The peaceful ryokan

13 October 2023
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Everyone finds happiness where they want it. I find it when I’m surrounded by nature, in places that are alive with silence. I enjoy crowds for a while, but in Japan, after experiencing once again the crush of people jostling to cross the streets in all directions at the famous Shibuya intersection, nothing pleases me more than to find myself far from the city, in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. There, in the middle of nowhere, where I am attuned to the slightest sound and the materials that surround me – wood, rice straw, stone – I dissolve into the landscape and find my place among the trees, the breeze and the murmuring stream. With a bowl of tea in my hand, I close my eyes and slowly savour the powerful, vegetal infusion. I stay focused on the present moment. “We drink tea to forget the noise of the world,” wrote Lu Yu, the “Sage of Tea” as he is still known, and the author of The Classic of Tea.

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