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08.03.2018

Awa Odori, the Awa Dance Festival, originated approximately 400 years ago. Awa is the former name of Tokushima, in Shikoku.There is no single accepted theory about the origin of the festival, but at least three. Some maintain that the Awa Dance was first performed to celebrate the completion of Tokushima Castle.  Others argue it is a local variation of Bon-odori, the dance performed during O-bon, the Japanese Buddhist festival honouring the spirits of one’s ancestors. Finally, the third theory suggests that Awa Odori has roots in fūryūdance, which is also believed to be the source of Noh theatre. In the Edo period, the Tokushima clan feudal administration issued edicts that prohibited dancing due to public order concerns. Samurai were particularly forbidden to attend public celebrations, in order to prevent them from bringing shame on themselves with drunken skirmishes and misbehaviour. Hachisuka Ichigaku was imprisoned for participating in the Awa Dance Festival. However, prohibition could not kill the enthusiasm of the people of Awa for the festival. Awa Odori was patronised by wealthy merchants who became key players in the cultural exchange between Awa and the rest of the country, contributing to the rhythm of the Awa Dance with songs and dances from elsewhere. There are two styles of Awa Odori: otoko-odori(male dancing), which is dynamic and ludicrous, and onna-odori(female dancing), which is seductive and elegant. The dancers form teams called renand compete against one another. Awa Odori begins in the evening, when men,women and children take to the streets and fill the venue with music, dances and excitement, to the rhythm of the songAwa Yoshikono, played on shamisenand taikodrums.The main spectacle takes place every evening from 6 to 10. Daytime performances will be held in different stage areas around the city centre. On 11th August, the Asty Tokushima Indoor Arena will host a pre-festival show with the most celebrated dancing teams. There is an entrance fee for the performances, with free and reserved seats. Additionally, a dance hall will be set up, where tourists will be offered the opportunity to learn the basics of Awa Odori.A video of the 2017 edition is viewable here.   

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Meditation and Yoga are two very important elements in the world of Alice Manfroni, a Milanese fashion stylist deeply convinced that the wellbeing of the body and that of the mind are inextricably linked to one another. Based on this idea, Alice created HereAfter, a collection of essential oils designed to put the body in touch with the soul through our senses. A synthesis of flowers and herbs grown and harvested following the rhythms of nature, essential oils are the primordial element that Alice perfectioned to trigger emotions and act as a bridge between body and spirit, just as it happens with Yoga and meditation. What link do you see between essential oils and meditation?AM:The bond is very tight. Each oil serves to relax and get into deep contact with oneself, which is also the goal of all meditation practices. Aromatherapy as a bridge between body and spirit: does it make sense to you?AM:Sure: to me, it is crucial to value to the environment in which we live and work, to pay attention to what we breathe every day, to the air and the smells. I mainly use natural incenses like palo santo wood and white sage, which purify the air, renew the environment and are free of chemical additives. You started a collaboration with Casa Nika, a beautiful property on Pantelleria island in Italy: where does the link between the island and the HereAfter world come from?AM:Islands are magic. In the case of Pantelleria, the volcanic nature of the island amplifies this feeling of being closer to the primordial force of the Earth. Its landscapes and sunsets are meditative experiences with open eyes, changing our perception and relationship with what surrounds us. For Casa Nika, I created a special oil using the natural ingredients offered by the islandsuch as lemon and oregano, creating an unmistakable aromatic note linked to the essence of Pantelleria. 

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07.26.2018

Yoron Island: YurigahamaYurigahama is a beautiful beach floating lightly about 1.5km off the coast of Ōganeku, in the town of Yoron, Ōshima district, Kagoshima prefecture. Yurigahama has been nicknamed “the ghost beach”, since it is a long, white sandbank only appearing at low tide in spring and summer. It is a mesmerising earthly paradise, with pure white sand and emerald green waters, glittering in the sunlight. Legend has it you will have good luck and happiness for as many years as the star-shaped sand grains you collect. Shikine Island: Tomari BeachTomari Beach can be easily reached by a three-hour speed boat ride from Tokyo. Tomari Beach, which is a five-minute walk from Nobushi port, is a cove where rocks surround the white beach emphasising the blue of the clear, shallow water, where fish are also visible. Shikine Islandis very well known for its hot springs and there are three outdoor baths open 24 hours a day, free of charge. One of the most representative hot springs of the island is Jinata Onsen, which is a highly regarded for internal medicine, due to its efficacy in the treatment of neuralgia and poor circulation. Ashitsuki Onsen has a reputation for its healing efficacy on cuts, scrapes and other wounds. Finally, Matsugashita Miyabiyu makes a nice soak regardless of the tide. Shizuoka: the beaches of ShimodaShimoda is a town located on the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka prefecture, at a three-hour train ride from Tokyo. Shimoda is famous for its nine beautiful beaches, especially for the beautiful white sand of ShirahamaNagata Beach is a small and quiet beach protected by stone breakwaters, extending in Shirahama Chūō, along the National Route 135 running southwards in the Izu Peninsula from Odawara to Shimoda. On Nagata Beach barbecues are also allowed. If you are looking for clear waters, gentle waves and tranquillity, Sotoura is the place to goKujuppama is a little known beach. Hidden by the hills, which prevent cars from entering the quite area, Kujuppama has a pleasantly private feeling to it. Nabetahama Beachis the closest beach to Shimoda, frequented by locals, especially children, since it lies in the arm of the bay and the waves are consequently calm. Tatado Beach is famous for surfing. Also a popular destination for surfers throughout the year, Iritahama has the appearance of a tropical beach, with sago palm trees lining up along the shore. Other enchanting beaches in Shimoda include Kisami Ohama and Tōji. Kōchi: KatsurahamaKatsurahama is an arch-shaped beach extending between the Ryozu Cape and the Ryuo Cape. It is one of the best scenic spots in Kōchi prefecture, with green pines, deep blue skies and colourful pebbles. It is also a wonderful moon viewing spot. A famous statue of samurai Sakamoto Ryōma stands near the beach. The area around the beach is part of the Katsurahama Park, with the Katsurahama Aquarium and The Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum. Hateruma: NishinohamaNishinohama is located onthe southernmost tip of Japan, at about a one-hour speed boat ride from Ishigaki Island, Okinawa prefecture. Its perfect beauty almost seems computer-generated. It is not hard to believe, therefore, that it Nishinohama has been elected the best beach in the world, with white sand beach stretching for 1 km and emerald green water. On the inside of the reef, the sea is calm and very pleasant to swim in. Outside, you can go snorkelling and enjoy the spectacle of the aquatic life, with corals and fishes of all colours. The beach is covered in soft sand, where you can walk without hurting your feet.If you are not partial to swimming, snorkelling or walking, you can just lie on the sand in total idleness. Nishinohama is ideal for that purpose, too. 

