“ Go with the flow. The universe knows.”
Berlin-based Ryoko Hori has cultivated a career based on attuning to the sensory details around her. Born in Osaka, Ryoko studied fashion design and lived in Tokyo and Paris before being drawn to something different, craving a connection to the physical self and training as a massage therapist in Australia. Flash forward to today, where she lives in Berlin and operates a beloved “senses salon,” which exists as part apothecary, part workshop space, part hub of a deliberate, subtle, and artful curation of her own articulation of wellbeing. It’s a study in thoughtful articulation, humble appreciation of the everyday, and intention in every sense. Read on for our visit to her studio.
Photos by Silvia Conde
I was born in Osaka — as the middle child of three,I was lucky enough to be raised by a mother who was very much into alternative medicine and organic food, who practiced yoga in the 80s. Back then I was embarrassed by the differences between our home and the other kids in my neighborhood...she didn’t use white industrial sugar for homemade cakes and didn’t give us supermarket chips...we ate all healthy foods. I was very attached to my grandmother and loved going to visit her in Kobe during the summer. She taught me all kinds of hands-on crafts: sewing, knitting, pressed flowers, and ceramics. I loved using my hands to create something.
Our body systems activate through sensory experiences - for example, the digestive system starts when we smell or see foods. Or the parasympathetic nervous system activates when we are relaxed by comfortable touch. Our quality of life depends on sensory experiences, and we can develop the senses through a range of experience and variety. There's no short cut, it's just engaging with the sense as often as possible with awareness.
Do you have any "rules for living"?
Go with the flow. The universe knows.
Can you recommend an oil blend recipe or treatment we can implement for the seasonal transition?
To welcome the fall from the summer, I recommend a soothing blend of sesame (not only a warming oil in Ayurveda, but also great for moisturising and anti-aging) paired with uplifting jasmine and sweet orange. Grounding patchouli and sandalwood are also a nice treatment for body and mind. A personal favorite is osmanthus flower, which makes me happy — it is the symbol of the fall and is something you smell often in Japan!
I was always looking for something outside — I was on a schedule of moving to a new country every three years in my twenties! Thanks to these experiences I found that many of the things I was looking for were actually inside me. But I had to journey in order to find them.
For my recent perfume creation, Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta’s early works inspired me and made me want to play with the idea of perception of time. I always like to let people daydream and lose themselves in experiences and and not be so dogmatic. Often I don't name any of the blends I create for this reason.
I like "The Book of Tea" by Okakura Kakuzō, or old books especially Japanese ones from Edo or Meiji era.
Anything becomes your own precious experience. Even if it looks complicated or useless, it is necessary for learning.