Q&A With Our Shoji Spa Supervisor

  1.  Are you an early bird or night owl?

I used to be a night owl all the way but this year I made it my goal to become an early bird. Now I love it and feel so much more productive and ready for the day when I get an early start. 

2.  Who has influenced you the most when it comes to how you approach your work?

I would have to say my biggest influencer when it comes to how I work would be my first boss Jessie who I met when I worked at the Asheville airport. I was very nervous on my first day and throughout my entire time there she taught and constantly reminded me that it was ok to approach my job with a fun attitude even if it was serious. This has continued to help me see the light in things and be able to approach stressful projects with a better mind set.

 3.  One thing that’s surprised you about working at Shoji?

The one thing that constantly surprises me about working at Shoji is how I find myself looking forward to coming to work. We have such a great team of employees and great relaxing environment we get to be in everyday.

 4.  What is one thing that you are trying to make a habit?

I used to be an avid reader. As I got busier with work and school that hasn’t been something I have kept up with much. I would definitely love to make reading a habit again and I hope I will one day.     

 5.  If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? 

If I could choose any superpower I would choose to be able to speak every language in the world fluently. I am already bi lingual and I love being able to switch back and forth between English and Romainian. It would also make traveling all the more exciting and easy.

 6.  What is your favorite TV show?

My favorite TV show would have to be The Office. That’s a show that I’ve always got playing in the background and never fails to make me laugh.

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Even though they are thousands of miles away and separated by oceans, the climate and mountains of Kyoto are not so different from the Blue Ridge Mountains we call home. 

 

The temple Otagi Nenbutsi-Ji nestled in the mountains of Kyoto much like Shoji, is well over a thousand years old. Guarded by its collection of 1200 rakan statues depicting the disciples of the Buddha; this peaceful and meditative retreat in the cultural center of Japan was not always so tranquil. 

 

The original temple built in the Higashiyama area in 770 completely washed away in a flood. It was reestablished in the early years of the Heian period (794-1192), only to fall into dilapidated condition again until the only structures left were the main hall, the Jizo hall and the temple gate. 

 

In an effort to preserve what was left, the temple’s remaining structures were reassembled in their current location in 1922 and for a third time the temple was destroyed. It was not until 1955 that the temple’s fortunes changed when Kocho Nishimura was appointed the new head priest. Not only a priest but an accomplished sculptor, he began the long process of renovating the temple.  

 

Teaching visitors how to sculpt in the Japanese tradition, priest Kocho Nishimura and guests created the 1200 “rakan” statues that fill the temple’s grounds. Peaceful and moss covered these statues spill down the mountain, filling the area with their serene presence. 

 

If you are interested in Japanese folklore, its traditions and history, or are looking for a place to retreat to when exploring Japan then the temple Otagi Nenbutsi-Ji is the perfect destination.