Kaori Bushimata is the embodiment of ometenashi, or the spirit of Japanese hospitality. From her detailed culture and history notes that accompany every class, to the careful explanation of the raison d’être behind each dish, she takes you on a step by step journey with into the world of Japanese cuisine that only an insider can take you.
Formerly a flight attendant, she has come home to start a guesthouse called Roujiya. The word “Rouji” means a narrow alley coming off a main road, and the concept behind the name is that when people travel, they should consider deviating from the ‘main street’ of their lives and explore the ‘rouji,‘ and take a fresh look with their heart and mind.
Taking the cooking class with Kaori in the quiet of her Kyoto machiya townhouse is a lesson in mindfulness. By deconstructing cuisine to its most basic elements, from chopsticks to the shape of the chopstick holders, you focus on each jigsaw piece, which together paints a picture of a rich culture and people reflected in its food and manners.
There are elements of Zen and the tea ceremony in the mindfulness you feel as you take the class, from the simple appreciation of the bowls and plates, to the flowers that bring the ethereal feeling of the seasons inside the home.