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07.25.2018

Tiziana Alamprese's love for Tokyo was born well before she decided to move permanently to the Japanese capital twelve years ago, when she took on the role of Marketing Director at Fiat Auto Japan.Born in Potenza, Italy, and currently the Marketing Director of Fiat Chrysler Japan, Tiziana told us that she has been fascinated by Japanese Zen culture since high school, when she first read Heidegger's dialogue with a Japanese disciple from the collection of philosophical essays On The Way To Language. She later graduated at Naples’ University of Oriental Languages specializing in Japanese history, language, economy and law, earned a master's degree in economics at Kyushu University, in Fukuoka, and decided she would someday go back to Japan. As a European woman manager, how do you feel you are perceived in the Japanese work environment?TA: Just like in Italy, the work environment in Japan can sometimes be hostile to women, especially to a "foreigner”. Emancipation requires creativity, professionalism, a clarity of vision and mission, knowledge of the local culture and language, and ideally a shoulder to cry on, someone as “foreign” as yourself to encourage you. Although I had to face many difficulties and challenges through my 13-year-long path, I think I managed to make my own difference a strong pointat workDo you ever find yourself in trouble juggling with the complex rules of Japanese etiquette either at work or in social contexts?TA: My solid knowledge of the local culture and language makes it easier for me to follow the rules and convivial rituals of Japan, but occasionally I do make mistakes too! Truth be told, the Japanese forgive easilyand they even have fun watching us clumsy Westerners. I actually believe it’s a shame that they pretend they not to notice our shortcomings, because being told would help us learn from mistakes. Anyway, the best strategy is to apologize with a deep bow and to join in the hopefully benevolent laughter that your mistake aroused. In case your Japanese interlocutor looks offended and does not smile, escape is the only option! Why, in your opinion, do the Japanese love Italy so much?TA: I have my own personal theory about it: I believe the Japanese are "inherently Italian". You can see it for yourself by entering any place where friends, colleagues or strangers gather to sing, laugh, hug and dance without inhibitions. Alcohol is only the “conductive medium” of this expansiveness, which the Japanese love to attribute to the Italians but which is actually also inherent in their DNA! In short, the true reason of their love for Italy is not to be found only in their profound appreciation for our food, fashion, style, design, art and beauty (all of which also abound in Japan), nor does it reside solely in the obvious similarities between our territories (the volcanoes, the earthquakes, the four seasons), but it lies mostly in the same "joie de vivre"that we Italians express freely and the Japanese tend to keep more controlled to comply with the local rules of social behavior. What do you particularly like about Japanese culture and the national character?TA: Their curiosity and the ability to be amazedlike little children by any new discovery, even the smallest one, expressing this amazement without shame, at any age and in every context, even in front of complete strangers. Another thing that always strikes me is how they can always tell those little details that reveal true beauty, which sometimes we Italians completely miss. Can you outline your sentimental map of the city?TA: The neighborhood of Hiroo, which is the area where I saw my daughter grow up from six to eighteen. Our walks in Arisugawa park, which is beautiful in every season, and of our beloved sushi restaurant. Sunday mornings in Harajuku along the famous Takeshita street, shopping for clothes or accessories inspired by metropolitan subcultures with my teenage daughter, and always ending up finding something for me too! The outstanding contemporary art exhibits at Mori Museum, on the 52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills complex, combined with a breathtaking view of Tokyo that never fails to amaze. The occasional visits to the beautiful Nezu museum of ancient art in Minami Aoyama, and the contemplation of the changing seasons in its magical garden.Celebrating the new year at the impressive Meiji Shinto templeor at the magnificent Zojo-ji Buddhist temple. Spending gloomy winter Sundays at one of the fantastic city spaswith thermal water pools and restaurants. And finally, my Tokyo nights in Shinjuku, the city’s most exciting neighborhood, vibrating with excesses and contradictions, neon lights, and a unique mix of transgression, kitsch, beauty and ugliness, perfectly bended like its massively consumed cocktails. A perfect evening in Shinjuku always ends with a walk in the Golden Gai, a maze of alleys and tiny clubs where you can drink a sake offered in a small bar by a mama-sanand feel at home in the company of perfect strangers. Which non-touristy places should we absolutely visit when in Tokyo?TA: I love the Yamanote, the legendary 35-kilometer railway line that runs through all the 23 Tokyo districts in a circular path around the untouchable and sacred space of the Imperial Gardens. A proper tour of Tokyo tour should include all of its 23 "cities in the city". In the shade of the glittering skyscrapers that continue to rise and bring the city closer to the sky, every neighborhood has preserved its identityin the alleys, in the old houses and cafes run by old ladies, in the markets and in the temples, in the amazing gardens, in the traditional food and sake culture. Walking from one district to another is also a very pleasant experience. I recommend strolling from Ueno Park to Nippori through the ancient district of Yanaka, which looks very much like Kyoto! To see the city from a different point of view, I suggest boarding the boat that connects Asakusa to Odaiba, the modern district literally built on reclaimed land, and stopping at Hamarikyu gardens, a green oasis on the backdrop of the Shiodome skyscrapers, for a cup of matchain the old tea house. Is the excitement for the 2020 Olympics tangible? Do you think it will be a good opportunity for the city?TA:There has already been a very positive effect on all business areas, but I think it will be even more interesting to see how the event impacts society. This is a great opportunity for Japan, as it could foster the adoption of more advanced policies in terms of equal opportunities and same-sex marriage. After all, diversity is the theme of the 2020 Olympics! Tell us a bit about your relationship with Japanese cuisine.TA:Even after 12 years of living here and intensely exploring the city, Tokyo continues to amaze me and has me caught in a spell of continuous discoveries of every kind, but above all gastronomic ones! I simply love Japanese cuisine, which I consider the best one in the world along with the Italian one. I recommend trying everything - sushi, soba, teppanyaki, tempura, yakitori, robatayaki, kushiaki, and of course the vegetarian cuisine of the Zen temples.  

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In 2016 theSolar Impulse Missionmanaged to turn something previously deemed impossible come true: an ultralight aircraft with a pilot on board traveled around the world without fuel, feeding exclusively on solar energy. The aim was to show what could really be done with clean technologies, promoting their use and research to generate a better quality of life and benefit the environment. It was a 40,000 kilometer flight with 10 stops along the way both to allow the two pilots to take turns and to retrieve all the information on material reaction and technology. The aircraft was developed by a pool of companies and engineers from all over the world and flown by André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, to whom we owe this historical undertaking with epic moments like the five-day flight over the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Hawaii. The departure from Abu Dhabi was planned with the aim of filling up with solar energy: the decisive variable for the success of the company was to be able to store it and release it during the night. Having solved this issue, the plane could fly continuously, while the team of engineers and meteorologists who supervised the route from Munich guaranteed its safety. The other necessity was to achieve maximum lightness and isolation possible for the aircraft: the materials developed by Covestro, an international company that develops innovative plastics, made this possible. The accomplishment of the Solar Impulse mission marked the beginning of a new path based on the information acquired, with an extra challenge: today, the Solar Impulse Foundation founded by Bertrand Piccard aims to show that sustainablity and economy can work in synergy, not just on an ethical plan, but as an opportunity for growth. In May 2018, the Solar Impulse Foundation launched the Efficient Solution Label: a special recognition that will be awarded to 1,000 projects combining sustainability and the ability to stay on the market judged by independent experts. A group of pioneer companies that will make a difference in the world, with the same visionary power of those who put together the best of energetic technologies and materials to fly around the world without fuel.  

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07.20.2018

In 1967 the Beatles published the Magical Mystery Tour, and in Amsterdam the Provo movement dubbed the Dutch city "Magical Center Amsterdam". Where was the magic? Perhaps in the power of imagination, which invented new ways and spaces to say things in a different way, with the aim of changing the world. In the late 1960s, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam began to bring together what was left of the energy brought to the streets by a new category of young artists whose ‘experimental’ lifestyles were themselves veritable works of art. The Magic Center, an exhibition currently on display at the Stedelijk, summarizes the energy of the years between 1967 and 1970, when the city became one of the most fertile and vibant crossroads of that new generation of artists.  Curated by Bart Guldemold, the exhibition collects 250 works and objects and 100 reproductions collected from the museum’s permanent collection, from the Rijksmuseum and from the Institute of Social History, Sound and Vision. The common thread is irony, which brings together the contradictions of that era, expressed through the posters by Daniel Buren, which were among the first examples of street art, the performances of Wim T. Schipper, who put together an improbable Christmas tree in Leidseplain, one of the central squares of the city, in the middle of summer.  Sunny Imploo was yet another invention of that time: a luminous sphere inside which you could stick your head to enjoy a supposedly relaxing effect. According to authors Louis van Gasteren and Fred Wessels, it should have been made available for everyone at every street corner, but it never actually left the museum.  50 years later, these seemingly bizarre works still manage to bring back the emotional clock to a moment in history when cultural revolution was a daily affair and female artists began to play a decisive role. Among the hundreds of works and icons belonging to that time, including many independent magazines, the exhibition presents some original materials from the Bed-in for Peace project by John Lennon and Yoko Onothat happened at the Amsterdam Hilton in 1969. And as Amsterdam rediscovers its central role in the artistic ferment of the late 1960s, on the red brick façade of one of Stedelijk's warehouses the largest mural ever made by Keith Haring in Europe (1986, 12 by 15 meters)comes back to life thanks to the intervention of various artists and foundations. The work depicts  a man riding a sea animal with a dog's head and it can be seen from Willem De Zwijgerlaan Street. 

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07.20.2018

In 2017, for the 15th year running, the Adachi Art Museum was elected the best traditional garden in Japan by The Journal of Japanese Gardening, the American publication devoted to the special world of Japanese gardens and Japanese architecture. The Adachi Museum of Art, centred on modern Japanese paintings, was established in 1970 in the city of Yasugi, Shimane prefecture, It was completed in September and opened to the public in November of the same year. It currently houses 130 works by Yokoyama Taikanand it is also renowned for its gardens. Yasugi was the birthplace of Zenkō Adachi, the founder of the museum. Zenkō began working as a coal haulier between the countryside and Yasugi Harbour. He developed a keen interest in business and after the Second World War he took on several jobs, including textile wholesaler in Osaka and estate agent. At the same time, he began collecting works by Japanese painters, something he had loved since his youth, and eventually became known as an art collector. Throughout his life, Zenkō delighted in designing gardens. Finally, in 1970, at the age of 70, as a sign of gratitude to his hometown and aiming to enhance the cultural development of Shimane prefecture, Adachi established the Adachi Museum of Art. Adachi’s passion for collecting art was well known, but perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his 1979 acquisition of several works by Taikan Yokoyama from the Kitazawa Collection, including Autumn Leaves, Mountains After A Shower, and Summer - Four Seasons Of The Sea. Zenkō Adachi considered the garden as a picture scroll and had horizontal viewing panels installed, through which visitors can enjoy the ever-changing beauty of the garden. After his death at the age of 91 in 1990, the garden, which is divided into six sections totally about 165,000 square metres, was officially designated as one of Japan’s most representative gardens. The six gardens have a different appearance in every season, framed in the beautiful landscape of the surrounding natural mountains. Adachi’s gardens are said to be a living Japanese painting and gained three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. 

