Category Archives: Arts

Japan: Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas (Day 1)

The Ozonu Villa

  

The Room

Arriving this morning from Kyoto in the small station of Nabari, we were far from imagining our stay at Sasayuri-Ann Rice Terrace. We are in countryside (one hour by train from Nara), a complete immersion in an authentic traditional Japan. 

We are greeted by Mr Matsubayashi, the owner who, with his wife and two sons take care of the two villas. We stay in Ozonu, the new villa with light woods and opened on a beautiful Zen garden (above, first photo of the article). A smart blend of tradition and luxury, sober and extremely comfortable (modern bathroom and kitchens). I feel like I’m in an Ozu 

In the evening, the main space is transformed into a bedroom. We are projected into another dimension, with the backdrop of the lighted garden and the sound of the water. Awesome! Photos above and below: my first fittings of yukata (Japanese summer kimono) in the room.

  

Shabu Shabu

  

Carefully and Warmly

After a long day, we take our first dinner around the “fire”, in the center of the main room. Our hosts have prepared a Shabu Shabu (the famous Japanese fondue). 

Vegetables and beef of the region (cut into very fine marbled slices, like Kobe beef) are soaked in boiling water and then seasoned with sesame sauce. I don’t know the exact recipe, but it’s delicious. Subtle, light and tasty (photo below).

For the desert, a homemade sake ice cream ball served in frozen ceramic cup and spoon (photo above).

Ikebana & Zen Garden

Contemplative Meditation

The garden is the pride of Mr. Matsubayashi who was inspired by the most beautiful Zen gardens. Every evening he meticulously water it. Besides, the villa and the garden are one. 

The garden is divided into three sides: the Landscape Rock Garden, the Pinetree Garden and the Scenery-Borrowing Garden with, in the distance, the bluish mountains. Enchanting setting.

In the afternoon, we attended a private flower arrangement class given by Mrs. Matsubayashi, master of Ikebana. I liked her precise gesture. With few elements, her composition is beautiful! No superfluity, only the essential matters. Japanese minimalism.

 

  

The Tea Ceremony

The Immutable Japan

In another part of the garden, there is a 100 year old tea house (impressive!), With the dimensions of a doll’s house, paper doors and windows. According to Mr. Matsubayashi, the Japanese love everything small.

I feel both like Alice in Wonderland and an elephant in this confined space that seems fragile. As strange as it may seem, everyone quickly finds his little living space. 

Formerly this ceremony was practiced by monks and allowed the powerfuls and gentry to share a moment of peace over a cup of tea. Today, the masters of the tea ceremony are mostly women.

Everything is very codified, the graceful slow gesture is controlled and repetitive too, like a choreography. We hear the sound of water and birds outside. Macha and confectionery are excellent.

To be continued … 

  

    

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

Informations  

Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas

Planning your trip with Exclusif Voyages

Flying to Japan : direct flights from Brussels & Paris with ANA

Related articles : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to Exclusif Voyages, Ryokan Collection and Mr and Mrs Matsubayashi and their sons for this wonderful immersion in a traditional hedonistic Japan. As always, these are my opinions.

Japon: Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas (Jour 1)

La villa Ozonu

  

La chambre

En arrivant ce matin de Kyoto, dans la petite gare de Nabari, nous étions loin d’imaginer notre séjour au Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas. Nous sommes en pleine (vraie) campagne à une heure de train de Nara, une immersion totale dans un Japon traditionnel et authentique.

Nous sommes accueillies par M. Matsubayashi, le propriétaire qui avec son épouse et ses deux fils, s’occupent des deux villas. Nous séjournons dans la nouvelle villa Ozonu, aux boiseries claires, ouverte sur un magnifique jardin zen (ci-dessus, première photo de l’article). Savant mélange de tradition et de luxe, sobre et extrêment confortable (salle de bain et cuisine modernes). J’ai l’impression d’être dans un film d’Ozu. 

Le soir, l’espace principal est transformé en chambre. On est projeté dans une autre dimension, avec en toile de fond, le jardin éclairé et le bruit de l’eau. Superbe! Photos ci-dessus et ci-dessous : mes premiers essayages de yukata (kimono d’été japonais) dans la chambre.

  

Shabu Shabu

  

Avec délicatesse

Après une longue journée, nous prenons notre premier dîner autour du feu, au centre de la pièce principale. Nos hôtes nous ont préparé un Shabu Shabu (la fameuse fondue japonaise).

Des légumes et du boeuf de la région (coupé en très fines tranches marbrées, comme le boeuf de Kobé) sont trempés dans de l’eau bouillante, puis assaisonnés de sauce sésame. Je ne connais pas la recette exacte, mais c’est délicieux. Subtil, léger et goûteux (photo ci-dessous).

En désert, une boule de glace maison, saveur saké, servie dans une coupe en céramique et avec une cuillère glacées (photo ci-dessus). 

Ikebana & jardins zen

Méditation contemplative

Le jardin est la grande fierté de M. Matsubayashi qui s’est inspiré des plus beaux jardins zen et qui chaque soir, l’arrose méticuleusement. D’ailleurs la villa et le jardin ne font qu’un.

Le jardin se décline en trois versants : le Landscape Rock Garden (paysage de pierres), le Pinetree Garden (jardin de pins) et le Scenery-Borrowing Garden (jardin du paysage emprunté), avec au loin, les montagnes bleutées (dernière photo de l’article). Cadre enchanteur.

Dans l’après-midi, nous avons assisté à un cours privé d’arrangement floral donné par Mme Matsubayashi, maître d’Ikebana. J’ai aimé ses gestes précis et sûrs. Avec peu d’éléments, sa composition est superbe. Pas de place au superflu, seul l’essentiel compte. Minimaliste japonais.

