The serious attitude of the people combined with the attention to details can be hard to understand and accept by the friendly and loud Romanians. However, with each passing year it seems that Bucharest is more open to exotic cultures and foreign influences.
I came to Bucharest prepared to learn Japanese, to travel there and to understand its culture at its fullest. Unfortunately, none of those happened yet, but I still seek in everything that is related to it – be it just a walk in the Japanese Garden in Herăstră Park in spring or attending an event organized by the Romanian-Japanese Cultural Centre. I asked my friends what comes to their mind when thinking about Japan and their replies were: Sushi, Martial Arts and Shogun.
Credit: Edo Sushi
Sushi - find it in the heart of Bucharest!
It seems that Shogun (written by James Clavell) made a huge impact on generations of people who grew up with it. It surely made an impact on Dragoș Sion, a local businessman who decided to open one of the best sushi restaurant in the heart of Bucharest: Edo Sushi. I asked the chef what he finds so special about the Japanese cuisine:
"It’s different because you have to be a very patient and detail orientated person to prepare it. Until you see the final form, it takes a lot of time to prepare every ingredient and be sure it won’t affect the dish."
Takumi - A bookstore with arts and crafts
After you enjoy your meal, you can go next door, where you can find Takumi – cultural gift store. Ștefan Liiceanu, who grew up with the influence of Japanese authors, has returned to Romania after 17 years of studying and working in the Far East and kept close to his heart a love for the Nippon elements. This spring he opened in the place of a popular Humanitas book store: Takumi (artisan). Stefan wants the place to be more than a bookstore: an oasis of Japanese crafts. He brought products from local manufactures in Japan: Kimonos, silk, iron teapots, knives or Kokeshi wooden dolls, and great books.
Aikido - more than a sport
Paula Alexandrescu, freelance journalist, discovered Aikido at 24 and is still fascinated by it. Aikido is a modern form of martial art and it can translate to the way of harmonious spirit. It's not competitive but rather based on a certain lifestyle – take care of others, don’t harm anyone, do good.
This is what attracted Paula to Aikido. Now it’s a full time job for her: after a few years of practicing, she decided to open her own dojo: Mirai Dojo. She made history in the local martial arts environment by opening the dojo by herself and being the only woman which has her own dojo.
Credit: Paula Alexandrescu
Sushi, books and martial arts may be the first things which come up in the mind of a non-connoisseur. These are certainly traditional elements of an exotic culture, but they have been well understood by locals from Bucharest and brought closer to the people.
- Gabriela -