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07.16.2018

From the 5th century AD, when the order of Saint Benedict was founded, to today, monasteries have preserved a unique feature that goes beyond every religious tradition: they are still a place where to take refuge, whether to get away from raids and poverty, as it happened in the Middle Ages, or to put a little distance between ourselves and our daily routine, as it often happens today.  Monasteries are almost inevitably secluded and out of time, and their days are punctuated by simple chores and tolling bells. Home to pilgrims, travelers and faithful for centuries, they retain a special energy magnified by the beauty of their ancient architecture and manuscripts. Europe is literally scattered with such places, and some of them can be extraordinary day-trip or holiday destinations. Here are five monasteries that you most likely do not know yet. Reichenau Island Monastery (Germany)Reichenau is an island on Lake Constance, at the foot of the Alps. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island houses a Benedictine monastery dating back to the 8thcentury with three churches mixing Carolingian, Ottoman and German architecture from the Salian dynasty, which reigned over the Holy Roman Empire between 1024 and 1125. Its peculiarity lies in the huge mural paintings, particularly those inside St. George’s church, which are very well-preserved.  Monastery of the Holy Cross, Fonte Avellana (Italy)In the 21stcanto of Dante’s Paradise from the Divine Comedy, Pier Damiani speaks of a hermitage at the foot of Monte Catria. This place was already a point of reference in the 14thcentury: the first monks had settled here, in this valley on the border between Marche and Umbria, in the 10thcentury, giving birth to what would become one of the most important Camaldolese monastic complexes in Italy. Hospitality and dialogue are the values ​​that have always been carried forward ever since then, with a calendar of events that covers the whole year and the opportunity of retiring for a few days to enjoy the silnce, nature, the woods and the sky. Ostrog Monastery (Montenegro)Set against the rocky mountains of Montenegro, in the Bjelopavlići valley and not far from Podgorica, the Ostrog Monastery is home to wild birds and strong winds. Founded in 1671, it is composed of two structures on an upper and lower level, connected by a long and winding staircase. The monks still celebrate Orthodox rites and sacraments and are happy to share the long history of this place and of the miracles that supposedly happened on its grounds with the visitors. Saint Gall Abbey (Switzerland)The first stones of this great Benedictine monastic complex date back to the 8th century, as well as some of the oldest manuscripts kept here. The library is its main asset, both for the Baroque structure and for the huge quantity of manuscripts dating back to the last twelve centuries, including the first architectural project on parchment. Architecture is the second focusbecause it features all the architectural styles from Charlemagne onwards, making this place one of the most vibrant cultural centers in Europe.Hermitage of Santa Caterina dal Sasso (Italy)Coming from the lake, the first thing you’ll see is the big bell tower, and then the beautiful arcade that runs along the lake. In Leggiuno, on Lake Maggiore, this hermitage has two convent structures, the oldest one dating back to the 13th century, and a church with an original structure, the result of the fusion of three different chapels over time. The frescoes, focusing on everyday life scenes and stories full of mysticism, have preserved their bright colors. When the winter fog rises from the lake, this place is an otherworldly vision. 

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07.13.2018

She is one of the world’s most famous and appreciated mezzo sopranos, a Baroque music enthusiast, a generous artist and a proud mother. Swedish singer Ann Hallenberg has been successfully singing opera for 25 years in the world’s most prestigious theatres. In the meantime, she has constantly enriched her repertoire with the rediscovery of amazing arias from unknown Baroque composers, supported in this passionate and incessant research by her husband, the German musicologist Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg. We discussed her career, her life and her passions over a Spritz in Venice. How did you, Ann, become Ann Hallenberg the famous mezzo soprano?AH:I am actually the proof that the media do have the power to shape a child. I grew up in a house with music. My father was a church singer, so I had music around me but it was mostly church hymns, never opera. And then when I was six I was left alone in front of the TV one day, and there was a televised production of the Bettlerstudent, an operetta by Millöcker. It just got me. I remember crying because it seemed like there would be a tragic finale, and jumping on the sofa when I found out there would actually be a happy ending. The day after, I asked my dad to buy me the record, and my mum to make me a dress just like the prima donna. There and then, I decided: this is what I want to do. I want to become an opera singer! So, basically you are living you childhood dream?AH:Yes, my whole life I have been doing what I wanted to do. I am extremely lucky, and I am aware of this luxury. Although as I was studying music, I said to myself “This is ridiculous, you can’t be an opera singer just like that”. Since I had a huge interest in history and I also wanted to be an archaeologist, I gave myself five years after attending the opera school to see if this dream would work. “If it does not”, I thought, “then I will have all my papers ready to become an archeologist”. It was my plan B. Which was the first moment in which you realized you could make it?AH:I think it was when I auditioned with very short notice in Oslo for L’Italiana in Algeri. Basically, from day 1 to day 2 they threw me in: I auditioned, said thank you, and I was on my way out of the stage door to catch my plane back to Stockholm when the opera management came running after me and told me I'd got the job! During that opera production I began to realize that it would work. I was four years out of opera school. From then on, my mantra has been “slow growth, quality music”Which specific moments in your career did you cherish the most?AH:There have been many fulfilling professional moments, of course, but personally the most remarkable one was coming home after an audition with Luca Targetti from La Scala one night and telling my parents “I am going to sing at La Scala!”. The joy of my father in his pajamas in the middle of the night is something I will always cherish. What triggered your passion for Baroque and 17thand 18thcentury composers?AH:First of all, I discovered Baroque through Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sophie von Otter and truly liked it. Secondly, I realized that to sing Verdi, Puccini and Mozart I would have to stand one step behind the sopranoand reach for handkerchiefs, and chairs, and be supportive as they sing their arias. By singing Baroque, on the contrary, I would get to sing several arias. And then of course I also realized that it was perfect for my voiceIn your Carnevale 1729album you sang a collection of 14 unknown Baroque hits from the 1729 Venetian Carnival. How did you come up with the idea and why this specific selection? AH:The inspiration came from those cheap CDs you can buy at any gas-station: “Greatest Hits 1985”, “Summer Hits 2010” etc. I began to imagine what an album from the 18th century would have been like, what the “hits” of an exciting season in 18thcentury Venice could have been. We ended up picking the year 1729 because the Venice Carnival of that year had so many incredible arias written for the occasion that had miraculously survived. 1729 was a special year also becauseall the big stars of Italian opera had come back home after disagreements with their impresario, Händel,in England. This connection with such a well-known composer was also crucial to help us sell the record. On that note, how do you cope with the fact that these composers, such as Orlandini or Giacomelli, while being amazing are very little known? Wouldn’t it just have been easier and more profitable to record something by Händel?AH:I am absolutely aware of this. And I obviously love Händel. In the case of Carnevale 1729, I thought that “using” his name to make people discover the other composerswould be a good idea. The same thing happens when you set up the program for a recital: sometimes it can be annoying, but you always feel that you should add a Händel aria so that people are happy. But recently things are changing, and both record companies and fans are starting to appreciate unknown composersIs there a composer in particular work that you think would deserve more attention from musicians and the public? AH:Well, there are several. I would say Pietro Torri, Giovanni Porta, and of course Geminiano Giacomelli. Yet it is not easy to popularize work. They are basically unknown, and there is not a single famous piece from them that the public can connect with to get an idea of who they are. Also, you need to do a lot of research because scores and editions are scarce. Finally, there is a negative bias towards unknown composers, the idea that if they had been so good they would not have been forgotten. If it is not about quality, why is that are some composers more known than others? Why Händel and Vivaldi and not Torri and Giacomelli?AH:It is about quality, but only to a certain extent. There is no denying that Händel, for instance, was unique. He truly had a God-given gift. But there are other aspects we should take into account: some composers were only present in their time, they wrote music for a living, maybe they didn’t travel much. In other words, they did not think of music “for eternity”(this is something that only became relevant later, with the “genius” culture). They had one commission after another, and they were extremely good at their own craft. So, yes: Händel was a genius, and maybe Torri was a genius too, only he did not manage to have his work performed in theatres for as long as Händel’s Messiah, and thus to become equally popular. Sometimes it’s just that people love to listen to what they already know: and in that sense, everything that is familiar has a great advantage over the unknownWhat’s your favorite genre when it comes to performing?AH:Opera was my first loveand I have been doing it for 25 years. It is magic indeed, both onstage and behind the scenes. I love the behind-the-scene dance, with people perfectly coordinating to make everything perfect! But it also very hard work, and a lot of time away from home. Besides, singing operas can sometimes be frustrating these days, because the power of the directors has become so overwhelming that it occasionally takes over the idea of the music. So, at this point in my career it has to be something really special. Nobody can believe a singer who sings everything. In this industry you must be capable of saying no. It is brave and refreshing at the same time. How do you feel about curtain calls? What goes through an artist’s mind in that moment?AH:After so many years I am still terrified. I think the fear of not receiving an applause is every artist’s worst nightmare. It luckily never happened to me. When the applause comes, it is like the ultimate proof that you did your job well, and that the public is in a way giving back what you have tried to give them. It’s a sort of chemistry. How do you cope with being an artist as well as a wife and a mother?AH:I am travelling about 200 days every year, so the real hero is my husband. It definitely is a teamwork, because if he didn’t take care of everything at home and with our daughter I would not be able to travel. I’m the one onstage, the one who gets the applause, but behind the scenes there is someone taking care of all the rest. As for meI remain a normal persondespite my staging career. I still love going out without makeup to buy milk in my hometown. Your husband, Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg, is in the music field too. Does that help?AH:Holger is a musicologist, andmy living encyclopedia! This means that we can collaborate and that is just perfect. He has been working in theatres and he knows how my profession works. I never have to explain. But in general, I think that for instance two singers would have a hard time coping with a career and a family, because one of the two would have to step back.   What do you like to do to relax once the hard work is over?AH:Knitting! I need to work with my hands. My work is gone the moment I do it. I sing, and it’s air. I need to do something more physical. 

