Here’s a step by step guide to creating a modern table setting inspired by Japan
The wabi-sabi of a Japanese table setting is simple to understand. Of course, it has changed over the centuries. Initially, hakozen, small box-shaped tables or trays, were used. And every one had their own. Then, chabudai, or low dining tables gained popularity. Today, a modern Japanese household has western-style dining tables and chairs. So, if you want to recreate the look at home and impress your guests, just follow these simple and easy to replicate steps created using using kitchen and dining pieces from the houseware collection available at international lifestyle brand MUJI.
1 The Ingredients
To create this look you need minimalist crockery. This will enhance most dishes and allow you to bring in different elements to create a smart tablescape. Though the accessories used are earthy to go with entire look, the bright red napkin and red flowers add a pop of colour; and the greens add freshness to the table.
2 Placing the chopsticks
The chopsticks placed on the soup bowls contrast well with the white bowl. As per Japanese traditions it is acceptable to rest the chopsticks on the bowls. Just ensure that they are parallel to one another and not crossed. Why? Crossed chopsticks are a reminder of funeral ceremonies.
3 Create a vertical Zen garden
Next, create a vertical Zen garden as the centrepiece. Zen gardens are an integral part of Japanese culture. Japanese rock garden or ‘dry landscape’ garden, often called Zen garden, creates a miniature stylised landscape through arrangements of rocks, water features and greens. Gravel or sand is raked to represent ripples in water. Here, in the vertical setting, different colours of sand create the ripple effect.
4 The Final Look
Start with one colour of sand holding the vase at an angle. Once you are ready to change the colour of the sand tilt the vase in the opposite direction and pour the next colour sand in. Continue the process till you get the desired height of sand in your vase. Finish it with different elements of the Zen garden. Place the tableware on the placemats, add a dash of green and place a stack of stones tied together on one side to enhance the look.