industry, lexus, Motoring News, toyota

Japanese culture on wheels: Sink into a Lexus dreamworld

  • Enjoy Japanese Studio Ghibli’s anime films
  • Unleash the chef in you – DIY sushi
  • Lexus LFA on Toyota museum collection

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Lexus has added sushi tutorials to its Studio Ghibli on Netflix as a way to fill homebound lockdown days by learning Japanese culture from books, films, and technology.

Here are nine ways to have a more Japanese-enlightened lockdown imprisonment… the text is courtesy of Lexus.

        1. DISCOVER STUDIO GHIBLI

FOR SHEER escapism and stunning artistry, look no further than Studio Ghibli’s anime films. They’ve captivated audiences since 1986 so, if you haven’t yet delved into the richly-storied archives, now’s your chance.

Netflix acquired the rights to a number of Ghibli films in 2020: must-sees include My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997) and Spirited Away (2001) – each available now from netflix.com in South Africa and worldwide.

Look at the style of Yishan Lis Lexus UX manga piece and it’s difficult not to think of Studio Ghibli. Yishan’s beautiful and warm illustration with its calming dreamlike quality shows a young woman leaning on her Lexus UX while immersed in a beach sunset.

Read more: Lexus UX manga: Yishan Li interview

        2. FIND ANCIENT TREASURES

THOSE OF YOU keen on Japanese culture and clothing can feast your eyes on the silken splendour of its online kimono collection. The ‘Search the Collections’ function reveals everything from 17th-century traditional treasures to sleek contemporary creations.

Then the virtual Museum of the World, curated by the British Museum, has a brilliant ‘Asia’ section. fr

Read more: How Japan’s fashion designers are redesigning the kimono

  3. PERFECT YOUR SUSHI ROLL

WHY NOT start, improve, or perfect, your sushi-making skills at home. Every second household during the Covid lockdown has unleashed a chef-in-the-making so you have no excuse.

Head to your nearest store or order online from some of SA’s leading food chains for your sushi stock and fill your locked-down pantry with everything you need. Stock up on any and everything from miso paste through yuzu sauce to sushi-making kits and rice.

Oh, ands Japanese-style handcrafted tableware.

Check the free recipe tutorials, too. How to make sushi_woolworths

        4. MASTER A NEW ART SKILL

WITH ITS INTRICATE scripts and fluid brush strokes, calligraphy (or shodō) is beloved throughout Japan. It’s rooted in meditation and mindfulness but the practical element is totally immersive so, if you’re struggling to calm your thoughts, a YouTube tutorial will help.

Look for origami and block-painting videos, too: you might not have all the required materials but, with a little initiative (use styrofoam packaging instead of printing blocks, for example), You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.

        5. TRY HOME-STYLE HANAMI

THE JAPANESE tradition of hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) might be trickier through 2020 but you can still get your fix in ingenious ways. Try spying on Tokyo’s pink-petalled Chidorigafuchi moat via the live Sakura Cam or by browsing the Smithsonian’s stunning collection of blooming artworks.

        6. LOSE YOURSELF IN A BOOK

ALEX KERR, Britain’s foremost writer on all things Japanese, weaves poignant anecdotes and folklore with meticulously researched history and sumptuous prose. His books and articles (such as Lost Japan (1993) and Dogs & Demons (2001) bring to life his childhood in Yokohama and reveal the rich customs and culture of his adopted homeland.

These are ideal for armchair travellers. Find his e-books on www.takealot.com

Dogs & Demons: Takealot.com/dogs-and-demons-ebook

Lost Japan: Takealot.com/lost-japan-ebook

        7. BREW A MOMENT OF CALM

WHILE ON YOUR next grocery run stock up on some soothing Japanese sencha green tea, such as Pukka’s Organic Supreme bags (available from Faithful to Nature, Wellness Warehouse and some supermarkets).

While it’s brewing, pop on Spotify’s Japan Top 50’ playlist, an eclectic mix of Japan’s most-played songs. Prefer baking? Vivid Matcha’s ceremonial-grade matcha powder is perfect for making a matcha crepe cake.

        8. VISIT THE TOYOTA AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM COLLECTION

THE MUSEUM is closed during for Covid but you can browse through the amazing collection of cars stored there. The museum collection dates from 1886 to the present and has many examples from around the world.

Some of our favourites are the 1966 Toyota 2000GT ‘Bond Car’ from ‘Live and Let Die’ and the famous Lexus LFA.

Visit the museum from home on: https://toyota-automobile-museum.jp/en/archives/car-database/

        9. START ALL THE ABOVE WITH A STRETCH

FOR NEARLY 70 years millions of people across Japan have started their day by tuning rajio taisō (radio calisthenics) on TV and NHK radio – a three-minute routine of low-impact stretching, bending, and jumping.

It combines bright piano music with a rather sombre male voiceover and is a much-loved part of Japanese culture. Give it a go via YouTube – whether in your workout gear or a Pikachu costume.

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