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Take a few canvas scraps, enough to create a layer a few centimeters thick. Compress them well and secure them to each other with the most resistant string you have. Shape it following the outline of a foot and sew it to a piece of embroidered canvas or velvet, chosen among the best ones you have at home: this is what the women of Friuli, in north-eastern Italy, have been doing for centuries to create an ancient type of footwear called scarpet, a tradition jealously preserved and handed downfor generations. Although the first written records of this tradition date back to the nineteenth century, it certainly has its roots in the previous centuries, when it started in the Friuli region only to reach the Belluno Dolomites and the Treviso pre-Alps. Venetian gondoliers, who needed practical and flexible footwear to protect them from the summer heat and the winter cold, were also great fans of the scarpets. Each family had its own scarpet tradition with special symbols for the embroidery on the toe. In a time when reuse was a daily necessity and waste an inconceivable luxuryfor most people, scarpets were the shoes worn by the whole family on special occasion, made in different variations of fabric for the upper part, from canvas to velvet, to suit the season, padded and embellished with jute from grain sacks – somebody even went as far as adding a rubber sole made from recycled bicycle tires. Among the market stalls of Udine and in the mountain artisan workshops, scarpets are still sold both as pieces of local craftsmanship and daily commodities. Whether they maintain their vocation as poor footwear or are embellished with embroideries and sophisticated fabrics, scarpets tell the authentic story of the people who invented them. 

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07.10.2018

Edamame is the Japanese name for soybeans harvested when they are still young and soft, from May to late October, now a popular snack all around the world. Gunma prefecture accounts for approximately 28% of the domestic production, followed by Akita (24%) and Yamagata (12%). Some varieties of soybeans need to mature before they can be harvested, whereas others are suitable to be picked before maturation. New types were created in order to increase the size, quantity and quality of the beans. Edamame were presumably eaten already during the Nara period (710-794)or the Heian period (794-1185). There also exist written references of their being presented as gifts during the Kamakura period(1185-1333). Duringthe Edo period (1603-1868),in the summertime,street vendors would peddle soybeans still attached to the twig, then boiled and soldto people who would snack on them while walking. Originally, they were called edazuki mame, literally “beans on a twig”, which was later shortened into the present day form edamame. The colour of the pod is important, and bright-green is most desirableshade. Ripeness induces a reduction in the content ofsugar (responsible for the distinctive flavour and sweetness of edamame), amino acids and ascorbic acid. The most popular way of preparing edamame is to boil and salt them. They are a popular snack in bars, especially paired with beer and drinks. The high protein content of soybeans will reduce the toxic effects of alcohol. In Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, edamame are boiled and reduced to a jam, which is used to make the famous zunda-mochi, edamame-flavoured rice cakes. What is unexpectedly unknown is the great nutritional value of boiled edamame. Boiling is the tastiest fashion of preparing edamame and it is incredibly easy, too.  All you have to do is rinse the edamame cut both ends of the pods and rub them in salt. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the edamame and boil for about three minutes. When they are cooked,you shouldstrain and sprinkle them with salt to coat. Do not try to cool them by spraying them with cold water. That would only make them soggy. Grab a nice, cold beer and you are settled. Enjoy! 

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07.09.2018

From the 5th to the 11th of August, the Farmer’s Market Weekcelebrates American farmer’s markets to promote the advantages of this centuries-old tradition that has come back into vogue with a new focus on sustainability and well-being. All over the world, the markets selling fresh, local products from small,  often family-owned businesses are a great way to familiarize with regional food and traditions and to meet the locals, enjoying an immersive and authentic experience. Here is a tentative list of 10 farmer's markets around the world, each one a faithful mirror of the culture that feeds it and of the city that hosts it.  Union Square Green Market (New York, USA)It was the year 1976 when a bunch of farmers and breeders from New York began to bring their own products to Union Square, one of the largest open and public spaces in the city. Since then, the growth has been continuous: today, fishermen, farmers and bakerstake up around 130 stalls visited by thousands of New Yorkers stationed or in transit, looking for unique and fresh produce. Roppongi Ark Hills (Tokyo, Japan)Part farmer's market, part outdoor meeting and entertainment space with a special focus on families who may take advantage of a large playground for children, Roppongi Art Hills offers fresh fish and specialties from around Tokyoalong with small handicrafts. Besides shopping, we recommend eating at one of the many small restaurants that surround the market.  Borough Market (London, UK)This market originated in 1014, when crossing the Thames and reaching the southern shore was a no easy task and occasionally illegal. The market enjoyed a renaissance starting from the 1990s, when the first specialty food stalls landed in its empty warehouses and their instant success showed the world that there was a new desire to experience tastes and traditions in London. Open 6 days a week, this market is now  a must-see for anyone visiting the city and willing to explore the contemporary British food scene.  Cangas De Onis (Spagna)Cangas de Onis is a small town in the mountains and, quite unexpectedly, the former capital of the Asturian Kingdom, in northern Spain. A classic border city, every Sunday it comes alive with an ancient market dating back to as far as the Middle Ages, housed in the large square between Palaciu Pintu and the church of Santa Maria. The result is a feast of food and colors revolving around Asturian and Spanish culture, with a focus on local cheeses, a true specialty of which each producer will be happy to explain visitors the production process and complex taste. Desserts, jams and typical local hazelnuts complete the landscape. Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market (San Francisco, USA)This 25-year-old market is an expression of the pioneering Californian spirit in terms of sustainability and zero-mile food. Managed by CUESA (a non-profit association), it is a point of reference for those who love the sustainable culture of food, as well as for renowned chefs and for thousands of visitors who flock to the market, especially on Saturdays. Standing along the Bay Area commuter route, it offers fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and baked goodsRoma Farmer’s Market (Roma, Italy)The Garbatella district is a historic, working-class district of Rome. Among its old buildings, often covered in murals, sits the old local market, which was recently renovated to include the city’s most historic market formerly located in the Testaccio neighborhood. The stalls sell pizza, pasta, cheeses, meats, fruit, vegetables and local delicaciesfrom the local countryside. Open on Saturdays and Sundays.Piazza delle Erbe Market (Padua, Italy)In every venetian city there is a ‘Piazza delle Erbe’ where, often since the Middle Ages, farmers used to come to sell their products. In Padua, this long-standing tradition continues: in the heart of the city, among palaces that echo the splendor of the Venetian Republic, every day (except Sundays) fruits, vegetables and fresh produce from the surrounding countryside are sold in more than 70 stands extending into the adjacent Piazza della Frutta, for the benefit of locals, tourists and thousands of students. Marché Bastille (Paris, France)As it often happens in France, at Marché Bastille the beauty of the food delights the eye even before its taste delights the palate: endless varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, spices, and olives. There is also an African component represented by the presence of batik fabrics, decorations and jewels. Finally, the abundance of gourmet stalls has turned this market into a major foodie destination, yet this gastronomic ‘gentrification’ suggests paying attention to the prices. Kaupattori Market (Helsinki, Finland)This market is one of the many good reasons to visit Helsinki. The square that houses it offers an unmissable view of the Gulf of Finland and it is connected to Esplanade Park, one of the city's green arteries. Fresh fish, to be taken away or eaten on the spot, is king, along with seasonal local vegetables and fruits. Kowloon City Wet Market (Hong Kong, China)With over 500 stalls housed inside a huge structure that looks like a ship, this market is mainly focused on fresh fish, available in endless variations. For a full immersion in the colors and the fragrances of southern China, take a look at the stalls selling local fruits like longan, rambutan and durian. 

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On the Atlas Mountains, in Morocco, carpets have been at the core of family life for thousands of years. Handed down from mother to daughter, the art of weaving and processing raw wool is preserved with extreme care. The typical decorations of the Berber tradition are expressed in the form of irregular geometric shapes and lines that symbolize protection, respect, fertility and good omen for the life of the family. The result is an object dense with meaning and tradition, absolutely natural and extraordinarily appealing to our contemporary tastebecause of its timeless aesthetics.  Beni Rugs is an online platform selling woolen rugs of the Berber tradition created by Robert Wright and Tiberio Lobo-Navia, who fell in love with these artifacts back in 2012 during a Moroccan holiday and later decided to build a bridge between those who love and appreciate them and Berber artisans, allowing customers to choose their favorite size and pattern (or even to suggest their own pattern). The manufacturing process has been the same for thousands of years, and it stays unchanged even in the digital era. In summer, the sheep are shorn to obtain the wool that is essential for producing the carpets. The woolen bundles are carried to river Oum Er-Rbia where they get beaten, washed, and dried in the sun. The village women then proceed to spinning the wool, which is subsequently dyed with natural substances to create the necessary color contrasts to weave the designs. Finally, the knotting begins: every woman works on a carpet from the beginning to the very end, in a slow and careful process that may take up to a month's work. The finished carpet is then drenched with water, washed and dried in the Atlas summer sun and air. Through to Beni Rugs, the modern digital world helps passing on and spreading the charm of this ancient tradition. 

