While we were uncovering the history of Roku Gin and immersing ourselves in Japanese culture, we learnt about the term omotenashi.
Omotenashi refers to Japanese hospitality and the philosophy of exceptional experiences that come with this mindful hospitality practice.
Sincerity is at the heart of omotenashi as both the host and guest are treated to a memorable experience.
Origin of omotenashi
Omotenashi stems from chakai – a Japanese tea ceremony – that was established by Sen no Rikyu. Each chakai is said to be “ichigo ichie” otherwise know as a once in a lifetime experience, which is a key concept in omotenashi.
“Because life is full of uncertainty, one must engrave in his heart the events of the day as if there is no tomorrow. Today’s tea ceremony is a once in a lifetime experience, and one, along with his guests, must wholeheartedly approach the meeting with sincerity.” – Sen no Rikyu
Both the guest and the host play an integral part of the process as each person is expected to act with honesty and sincerity that asks for nothing in return.
Our own experience
The first evening of our trip away with Roku Gin, we were treated to a feast of Karoo-inspired sushi and an interactive history lesson about Japanese culture.
Our friendly Roku guide, Stephen, demonstrated the philosophy of omotenashi to us using the creation of a delicious gin and tonic as an example.
First, he poured a tot of Roku Gin for both Steph, from our &Home team, and himself. Next he prepared the tumblers by adding the tonic into the ice and lemon. After toasting the shooter glasses together, Steph and Stephen poured their tot measures into each other’s respective tonics to prepare one another’s drinks.
After a quick stir, Stephen and Steph raised their glasses in a toast, completing an example of Japanese hospitality.
Feature image: Sandy Norman