Re:gendo with Keiko Okuno

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About a two weeks ago, I met up with Keiko Okuno, a former Yoga Works  colleague of mine who  moved back to Tokyo with her husband after spending five years in Los Angles. She is now a very popular yoga teacher in Tokyo.  A few months after the 2011 earthquake & tsunami in north-east Japan, Keiko made a brief visit to Los Angeles and the women from our  2007 Yoga Works Professional Program gathered to welcome her with a small reunion.  Now it’s almost a year later and the two of us are going to meet in Nishiogikubo, Tokyo, which would be for me, an adventurous journey by train.  The directions…  “from Sangejaya (platform 2) take the De-ontoshi Line to Shibuya, then the JR line (platform 1) to Shinjuku (platform 12) then take the JR Chou-ow (kaisoku) to Nishiogikubo and then walk to the south exit…”   Somehow I made it there and I would soon find the trip to be well worth it.  Keiko thought it would be nice to have “sweets” at a place nearby.  After a short walk  through a quiet residential  neighborhood we came upon a wooden house that she said had been relocated from somewhere in Japan.   To my surprise we entered the most delightful place— “Re:gendo”—rustic, simple and serene with airy rooms  featuring a  small boutique and cafe surrounding an enclosed garden.  We sat down at a wooden table covered with a faded patterned design and ordered the most wonderful “sweets” with exotic and colorful ingredients such as; honey green tea ice cream, black sesame paste, matcha mouse, black bean jam, and mango.   Coincidentally, while we were eating there was a small tremor putting everyone on alert but it soon passed and we all relaxed—everything was okay…

Later we  browsed the tiny store highlighting  handcrafted leather shoes made by the owner, clothing made from flax handwoven into linen fabrics in deep indigo, eggplant, and other natural tones. I was told that this type of fabric was traditionally used for casual kimonos. Glazed pottery, glassware, assorted kitchenware and haishi (chopsticks) rounded out the assortment of items.  The late afternoon sun began to cast a golden glow on the surroundings, adding another element to the spectrum of sensory appeal that is so prominent in the experience of Japan.


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