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07.04.2018

Founded by Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond in La Neuveville, Switzerland, in the year 1991, atelier oïalways stood out from the crowd because of the unique creative journey that gives birth to its objects and spaces. At the heart of it is a penchant for mixing different architectural genres and design disciplines, ranging from architecture to set design, interior design, and product design. 2018 is a very special year for the studio, because two different exhibitions are celebrating its work and telling its story. Oïphorieis the exhibition underway (until September 30) at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, a historic landmark for Swiss design since 1878. Oïphorie is a selection of projects accounting for 27 years of activity involving the most diverse clients, from major international design and luxury brands to prestigious cultural institutions. The aim is to show the phases of design and carrying out of each project, from the manipulation of the materials - the silver thread of the whole process - to the prototype, and on to the final result. On the other side of the world, the Museu da Casa Brasileira in São Paulo, a major destination for design and architecture in the Brazilian city, will be hosting an exhibition called Handmade Industry(August 2018) focusing on the atelier’s approach to materials and exhibiting projects and samples to show how mastering materials and treatments is crucial when embarking on independent design and cultural project. From the merging of materials and ideas comes the impalpable emotional space that surrounds the creations and installations by atelier oï, which always leaves room for reflection and interpretation. The intuition that gives life to the project is a spark that reflects on the experience of anyone interacting with it, getting in touch with its shape and surface, or using it with their eyes and their hands. 

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07.02.2018

In 2013, UNESCO added traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku, into its Intangible Cultural Heritage list, as a social custom handed down from generation to generation that expresses Japanese people’s respect for nature. The main characteristics of Japanese traditional cuisine are: diversity and freshness of ingredients and respect for their inherent flavours;an extraordinarily well-balanced and healthy diet; an expression of natural beauty and the changing seasonsand a close links with annual events. Ichijūissaiis a word that expresses the ideal nutritional balance of Japan’s dietary habits, revolving around a set meal consisting in a bowl of soup, rice and one further dish. The combination of these three main ingredients is rich in umami and low on animal fat and it makes a wonderful tool for longevity and obesity prevention. Last but not least, set meals are an inexpensive yet tasty choice, especially in Tokyo. If you like washoku, here are a few recommendations. To-iro (Nakameguro)At To-iro, you can take one of the eight seats at the counter and enjoy rice and miso soup prepared with different ingredients every day. Nutritious and delicious. Chisō Kōjiya (Shirokane-dai)Home-made miso and salted rice malt are the base of Chisō Kōjiya’s dishes, with the freshest vegetables and fish from Tsukiji Market. We particularly recommend the free-range chicken from O’oyama, Tottori prefecture, seasoned with salted rice malt. Washoku Ando (Akasaka)In the modernly furbished shop, you can taste seasonal ingredients changing every month. Washoku Ando uses Koshihikari rice from Niigata prefecture. Nidaime Aoi (Shibuya)Chef Yūichirō Satoyoshi will find the dish that best matches your personal taste. A personal recommendation would be dashimaki tamago, traditional Japanese rolled omelette made with egg and dashi. Sake Square (Kinshichō)The speciality is fresh fish, paired with sake selected by a lady sommelier. 

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06.29.2018

It was the year 1999 when Massimiliano di Battista, an art enthusiast and public relations businessman, co-founded the innovative photographic agency Management + Artists + Organization in New York with his partner Marco Fincato. Specializing in fashion and born to drive and support artists in creative terms as well, today the agency is an international reality with offices in London, Paris and Milan, but Massimiliano has remained faithful to "his" adoptive New York City, where he has now been living for almost twenty years not as an "expat", but as a true New Yorker. What’s it like to live in New York for an Italian-born individual?MDB:Personally, I tried to adapt to the city ever since the very beginning, and this led to creating my own family and friend circle to make the experience fulfilling.New York is a very fascinating citybecause it can surprise you every day, it is always on the move and is the only place in the world where so many different ethnic groups coexist peacefully.But it is also a complex and hard city, where the quality of life – by which I mean the quality of human relationships - is rather poor, even when you have reached your goals professionally and financially. It is extremely difficult to have and develop human relationshipsthat are profound, honest and authentic. Have you ever wondered why?MDB:Sure. And the explanation I gave myself is this: real New Yorkers, born and raised in the city, are a minority. Most people come here with a definite project: to achieve a dream, success, financial independence, power, to gain recognition. New York is a city based much more on work and success than it is on human relationships. So, if you manage to develop authentic relationships, it is very important to invest in these people. To what extent does New York embody the whole nation, and what distinguishes it profoundly from the rest of the country?MDB:This a very complicated question, but to sum it all up I would say that New York is at the same time the mirror and the antithesis of the rest of America. The mirror, because of its huge contradictions, which are similar to those of the entire country. The antithesis, for its sense of belonging, for the lack of racial tensions, for a dynamism and a desire to create and to succeed that are absent in many other parts of the United States. What is it that you love most about New York?MDB:My ideal places in New York are those that somehow make me feel "at home" and give me some kind of emotion. Take the subway, for instance: I love traveling on the trains to observe the people, imagine their lives, their desires, their dreams. The subway is possibly the most "democratic" place in the city, the one where there is the greatest integration between different social classes. Or Broadway, and of course the off-Broadway scene: while it may in a sense be considered too touristy and corny, it also offers the unique opportunity to admire some of the greatest Hollywood stars live. Another New York classic of which I am particularly fond, is the so-called “restaurant date”: in a city where friends are hardly ever invited at home, where there are very few bars and the whole aperitivoconcept is missing, restaurants are where most people meet and socialize. My favorite restaurants are EN Brasserie and O-ya (for Japanese cuisine), The Pool Room and The Polo Bar (for an elegant and somewhat formal situation), and the "farm to table" restaurants in Brooklyn or Queens, where you can taste dishes based on local products. Finally, shopping in New Yorkis definitely an exciting experience. I like to discover small shops even in the lesser-known neighborhoods or unexpected places, where new businesses are born on a daily basis. I recommend the Lower East Side, Madison Square Park, Chinatown and Chelsea West. Do you believe that being based in NYC is still a unique opportunity for a photographer or a creative professional in the year 2018?MDB:Living in New York is not crucial for a fashion creative professional, at least not any more. Actually, it may even be a bad idea. Most of the customers are super commercial brands, and very few newspapers offer creative opportunities to photographers.The situation is more suited to the new creative digital generation– multidisciplinary and digital artist, and professionals with skills mixing technology and creativity. These days, in the US it’s all about mobile content. Printed media have become merely accessory. For a fashion photographer or a stylist, it makes probably more sense to live in London or Hong Kong. 

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06.27.2018

We definitely have a problem with plastic. Over the last 50 years, the production and the consumption of the most common manmade material have been rising constantly.  In this context, the recent discovery of a plastic-eating warm by Italian researcher Federica Bertocchiniappears absolutely relevant and it might even provide us with a new weapon in the war against a problem that was caused by our own ineptitude and shortsightedness. Previously a Research Career Development Fellow at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (IBBTEC) in Santander, Spain, Federicagraduated in Biological Science at the University of Pisa and later earned a PhD from the DIBIT research at Milan’s Istituto San Raffaele. Working in London and New York City, she focused her studies on the development of the vertebrate embryo, but it was actually a chance discovery that led her to start a project on plastic bio-degradation. As it happens, Federica is also an amateur beekeeper, and while removing a wax warm infestation in one of her hives one day she put them in a plastic bag, only to later discover that they had eaten their wayout leaving holes all over the bag!  The research that followed, and which was also supported by scientists at Cambridge University, revealed that the wax worm, the larva of a Lepidoptera living in the honeycomb of beehives, does actually eat plastic: according to lab tests, 100 worms can eat 92 milligrams of polyethylene in 12 hours, apparently by using the same enzymes they use for eating beeswax.  Yet, in order to ascertain that polyethylene bio-degradation by wax warm is a viable option that might contribute to solving the plastic problem, more research needs to be done, and Federica is certainly up to it.  

