonbi1844 says:

      Dear Malcom, thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Interesting ‘coincidence’ that you should mention tea- I am just in the midst of organizing a tea-picking tour in Shizuoka in late May/ early June- I’d love to see a bit of what you’ve written on the subject. What perfect timing 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/nihonbi

  5. Jo Sochi says:

    Great photo! I think it is too late for me to learn to sit seiza. Funny story…when my son was VERY young he would always sit on his knees seiza style. His pediatrician told me to stop him from doing this as it would over time put undo pressure on and damage his knee joints. Well I never sat seiza and my knee joints are plenty unhealthy! Maybe a little seiza would have help.

    • nihonbi1844 says:

      Jo- funny about your son- wonder how he would feel about seiza these days? I guess seiza, like most good things in life, takes time and practice 🙂

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