The Zen Diary

  • The Zen Diary Event Image


    Friday, April 7, 2023
    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


    Freer Gallery of Art
    Meyer Auditorium


After the screening, pick up a free sample of Zen cuisine ingredients to prepare at home. 

Watch the trailer

Advance tickets are now sold out. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

Based on an essay by Tsutomu Mizukami, director Yuji Nakae presents a modest film of gratitude and Zen revolving around the art of simple cooking. Former Zen monk Tsutomu (Kenji Sawada) lives alone in the mountains, writing essays and cooking food with vegetables he grows and shoots, sprouts, and mushrooms he picks in the hills. His routine is happily disturbed when Machiko, his editor/love interest, occasionally visits. She loves to eat, and he loves to cook for her. Tsutomu seems content with his daily life, but on the other hand, he still hasn’t let go of his wife’s ashes, though she died thirteen years ago. When Tsutomu’s mother-in-law suddenly passes, it sets in motion a review of life and its meaning. Depicting the changing seasons in beautiful mountainous rural Japan, The Zen Diary features rich cuisine made from seasonal produce in the style of Zen cooking, inspiring many of the meals that are foundational to Japanese cooking. Description adapted from the Hawai’i International Film Festival. After the film, watch a demonstration of the formal Zen food serving practice, Oryoki, by members of the All Beings Zen Sangha, and pick up a free package of ingredients and instructions for preparing your own Zen meal at home. (Dir.: Yuji Nakae, Japan, 2022, 111 min., DCP, Japanese with English subtitles)