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06.25.2018

The Japanese capital is a hectic, hard-working, crowded city, and while these are just the things that make it so vibrant and exciting, sometimes life in the city can stressful, especially when you’re tired and in need of a well-deserved break. So, where do Tokyoites go to spend a relaxing weekend whenever they unplug from work? As it turns out, there are so many incredible and diverse places only a short train ride away that they are definitely spoiled for choice. Following are a few ideas recommended by locals. Just take your pick!  Mount FujiThe world’s most iconic mountain, Mont Fuji, is actually an active stratovolcano sitting 60 miles south-west of Tokyo. On clear days, it can be seen from several viewpoints in the city, including the tallest skyscrapers and the surrounding mountains. Oshino, a small village in the Fuji Five Lake region, Yamanashi Prefecture (114 kilometers from Tokyo), offers an absolutely mesmerizing view of Mount Fuji, especially when its snow-crowned summit appears in the midst of the cherry trees or the autumnal foliage. We recommend taking the opportunity to visit nearby Oshino Hakkai, a set of eight ponds fed by snow melted from the slopes of Mount Fuji that filters down the mountain through porous layers of lava for over 20 years, resulting in very clear spring water.  Tōshōgu Shrine in NikkoLocated about 2 hours north of Tokyo, Nikko’s Tōshōgu can be reached from Akasaka Station by the “Kengo” limited express train in two hours only. It is a truly mystical place, a World Heritage Site lying on the holy grounds of the Nikkō mountain range, where the shimmering waters of the Daiya River, flowing from Lake Chūzenji, and the Inari River, flowing from Mount Nyohō, converge. The whole area is covered in a forest of cedar trees aged between 400 and 800, and dotted with shrines. The Tokugawa Ieyasu Tōshōgu is a magnificent place with a strong impact. Animals are carved in the wooden parts of the building: these include the “Three Wise Monkeys”,respectively covering their eyes, ears and mouth to avoidlearning from evil or dwelling on evil thoughts. KanazawaA two and a half train ride from Tokyo by Hokuriku Shinkansen, Kanazawa, overlooking the Sea of Japan, is known as a trove of seafood, such as snow crabs and amberjacks. Besides trying the amazing local cuisine in the restaurants, we recommend that you take a tour of the extraordinary Omicho Market, where about 180 shops are lined on both sided of a huge shopping arcade selling the specialities of Kanazawa: fresh raw and cooked seafood, seasonal vegetables from the area and sushi lunchboxes.  The Hakone Open Air MuseumThe Hakone Open-Air Museum, 90 kilometers south of Tokyo, is a unique outdoor exhibition of sculptures by Japanese and international artistssurrounded by nature, and on the background of some truly beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Featured artists include Juan Mirò, Auguste Rodin, Henry Spencer Moore, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and Medardo Rosso. The museum also has various indoor sections. The Picasso Exhibition Hallis an impressive two-story exhibition space entirely devoted to the Spanish artists, with paintings, sculptures, ceramic works and even photographs documenting Picasso’s life. The indoor exhibition rooms display masterpieces byBrancusi, Renoir, Giacometti and other major artistsIto, Izu Penninsula100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo and easily reachable by train, the Izu Peninsula is the perfect weekend getaway from the capital. The eastern coast is home to some of Izu’s most renowned hot spring resorts, including Ito, a real favorite among Tokyoites who like to come here and indulge in well-being and relaxation. Surrounded by cliffs and hills, Ito boasts a long tradition in hospitality: one of its oldest buildings is Tokaikan, a former ryokan, A.K.A. a traditional Japanese wellness inn, now open to the public. Besides admiring the former guest rooms with their classic tatami flooring, futon beds and intricate wood carvings, visitors can access to the ryokan’s tea room and baths, both still in operation.   

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06.25.2018

Yamagata Prefecture is renowned for the high quality of the rice. Here, surrounded by the paddy fields, stands the first hotel designed by famed architect Shigeru Ban, which will open this summer. Shōnai Hotel Suiden Terrasseis a wooden two-storey lodging complex, inspired by the beautiful landscape of Shonai’s rice paddies, one of Yamagata’s symbols. The complex consists of three buildings, named Gassan, Haguroand Yudono(the Three Mountains of Dewa), with 143 rooms, which include suites, double and twin rooms, as well as bedrooms for larger groups. Each room offers the relaxing view of the floating Yamagata country scenery. The designer of the hotel,Shigeru Ban, is an architect who has worked all over the world and has won numerous awards, including the Japan Architecture Grand Prize and the Asahi Award. In 2014 he was appointed Officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice.  Furthermore, after the 1995 Great Kobe earthquake, he founded the Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN) and undertook the construction of the emergency housing and temporary chuch assembly halls. Ban is also active providing support to areas affected with natural disaster in Japan and abroad. In addition to the lodging facilities, Shōnai Hotel Suiden Terrasseis an ideal pied-à-terre for those travelling both for business or for leisure, with a restaurant and bar, a meeting room, a shop, a library, natural hot springs and a fitness area. The real jewel in the crown is the hot spring facility, covered in a beautiful wooden roof, which pumps the water from a depth of 1,200 m.At the restaurant you can enjoy seasonal ingredients farmed locally without using any pesticides, while admiring the enchanting view of Mount Gassan. The pre-opening is scheduled for 1stAugust, whereas the grand opening will be held mid-September. 

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06.22.2018

21 years of history, over 1,200 breweries and almost 7,500 different beers: the Italian craft beer market has evolved a lot since the birth of the first brewpubs - namely pubs producing their own beer – in the mid-Nineties.These brewpubs grew into microbreweries, and with entrepreneurial spirit, started to sell throughout Italy and abroad, and joined the global craft beer bandwagon. Telling apart beers made by truly independent craft brewers from those made by large companiescan sometimes be tricky. Yet when it comes to 32 via dei Birrai, all doubts seem to dissolve: this microbrewery from Treviso puts such meticulous attention to ingredients and productionthat it is the first Italian beer to earn the Slow Brewing Quality Seal. Slow Brewingis an international organization that works with the Technical University of Munich and the Italian Brewing Research Centre at the University of Perugia (CERB) to ensure the quality of raw materials through all production stages and set rigorous standards for hygiene requirements, environmentally friendly distribution methods while respecting the traditional manufacturing methods.  The story of 32began in 2006, when sales expert Loreno Michielin, engineer and homebrewing enthusiast Alessandro Zilli, and master brewer Fabiano Toffoli combined their passion and skill to create a craft beer with a unique character that would stand outin the already saturated Italian craft beer market. Why the name 32 Via dei Birrai? "32 is the number corresponding to the beer production class according to the Nice international classification of goods and services", Loreno Michielin explains. "And via dei Birraiis a reference to a street in Brussels, rue Des Brasseurs, or brewers’ street”. The three founders focused mainly on the relationship between taste and design: a set of unique flavors reinforced by unmistakable packaging and bottle design, topped off with their signature round 32sticker.  The other focus is sustainability, not only regarding energy usage throughout the production process but also after: the packaging is designed to be recycled or reclaimed into decorative objects, for example corks that become keychains.  "Of course, to have a craft beer emerge, you need to work on making a great impression on the final consumer, and on achieving a kind of quality that is tangible, proven," Michielin explains. 32 Via dei Birraiachieves quality via a long production process characterized by limited quantities, craft techniques such as re-fermentation, and respecting the raw materials. Six weeks are required for 32’s beers to metamorphose from simple ingredients in a factory to a final product being sold on a shelf. This is because each beer is highly fermented and non-pasteurized.  The result is a non-standardized beer- to the point that an expert consumer might notice the difference between different batches of the same type of beer. "Unique, steady and consistent" are the keywords which, according to Loreno, give us the best definition.  One of their side projects is donating money to Fondazione Lucia Guderzo’s school for vision impaired children from the sales of bottles with braille printed on the label. 32 via dei Birraiis a very non-standard beer company, indeed.  

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06.20.2018

160 fashion photographs taken by over 80 photographers and representative of a whole century of evolution of costume and society: these are the numbers of Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography 1911-2011, the exhibition that will take place at J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from June 26thto October 21st, 2018. Fashion photography is the mirror of the company to which it is addressed precisely because it is, first of all, commercial photography and therefore necessarily effective in attracting the attention, and aligned with the curiosities of the moment. Whether it is in the form of a cover, an illustration, a video, an advertisement or a report, when fashion photography becomes one with creativity (and desire), the result is the faithful portrait of the aspirations of an era. Aspirations, not reality, but no less significant for reconstructing a period of history and deserving a retrospective of an author in a prestigious space. During the depression of the 1920s the emphasis that magazine put on glamor responded to a real need for escape, whereas in the years of the Second World War, especially in the United States, a pragmatic, confident and enthusiastic vision of life replaced the previous one. Fashion photography is always a symptom of the spirit of time: the rebirth of the 1950s is all in the lenses of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, who celebrated the magnificence that came from Paris with the creations of Cristòbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior , among others. The costume revolution in the 1960s can be found the 35mm film photos by William Klein, who got closer to the new street culture, or in the psychedelic and surreal aesthetics of Neil Barr. The 1970s introduced diversity, involving people with different backgrounds, ages and attitudes, in line with the spirit of the time, between experimentations and avant-garde. The 1980s were the years of the Italian limelight: from Versace to Giorgio Armani, Milan became the core of fashion, supermodels were born and fashion photography became an object of daily consumption, a popular heritage and a reservoir of dreams that will nurture a whole decade. The thrill ended on the threshold of the 1990s when, from a slowdown in the economy, the melancholy of grunge and minimalism arose.  By telling this whole story, the exhibition manages to bring images born for commercial purposes but filtered by the genius and talent of some of the greatest masters of photography into a major museum. The final part is devoted to the definitive shift of fashion photography from the catwalks to the street, via fashion blogs (starting from The Sartorialistby Scott Schuman) and Instagram. Is this where the great photographers we will remember in a century from now train and grow? Only time will tell. 

