If you’re thinking of hosting a themed dinner party, the food is obviously a very important part of the evening. But the aesthetics can make a big difference as well. Having the right decorations or table settings lend an air of authenticity to the atmosphere and really help people get into the mood.
The Japanese table setting is quite specific and particular, based around the idea that the way food is presented matters and adds harmony to the meal. While you might not be able to go out and buy all new dishware, here are some DIY ideas to lend a Japanese air to your table setting.
1. Cherry Blossom Centerpiece
Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are iconic Japanese imagery. They have been revered for years in Japan because of their great beauty but also for their ever-so-brief season. Because of their ephemeral nature, they represent how beautiful and yet tragically short life can be.
A fantastic way to spice up your table is to create paper cherry blossoms (since it’s unlikely you’d be able to get the real thing) and add them as a centerpiece. You can easily make from scratch using pink paper. Either attach them to sticks to look like a bouquet, or decorate a pretty glass bowl or vase with the paper creations.
2. Use Tenugui to Brighten Up Each Place Setting
Tenugui are traditional Japanese towels that come in a variety of beautiful patterns. Traditionally, they are made of silk and hemp. They are quite easy to track down and aren’t terribly expensive. They could be used as napkins, coasters or place mats. You could even use them as all three and have different patterns for each! They are very light material and you can easily fold them to form different shapes to suit your every need.
3. Make Origami Cranes
Cranes are another iconic symbol in Japanese culture. They are mystical creatures thought to live thousands of years. Therefore, Japanese culture often regards paper cranes as a symbol of peace, longevity, and good fortune. There is even a legend that if you make 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. They are very easy and fun to make, and are sure to add Japanese theme to your dining table.
4. DIY Chopstick Rest
In traditional Japanese table settings, there is always a holder for your chopsticks so you don’t have to rest them directly on the table. Even if you don’t have fancy chopsticks, you can make a chopstick rest out of its own wrapper. It will add a little more class and authenticity to your table setting, even when you just have the normal, run-of-the-mill chopsticks.
5. Sit On Cushions Around a Low Table
Instead of sitting at your dining room table, you can arrange everything on a low coffee table in your home and place cushions around the table. Not only is this a more traditional way to eat in Japanese culture, it can be fun to mix things up a bit. You could even use some more tenugui to decorate your cushions to make them look more Japanese.
With these simple tips, you will be well on your way to creating a beautiful and culture rich table setting to emulate the traditions of Japan without having to purchase authentic dishes.