There is no better way to get to know a place than meeting the people that live in it, which is why we ask the yogis we meet around the world to take us to their favorite spots.
With Azuse, we found out the magic of stepping out of your habits and exploring new options and paths.
Unlike most Ripple models, Azuse isn't a yoga teacher - she's a Japanese-English traveling translator who does loads of yoga, has been following our Instagram page, and contacted us about sizing when she was ready to purchase her first Ripple item. That interaction grew into an interesting conversation, and to a meetup plan in Japan.
This out of the ordinary beginning turned into an extraordinary experience, when rather than take us to her spots and locations, Azusa decided to join us in Aomori, where we were staying, and explore the area together.
We decided on a little trail in Wespa Tsubakiyama, and walked up there not knowing what we're headed for. A little Torii gate on the way gave us some hint that there might be a special sight at the top; these gates mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred, and are commonly found at the entrance of Shinto shrines.
As we passed through the gate and kept walking up, we arrived at a little temple, surrounded with lush greenery, right by a gorgeous cliff. Light rain started falling, and the air was misty. The view and the temple and greenery and company were all overwhelming and blissful, and Azuse did what seemed most natural at the moment - she sat down to meditate.
As we carried on exploring it seemed like every spot deserved a moment of dhyana, as we all had the feeling that we are in a special place, in a special moment in time.
Our slow and lovely morning turned into a vibrant afternoon as we walked down the trail to see what else is around. We found a fishermen port that was great fun to explore, and a viewpoint overlooking the entire bay.
Azuse is a vibrant, happy, lovely person, who is a yogi at her very core. She plans to do a yoga teacher training soon, and in the meantime she runs half marathons, travels and practices yoga all over the world, and spreads love and joy. Follow her here.
Our collaboration with Alexa was almost a perfect opposite to our day with Azusa - a Yin to our Yang, the peanut butter to our jelly, the Shavasana to our Vinyasa. We have been a little obsessed with her for a while (we as in Ripple's designer, Adva), and were adamant to collaborate with her when the Japan plans started forming.
Alexa is an international model that has lived in Tokyo for 6 years, and now spends her time between Japan and Hawaii. As a foreigner living in Tokyo, she has a special take on the city, and absolutely loves it, so it was a perfect plan for all of us to photoshoot in her favorite city locations, starting with Tokyo Plaza rooftop.
The rooftop is a quiet and calm spot within the hectic city, and was a perfect place to start our day and get to know Alexa.
She is an extremely busy model living in an extremely busy city, and has picked up yoga to balance out her lifestyle, and recently completed a yoga teacher's training.
From the rooftop we could see all of Harajuku, one of Tokyo's most vibrant neighborhoods, considered to be a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Naturally, that became our next photoshoot location, where we followed Alexa and took pictures of her doing her thing, being herself, and bringing a special beauty to an already unique and beautiful location.
We're going to let these pictures speak for themselves... Enjoy!