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06.18.2018

Gianni Canova is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication, Public Relations and Advertising at Milan’s IULM University besides being a journalist, novelist, and essayist. Additionally, he is the founder of Duel, the first Italian film magazine to broaden its focus beyond film alone, and delve into the rest of the contemporary media landscape. But above all, Canova is one of the most eminent Italian film critics – although he doesn’t like to be called that as he thinks of himself rather as someone who tries to “infect” his readers and students with the passion for cinema. We chatted with him about essential movies, Italian films, and Netflix.  Contemporary Italian cinema doesn’t seem to be nearly as highly regarded as it used to be in its golden era. Why is that? GC:We have plenty of talented professionals and skilled technicians. We have some extraordinary directors. And yet something is wrong with the industry. The festivals are too conservative and they tend to snobbishly promote films for die-hard cinephiles. The production system has been spoiled by years of excessive public funding. Personally, I wish for a braver entrepreneurial spirit and more innovative promotion and communication strategies. What we need is a cultural revolution that will bring back to our national film industry the dignity it used to have back in the 1960s and that got lost somewhere along the way. For instance,why do the French believe that it’s “cool” to go to the movies, whereas we don’t? I believe that this gives a good idea of where the problem lies. Which contemporary Italian directors would you recommend to a young, foreign film student?GC:Paolo Sorrentino is one of the greatest creators of images in the global film industry. There is not a single frame in his films that is obvious, predictable, or trite.All of his works seem to be designed to teach our eyes how to see beauty. When watching The Great Beautyor Youth, the feeling you get is like the one you might experience in front of someone you are attracted to: you do perceive their imperfections, and yet they drive you crazy. Honestly, all his movies deserve to be seen. The same goes for Matteo Garrone, a visionary talent whose imagination goes beyond reality to create worlds and unearth demons and ghosts.  Now, imagine an alien (or an inexperienced spectator) came up to you and asked what cinema is. Which three fundamental movies in the history of cinema would you show him/her and why? GC:Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock because it unveilsonce and for all the voyeurthat hides inside every spectator. 8 e 1/2by Federico Fellini because it is a dancing phantasmagoria on the foolishness of making movies. And 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick because it reminds usthat cinema is the most extraordinary mental exercise that this era has put at our disposal. What do you think of the growing popularity of film streaming services? GC:To me, they are the triumph of films and the death of cinema. People have never been watching so many films, they watch them on their tablets, smartphones, computers and TV screens. Films have become something other than cinema. As Marshall McLuhan wisely and famously stated,“the medium is the message”. TV series are just an outstanding invention designed to transfer investments, capitals and consumption from the cinematic medium to other media. That’s all they really are: a simple positioning strategy in the entertainment market, with all that this entails. Netflix is not a film producer. It is a company that produces films to nurture and self-sustain itself. It’s not like there’s anything bad about it, but how can this recreate the feeling of being by enthralled by something larger than yourselfthat you had in front of the big screen? How can a movie become a myth to us when all we are watching is digital images the size of stamps that we dominate with ease, and that will never, ever be able to give us the overwhelming emotions that real cinema aroused?  Have you ever felt the urge to direct a movie? GC:I am too passionate of a spectator to undertake the pains of directing a film. Being on a movie set is one of the most repetitive and boring experiences ever, whereas watching a movie is always exciting. In spite of all the films I have seen, every time the lights go out in the movie theater I feel the same emotion I experienced the first time I ever watched a movie. 

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06.15.2018

Exit-Gastronomia Urbana was born with the ambitious goal of bringing the excellence of a haute cuisine restaurant inside a historic food kiosk in the old city. Behind it is Matias Perdomo, the starred chef who owns a very famous restaurant in Milan, and who decided to bring the excellence of his own experimental into a very humble location, with a menu that honors the ancient local food kiosk tradition with premium raw materials and innovative techniques. Partnering with chef Simon Press and maître-sommelier Thomas Piras, Perdomo conceived Exit-Gastronomia Urbana as a place that challenges the rules by turning a place that is an integral part of the urban landscape of the city into something purely innovative. The kiosk thus becomes a bridge between tradition and avant-garde, between the history of Milan and the city’s new cosmopolitan spirit. The opportunity to eat at any time of the day is a further innovation here in Milan: à la carte dishes can be enjoyed from morning to night, without constraints. From Monday to Friday from 8.00 to midnight and on Saturdays from 10.30 to 4 p.m., you are free to choose one of the 30 available seats available and enjoy great food and the pleasant atmosphere of the vibrant piazza where the kiosk, thanks to an efficient system of movable windows. The interiors are in perfect harmony with the hybridization of places and eras that Exit's cuisine and wine list express. The local Ceppo di Gré stone, widely used for Milanese period buildings, has been carefully crafted to create small objects such as cutlery holders, and Venetian Briccole, the same wood from which the long poles that emerge from Venice’s lagoon are made, has been used for the counter, the tables other wooden elements. Suspended between rediscovery and avant-garde, Exit is bound to become a point of reference for gourmands in Milan. 

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Tracing the origins of a cosmetic product and learning about how it is made is no easy task, but Oway – short for Organic Way - has made traceability and transparency its two distinctive features, the ones that define its own identity. Everything can be traced back to Bologna, or rather to the Bolognese hills: here, Oway - a brand of the local cosmetics group Rolland, a historic manufacturer of natural essences – has established its Ortofficina, a 50,000 square meter field where it grows the officinal plants from which its zero-mile oils and plant extracts are made and turned into beauty products. The plants are grown according to the biodynamic method, a type of cultivation which considers the soil as a living organism and aims at finding the perfect harmony between nature, soil and manto obtain healthy, vital and strong fruits and plants without relying on chemicals.We spoke to Luca Laganà, Managing Director at Rolland and a member of the family which founded the company some 60 years ago. SJ: Can you tell us about the Oway's origins?LL: Rolland's evolution towards the Organic Way began around the nineties, with the transition to organic and later biodynamic agriculture. For over 25 years we have been working on formulas rich in organic ingredients, and experiencing the Organic Way values ​​in our everyday life, "cultivating" the idea of ​​an ethical and sustainable beauty able to promote positive values ​​both for the people and the environment. Today, we create our cosmetics and design our products with a sustainable approach towards every stage of their life cycle, up to the final reuse of containers. We have been the first company in the beauty industry to completely eliminate plastic from all containers and choose 100% recyclable glass and aluminum.  SJ: Today, real innovation lies in a return to nature and purity. Is this also true for the cosmetic industry?LL: Considering that external beauty is also influenced by how we feel, by our physical and psychological health and by what we receive from the environment, we must always strive for balance. Even in cosmetics: we need to go back to pure nature, essential oils, hydrolytes, vegetable extracts rich in nutritional properties, and combine them with the active principles that science provides us with, the safest and most effective ones. When we conceive a product and its packaging, we have to find a way to minimize its impact on the environment, all along its life cycle. In a sense, I agree that this is a return to a healthier past - but with a look to the future, and with the help of the tools that science and research are offering us. SJ: It appears that the Oway concept goes far beyond the product: it is a vision, a lifestyle. LL: We call it Organic Way of Life: we like the idea of ​​promoting a healthy and positive lifestyle. Starting from our work environment, because a pleasant working environment is a necessary condition for what we do. In addition to this, we have opted for renewable energy, electric company cars and eco-sustainable furnishings. We recycle, offer yoga lessons in the office, and collaborate with local farms to bring organic, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables directly to our headquarters. By cooperating with international fair trade organizations, we support the economic and social development of local communities in strivng countries helping them access the market by using precious plants from Africa, South America, Indonesia, Indochina and Aboriginal Australia to obtain botanical extracts and oils. Finally, we support the Ocean Cleanup project, Boyan Slat's incredible sea cleaning enterprise. How does the Organic Way of Life translate into your personal lifestyle?LL: I commit to dedicating some time to all the things that take me back to a "slow" dimension: I perform breathing exercises every morning, and in my spare time I practice Chinese calligraphy and engage in farming activities at Ortofficina. A real blessing both for the mind and the body.  

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06.08.2018

Gaetano Pesce has made things clear ever since the beginning of his career: while still studying architecture at the University of Venice, he wrote a manifesto called "in defense of the right to incoherence", because creatives had to be allowed and required to wander and experiment.It was the end of the 1950s and also the time of the Paduan Enne Group, a collective of students fascinated by machines and the application of technology to art, and attracted to kinetic art that was already a thing Milan. Because of the special relationship he had with the city, Padua is celebrating Gaetano Pesce with a retrospective entirely dedicated to the designer, visionary, artist and architect born in La Spezia in 1939. Il tempo multidisciplinare(“multidisciplinary time”, open until September 23) is housed inside the historic Palazzo della Ragione, which just turned 800 years old. It presents 200 works that explore all the forms of expression experienced by Pesce throughout his life, from design to urban projects, avoiding all defined routes so that visitors can be carried away by the perennial brainstorming which is at the base of Pesce’s art. Incoherence finds coherence in its own guiding thread: the curiosity that drives the artist’s search for the essence of contemporaneity. Exhibited at the MoMA in New York, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, at the Vitra Museum in Berlin and at the Pompidou Center in Paris, here in Padua Gaetano Pesce's ideas are epitomized by Un Gigante di Vestiti (“a giant made of dresses”), a four meter-high chair covered in women’s clothes from different eras and styles. In this exemplary work, the scenic power joins a civil message, as it is often the case with his works: around the chair, six columns hold six wild beast heads representing masculine aggressiveness unleashed by the fear of women. Maestà Tradita(“betrayed majesty”), a sculpture dedicated to the female martyrs, and Italia in Croce(“crucified Italy”, 1978) are both exhibited outside the Palazzo, offering free hints for reflection to the whole city. Among Pesce’s previously unseen works is finally Padova Onora Galileo(“Padua honors Galileo”, an urban project dedicated to the city of Padua and to one of its most distinguished guests, and a tribute to borderless thinkers who explore everything that inspires them, from art to physics, astronomy, and literature. 

