A couple of weeks ago, one of my knitting friends turned me onto a TV show on PBS called At Home with Venetia in Kyoto. It didn't really sound like something that would interest me, but she raved about the show so enthusiastically, I decided to overcome my own negativity and give it a try.
After just one show, I was entranced. The show is simply about the life of Venetia Stanley-Smith, a British expatriate, who has lived with her husband in Kyoto's Ohara district for the past 30 years. Kinda grabs you by the throat, right?
Venetia's life is measured and thoughtful. Each week, Venetia tends to the herb garden of her rural home, makes handmade gift for her friends, and visits one of the artisans who live in Kyoto. So far, she's visited the Rakuten Bamboo Shop, the wirework shop of Tujiwa Kanaami, and a defunct factory for a milk-based drink sold during the 20's and 30's. Also, the pianist who composes music for the show, Mine Kawakami, stopped by to visit Venetia and wrote an impromptu composition about the mint tea Venetia brewed for them.
Some of Venetia's handmades have been oatmeal and lavender bath bags, jasmine and sandalwood face cream, and lavender vinegar.
The things that draw me in most are the ways Venetia lives her life: a slow, measured pace, extending thoughtfulness towards her friends, mindful of reusable and renewable sources. She expresses her creativity through making small gifts with the herbs and plants she grows herself. Watching Venetia's mindful life, listening to the lovely accompanying music leaves my mind as relaxed as a bit of quiet yoga.