 

  

La cérémonie du thé

Le Japon immuable

Dans une autre partie du jardin, se trouve une véritable maison de thé séculaire (impressionnant!), aux dimensions d’une maison de poupée avec portes et fenêtres en papier. D’après M. Matsubayashi, les japonais aiment tout ce qui est petit.

J’ai à la fois l’impression d’être Alice au Pays des Merveilles et de me sentir comme un éléphant dans cet espace confiné qui semble fragile. Aussi étrange que cela puisse paraître, très vite chacun retrouve son petit espace vital.

Jadis cette cérémonie était pratiquée par des moines et permettaient aux grands du Japon (samouraï) de partager un instant de paix autour d’une tasse de thé. Aujourd’hui, les maîtres de la cérémonie du thé sont en majorité des femmes.

Tout est très codifié, le geste est lent, gracieux et maîtrisé, répétitif aussi, comme une chorégraphie. On entend le bruit de l’eau et des oiseaux dehors. Le macha et la confiserie sont excellents.

A suivre… 

  

    

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

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Sasayuri-Ann Terrace Villas

Organiser son voyage avec Exclusif Voyages

Se rendre au Japon : vols directs depuis Bruxelles & Paris avec ANA

Autres articles : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Un grand merci à Exclusif Voyages, à Ryokan Collection et à Mr et Mme Matsubayashi et à leurs enfants pour cette magnifique immersion dans un Japon traditionnel et hédoniste. Comme toujours ce sont mes opinions.

Germany: Arty Weekend in Düsseldorf

  

Day 1 : Gallery & Street Art Tour

After Berlin, Cologne and the Black Forest,  I’m on my way to Düsseldorf! As always, I’m not fully awake. And I forgot to download the app of b-europe to check in real time my train schedule. I find my buddies in the Brussels-Düsseldorf Thalys! 2h15 of laughter with cool mates (yes, it happens especially when I’m tired, lol!). And here we are at Düsseldorf station, ready to discover the city!

As soon as you arrive, I recommend you to buy the DüsseldorfCard for free public transport and discounts in museums and attractions. 

After a late lunch, we have an appointment with Klaus Rosskothen, the owner of the Pretty Portal Gallery specialized in street art artists. Photos above: on the left, a painting by the Irish artist FinDAC. And on the right, a painting by Kurnachzehn. Guided by Klaus, we discover many Street art works in the district where his gallery is located. End of the tour around 16h30-17h. Awesome overview of a less touristy Düsseldorf!

Polar temperature! Of course Brussels is not the Caribbean either, but all the team had a big shock with the cold here, lol! I go to the hotel to warm up (with a good hot shower) and get ready for dinner, we have an appointment at 18:30. 

  

Dusseldorf By Night 

Dinner at Küzert

At night everything is more beautiful, starting with this huge wheel (photo above). The team gathered again, I discovered the very lively cool atmosphere of the crowded streets of Altstadt, the old town. At Kurze Straße 18-20 is the Brauerei Kürzer, a traditional brewery on the Rhine, where we will have dinner tonight.

Outside, standing people drink glasses of beer. Ditto indoors where we sit down to eat (photos below). I like the contemporary setting, the mix of generations and genres with hipster waiters and a soundtrack for picky clubbers (with fine and demanding hearing, lol!).

Difficult for us to leave as the place was really cool! About the tasting of the beer produced by this brewery? Er, how can I tell you, I do not drink any beer, oops! But very good I enjoyed the chicken wraps. 

  

Back To The Hotel

After a long walk, we finally got back to the Hotel Friends Dusseldorf, with an awesome (Instagram) bohemian interior design of the common areas (left picture above and pictures of the photo montage below). It feels like being in Portlandia (the series) …

The + : The photogenic hotel where to have a drink, with music live and DJs sets. Located near the central station of Dusseldorf, 5 to 10 minutes walk or a bit less in tram. Very good breakfast. It feels good and friendly.

The – : the neighborhood is not reassuring at night. I didn’t like the interior design of my room (except the small modern clean bathroom). I think the common areas are the best.

Jour 2: Archi & Contemporary Art

Another Day, Another Weather

We take the new metro to the commercial complex, Kö-Bogen designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind, facing the Hofgarten Park. Great mix of modernity, heritage and nature! I’d have liked to have more time to look at all the details of the building facades and stroll in the park.

And  viisiting the Gerhy buildings… We head by foot to Altstadt, the old town. 

  

A Small Museum

A Concept

As the small group walks towards the Rheinturm, I stop at the small museum of contemporary art, opened in 2007. I liked the architecture and exhibition spaces of the KIT – Kunst im Tunnel.

Photo above: in the foreground, a composition of Rosa Sarholz. Photo below: the further you go towards the black wall of the bottom, the more the floor tends to reach the ceiling. If we want to continue to move towards the “black board” of Marcel Stahn, we must stoop more and more. I stopped when my head touched the ceiling.

On the photo montage above: photos on the left, the main exhibition hall. Photo on the right (top): a flat screen – table, where hands are exchanging photos and flipping through magazines. An art work of Fabian Ruzicka.

Then we will have a late brunch in Frida, the warm tapas bar with Mexico colors on walls. Cosy atmosphere, nice interior design and impressive salad size!

Have a Nice Weekend Everyone !

  

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

To make a train reservation: the website of b-europe , or the b-europe appli.

Düsseldorf Tourist Board

Related posts : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to b-europe & the Düsseldorf Tourist Board for this lovely invitation. As always, these are