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06.06.2018

Hirohiko Araki’s masterpiece JoJo’s Bizarre Adventurewas originally serialised in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1987 to 2004. The series, which has garnered worldwide acclaim ever since, consists of 8 unique parts, depicting the blood ties and supernatural foes of the Joestar family. Numerous fashion designers have been influenced by Araki and for the brand’s 2013 window displays, Gucci teamed with renowned Japanese Manga artist Hirohiko Araki. The exhibition will be held at the exhibition hall on the second floor of the National Art Center, in collaboration with Shueisha Publishing. It will be the final project to celebrate the 30th anniversary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, with a great number of items on display, including original drawings and texts from the original release. In the Jojo Chroniclecorner, you can take a walk through the 30-year-old history of the series, looking back at all the characters and settings that have appeared over the years. The section Star of Destiny, Blood of Fatedisplays a collection of scenes that best convey the theme of fate weighing on the shoulders of the protagonists and their rivals. The exhibition also features works by artists active in the forefront of sculpture, fashion, and video-making, including sculptor Motohiko Odani, Anrealage fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga and the visual design studio WOW. 

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06.01.2018

Arles must have a special energy. It was in this small town in the south of France that Vincent Van Gogh moved in February 1888, giving way to the most intense and fertile period of his career: over 300 works in just over 14 months, inspired by the light of Provence. Since the 1970s, Arles has been home to Rencontres d’Arles, a major international photography festival aiming to observe through the lens of the great photography masters the disruption and the speed of social and political changes. From July 2 to September 23, the whole city will once again turn into a huge exhibition space with over 30 venues and guests and visitors from all over the world. The 2018 edition, director Sam Stourdzé explains, is a journey through time on the tracks of a selection of images that entrust the eye of the photographer with the task of bringing us back to precise moments of our era. Everyone can somehow relate to these images through their own experience and, by putting together sensations and memories, perhaps even sense some fragment of the future. Among the over 60 scheduled exhibitions, three are dedicated to investigating the timeline. Run Comrade, the old world is behind youpresents, among others, 1968! What a story, a tribute to the year that truly shaped our view of the world at the end of last century. A time of tragedies and dreams, with a thin red line pushing us towards a better future. The future of 1968 is our today, depicted by 40-year-old Norwegian photographer Jonas Bendiksen in theAugmented Humanityseries, which documents the life of 7 modern-day gurus suspended between avant-garde and archaic beliefs, between confidence in technology and a return to ancient practices, in a constantly precarious balance. America Great Againcelebrates the 50thanniversary of Les Americainsby Robert Frank, the famous on the road reportage documenting 1950s USA. 60 years later, five photographers of different ages and backgrounds depict today’s America in their own way. Workshops and performances will complete the program, which is starting with the July 2-8 inaugural week and the "Arles nights": every night, a special guest will tell a story through music, prose and storytelling in the ancient city theater. 

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05.30.2018

Not at a man's pace, but certainly on a human scale: seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world from a bicycle changes your perspective and perception of the distances. Whichever route you choose - long or short, easy or challenging - cycling tourism is a great way to experience big cities or to explore wild new territories. Here are ten cycling paths to inspire your desire to discover the world on two wheels. Dali and LIjang (China)The province of Yunnan, in south-eastern China, is a mix of natural beauties and small villages with ancient traditions that definitely deserves a visit, especially at bicycle pace. The villages of Baisha, Xizhou and Shuhe will allow you to experience a very different Chinafrom that of the huge cities, as will the pretty towns of Dali and Lijang. Visiting the stone forest or cycling along the Erhai lake is a truly unforgettable experience. Paris (France)All the world capitals provide bicycle tours to discover their landmarks and points of interest. Paris offers plenty of itineraries for groups or individualswith a private guide, as well as the opportunity to rent bicycles discover the City of Lights from an alternative point of view. Trossachs and Highland Pertshire (Scotland)The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, just north of Glasgow, comprises lakes, mountains and castles, epitomizing the ancient and indomitable landscapes that make Scotland unique in the world. Most tours by the local agencies include fun stops at the whiskey distilleries along the way. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)It takes about 15 days to go from the extreme south to the extreme north of Vietnam, slowly exploring the course of the Mekong River and the coast overlooking the South China Sea with the famous Ha Long Bay. By bicycle and onboard the traditional local fishing boats, you will be able to savor the beauty of this land, from the extraordinary variety of nature, landscapes and cuisine to their proverbial hospitality. Aeolian Islands (Italy)This Italian archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is perfect for a cycling holiday between April and June, when temperatures are mild and the sea already offers its best colors. The most suitable routes are located in Lipari, Salina and Vulcano, less harsh than the other islands of the archipelago, with perfect roads for a relaxed cyclingtour and harder routes for those who prefer a little challenge. From The Baltic to the Adriatic Sea (Poland/Slovenia - EuroVelo9)There are 15 Eurovelo routes outlined within the European territory to date and, although they are not yet fully completed (because long stretches are not equipped), they are an interesting opportunity for those who choose to travel Europe by bicycle. We picked the one from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea, running for 1,870 kilometers from Poland to Sloveniaalong the ancient Amber Road. From Toulouse to Marseilles (France)The Canal du Midi is the eighteenth-century waterway that connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea running through the ancient Languedoc region. Over 240 kilometers long, it was born to connect the local waterways to the Garonne and tto the Atlantic, creating one large water course. If you love slow holidays, the Canal du Midi – a Unesco heritage site - is a silent and patient travel companion that will keep you company as you ride among some the most beautiful landscapes of southern FranceMoroccoThe western outpost of North Africa lends itself more and more to be a destination for bicycle tourism, seasonal temperatures permitting. In two weeks you can touch imperial cities like Fes and Marrakech and maybe head towards Zagora and Merzouga. Those who love free camping will have no problem finding suitable spaces, maybe counting on the ancient local tradition of hospitality. Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)A bicycle tour might allow you to include all the best reasons to visit South Africa in one single itinerary: enjoying some whale-watching, tasting the excellent local wines, crossing national parks and travelling to the southernmost coast of the continent, just to name a few. Our suggestion is to find a guide and inquire about the levels of difficulty of each route in advance. Carretera Austral (Chile)The road that leads from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins through Patagonia and almost to the end of the worldis a veritable cycle tourism classic. Todo cambia: the paths, from asphalt to dirt roads, the altitude, and the climate. What does not change yet is the beauty of the landscapes along this 1,240 km journeyto be done in at least one month, camping along the way and learning to find your bearings in the almost total absence of road signs. From Teruel to Valencia (Spain)Spain is crossed by the so-called "green roads", cycling routes that follow the tracks of the old disused railways. The longest one is called Ojos Negros, and it runs for 160 kilometers from Teruel to Valencia, including two sections with the Sierra Menera montains as an intermediate stage. 

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05.29.2018

Tofu is believed to have been invented in Chinain the 2ndcentury BC. It was first introduced to Japan during the Nara period (710-794) by the Japanese envoy to the Tang Dynasty, but there is no clear evidence. It was in the Edo period (1603-1868) that the Japanese brand of tofu was created and the consumption of tofu became widespread. 1782 was the year of publication ofTōfu hyakuchin, a book with over 100 recipes for preparing tofu. Due to its immense popularity, the cook book spawned two sequels: Tōfu hyakuchin zokuhen and Tōfu hyakuchin yōroku. In East Asia, tofu has always been an important source of protein. In Japan it also supplemented the consumption of meat, especially in a time when it was not customary to raise livestock and the only meat available was the one of hunted deer and wild boars. With the introduction of Buddhism, eating meat became a taboo. It was only after the Second World War that the consumption of meat exceeded the consumption of fish. Despite the change of eating habits, tofu is still standing strong as a highly nutritious staple foodLinoleic acidshelp reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Lecithin and beta-conglycinin have a tremendous effect on lipid metabolism and fatty liver, whereas lecithin and choline help prevent the aging of the brain and improve one’s memory. Saponinsare effective in preventing adult diseases. Isoflavones can help decrease the number of women diagnosed with osteoporosis, cancer and arteriosclerosis. Oligosaccharidespromote the growth of Bifidobacteria, which are beneficial to intestine health. And last but not least, calcium, in addition to strengthening bones and teeth, is a powerful anti-stress. It is an undisputed fact that tofu has a low calorie count, which makes it a popular food in reduced-calorie diets. However, tofu may also be connected to longevity: the higher the tofu intake, the higher life expectancy. As a staple food, Japanese tofu comes in different types and is the basic ingredients of countless recipes. 
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