Treasuring the way of living // Lisa Kawai October 30 2014
1. Treasure everyday gathering around the table with family and seasonal dishes
First and foremost, the act of gathering around the table with simple homemade dishes - whether it's breakfast, lunch, or drinks over dinner - seemed very prominent in my husband's family. It might not be exaggerating to say that their day revolves around the meals and quality time they enjoy around the dining table. They are true foodies... treasuring food that is simple, quickly prepared, fresh, seasonal, and homemade. Most of all, the gesture of preparing food for yourself and your family to share enjoyment is their key value.
I was intrigued by the concept and especially liked the way my mother-in-law paid attention to presenting them beautifully on the plates. Since the act of eating is not just about the taste of the food, everything that goes in to preparation to the presentation comes from her passion to show care and love to the people she serves.
It was interesting to observe how my husband did not care or appreciate the dishes as apparently as I did when we were living with his mother. He also did not even lift his finger an inch to help her in the kitchen. But when we started to live away from her, he naturally found himself in the kitchen (probably more than I did) to practice what his mother valued. I wonder if it is in his blood or if it is a result of the environment he was brought up in... Either way, as a full-time working couple I am loving our little gatherings, especially our weekend breakfast! Eating and chatting for hours around brunch is now becoming one of our rituals. Snapshots here are from our table in Japanese and Western versions:)
2. Treasure comforting home environment for you & your family member with personalized space featuring favorite items.My in-law also spends her energy to simply treasure making the home environment comfortable. Her strongly refined taste in her house shows that she is very loyal to her aesthetic sense in selecting what to bring inside of the house. She says that especially in a busy city like Tokyo, the world outside is filled with information, neons, ads, buildings and shops, etc. It is so cluttered that you can easily get lost and sometimes abusively be exposed to unwanted noise making you tense.
Therefore, it is important to surround yourself in your home with what you love to see, be in and feel good for you to relax to retrieve peace of both mind mentally and physically. That is if you live alone a way to take care of yourself. If you live with your family members, create a space personalized to each member to provide a home that is comfortable for everyone. I thought that is so true...
So this is my dedciated little corner in our small studio apartment. A space where I can treasure fresh flowers and nature at home that makes me smile every time I see them or pass by.
3. Treasure house keeping because it is life keeping for you & your family
I admit that I can't do this perfectly yet... but even when doing laundry and cleaning if I regard the task not as housekeeping but actually as keeping your life healthy, it adds significance to the act that it is more valuable than just running errands. Especially if it means the tasks are part of shaping my husband's life at the same time. He shows (again!) proactive ambition to take care of these things as well - it is amazing how he just tackles them left to right without any hesitation as if he is enjoying the process… I wonder if is it by nature or nurture...??
All these cultural artifacts that I have learnt and embraced may not be what we usually physically call artifacts. However I feel that they were passed down to me to live with. These treasured values in my husband's family are found in everyday moments and I regard them as beautiful culture assets. Through these loving & caring acts, we are creating an art of living that we want to pass down to our child when we have one some day.
When writing this post I asked my mother-in-law for tips on what we can teach our kids about her treasures in life and if she deliberately taught my husband the importance of these values when she was raising him. She responded in her singing voice: