Eri Nakamura, 33 years old, is a ballet dancer and costume designer for the Batsheva Dance Company
Eri has called Tel Aviv home for the last NINE years, having decided to stay in Israel for love (she is the partner of Ohad Naharin, the celebrated Israeli choreographer). She says “the fish in the Kiriyat Sefer Park pond swim the same way as fish swim in Japan,” and when she sees the cloudy sky and rain in Tel Aviv it makes her nostalgic for the Land of the Rising Sun. If she could transport something to Tel Aviv, it would be the ‘onsen’ (hot spring baths) from Japan. In Tel Aviv, she spends her early mornings having coffee at Lachmanina, with lunch and snack breaks at Neroli (“the best organic store ever”) and finds solace resting at home, playing with her daughter Noga, and cat. Her costume designs can be seen in Last Work, Yag and Venezuela by Batsheva and Adam by Roi Asaf, And Still by Daniel Agami and Burnt Room by Noa Tsuk and Ohad Fishof.
Find a local slice
- Hibino is an immaculate design store and gallery perched over Ahad Ha’am Street, with traditional and gorgeously minimalist Japanese objects like mini Ikebana bowls, artful wooden mobiles, ceramics, beautiful papers and colored pencils.
- Like a present within a present, Tonari, a clothing boutique, expertly-curated with designer Japanese labels, sits inside Hibino, bidding visitors to spend every shekel they have on adorable Tabio socks and eloquently-draped and oversized linen dresses and pants by the likes of Tsumori Chisato and MIYAO.
- After intensely studying the Japanese mentality and the cuisine’s raw materials in Tokyo and Kyoto, Israeli chef, Yuval Ben Neriah, opened Ya Pan, a truly delicious interpretation of Japanese street food – including tempura calf brain and matcha-based desserts.
- Delve right into Japanese culture (sans a 15-hour flight) at Haifa’s Tikotin Museum, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, devoted to the conservation and display of Japanese art pieces. Similarly, its museum shop vends traditional Japanese crafts like ceramic saki sets, bowls, teapots, and original calligraphy sets.
- Looking for some real R&R? Holding court over Jaffa’s Old Port is the Zen haven Yoko Kitahara Spa where visitor’s can experience a true taste of Omotenashi - Japanese hospitality – while indulging in a treatment that soothes all of your senses.
- Dragon Market, run by Tiran Rahum in the Levinsky neighborhood, imports over 600 food items from all over the world, with a focus on staples from the Far East.
Here’s a TIP:
For insider updates of authentic Japanese cultural events in Israel, check out Yapanit.com and the Facebook group: JapaneseinIsrael
And, that’s not all!
The luxurious Sheva Spa in the Hilton Hotel, is as traditionally Thai as it gets. Walk into the bamboo-lined room, combining authentic furniture and fragrances from royal Thailand, and feel immediately transported. Managed by Thai-born Naomi (Nam) Patiscrari, the spa was opened as part of her vision to bring true Thai culture to Israel. Treatments include the Sama Ki (Harmony) massage and the Sabay Chay (Joy in the Heart) Ayurveda healing massage.
Xing Long, a hole-in-the-wall near Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station is one of the most authentic Chinese bites in Tel Aviv. If you know Chinese restaurants, you shouldn’t expect much as far as decor, but its on-point delivery service, massive business lunch specials and prices on the cheap more than make up for it. Don’t miss their signature duck in orange sauce.
Founded and steeped in the guiding principles of Hatha-based traditions, the Prana Yoga College offers a range of yoga classes and intensive yoga teacher trainings. Partners Shakti and Pepe combine thier worldly experience in yoga ashrams and Buddhist studies in India and Nepal to Sufi Whirling and Native Shamanic Practices – introducing an otherworldly spiritual quest for students and trainees to discover.
Mommy’s Filipino restaurant & Karaoke Bar, run by Mommy Lucy, from Santiago in the Philippines, is a riot on Friday and Saturday nights, when in-the-know locals stream in for the good vibes, live band (starting at midnight), and dancing ‘til the morning. Also find Reynaldo Uclaray, from Olongapo City in the Philippines, out front of Dragon Market on Fridays and Saturdays with a stall called Rey’s, hawking famed Filipino delicacies like kakanin, hopia, puto, siopao, dinuguan, lumping and buchi.