At Home with Venetia in Kyoto

From the first time I see her in NHK channel I know that she’ll be a good friend of mine, and I’m quite right about it. Yes, it’s her: Venetia Stainley Smith from ‘At Home with Venetia in Kyoto program.

She is brewing spearmint

If you are one of my close friends, I’m sure that you know this person. Venetia is a British lady who moved to Japan 38 years ago. She appears publicly as herself in one of my favorite programs in NKH titled ‘At Home with Venetia in Kyoto’. The series mainly discussed about Venetia’s eco friendly way of life. She is now around 60 years old, a grandma with 2 grandchildren. It’s really funny to think of a weird connection between us-a real country girl (which is me) who lives here in Indonesia and a granny who lives faaaar away in Japan. Venetia and I haven’t met each other yet though, but we have one similarity that ‘connects’ us right away: T.A.S.T.E.
I don’t know if you ever find someone who really matches you in every ways, or have some similar thoughts with you, let’s say that both of you have similar TASTE. *It’s hard for me to find right word to describe it, well, just use it anyway*

You may ask to me: ‘What kind of taste?'

Well, Venetia lives in Ohara, a countryside located in Kyoto, Japan. Japan is my favorite country; all of the things about Japan are always interesting and never break me out so far, so it’s a good point that we both love this country. She lives in a beautiful farmhouse surrounded by nature of Ohara. Countryside, nature, and farmhouse are keywords that promising someone a serene life. I love indulging myself with nature and living in countryside in an old unique farmhouse sounds great for me. Whoa.. I am getting excited!
Venetia's beautiful house
Venetia loves gardening. She has a little garden around her farm house. It’s about 132 m2. She never misses every little part of her house to be a ‘home’ for her plants. Her favorites are herbs and flowers. She plants over 300 kinds of plants in her garden! Wow. No wonder she tags every plant with a piece of board containing name of the plants. ‘You might forget later’, said Venetia.  For her, herbs are best friend in life. It’s not only maintain her health but also very natural and useful in her daily life. She promises to herself not to use any chemicals in her house to preserve the beauty of Ohara’s nature, so she uses herbs instead. This great idea attracts guests to come. The guests are not only human, but also tiny little creatures such as frog, birds, and insects. Interesting huh? It seems that those animals are able to tell that Venetia’s garden is free from chemicals.

Most of the tools and households in her house are handmade. Venetia and her husband create their own things. They rebuilt the house 13 years ago when they first came to Ohara. Some of her household are antiques (I guess they were bought from antique market in Tokyo) from England and from Japan, reflecting two different cultures of Venetia and her husband Takuji. The thing that really amazed me is that some furniture and dishes from both cultures go quite well together and even they complement each other. I adore Venetia more because she creates many things from herbs in her garden. So far, she does all of these:
1.       She makes wash up liquid from rosemary to wash dishes. She also makes shampoo, tea and remedies from this herb.
eco-friendly soap
2.       She preserves old things in her house by polishing them using handmade lavender beeswax polish. Beeswax polish is made of bees wax (of course;) ), linseed oil, dried lavender, lavender water, and lavender essential oil. It gives a whole room a lovely lavender scent ;)
3.       She makes some herbal teas. Rosehip and hibiscus tea, fresh spearmint tea, lemon tea (lemon balm, lemon verbena and lemon grass). They look refreshing and also good for health.
4.       She cooks some delicious foods, beverages and snacks: smoked salmon and fennel omelet, rosemary chicken, Perila juice, watercress soup, Mediteranian summer salad, salmon bras with fennel, and many others.
5.       She makes some natural insect repellents, lavender vinegar for washing dishes, some natural fertilizers, and some dried herbs for foot bathing ;)
Another Venetia’s good point is she loves sharing inspiration to others through her programs. Gardening, using NO harmful chemical in daily life, recycling and preserving things, taking a nice bath foot with her grandchildren, visiting friends, cooking delicious foods, hiking with her husband, and writing diary are the things she does. All of them captivate people’s heart, including me. No wonder that in her 60 something years old; she looks very happy and blessed. Even, it make her 10 years old younger. It’s kinda reflection of Venetia’s beautiful heart. She loves nature and does her best to preserve it, as reflected in one of her gardening diaries:
How we live our life is an art form in itself. I love going to antique markets and secondhand stores to see if I can find and save an old Japanese treasure. The old traditional country’s crafts in Japan are filled with beauty. They were made from natural fibers and materials. We can still feel the warm hearts of the craftsmen who are carefully made these things. The old woven basket, wooden bequest, and the many other things that we want use every day in the Japanese homes. These old things can be given a new life if we can think a new way to reuse them. Finally, they can return to the earth. Old things are very cool.
I agree with your thought, Venetia ;)
I really want to meet her, once in a life time. Having little chit chat with her-talking about gardening and everything, shopping and bargaining at the local and antique market, taking a trip around the village, cooking salmon omelets together, drawing some pictures in the beautiful mustard field, or simply enjoy her rosehip tea, I will never mind at all. I have been waiting the moment to meet her. But…
Japan is in deep sorrow. It seems that all people in the world are praying for Japan, and so do I. Once I heard about the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan I thought about Venetia and her family. Are they alright?. O Allah, please send me to Japan. I want to meet her somehow….

Venetia thinks that beauty is about loving the earth by taking good of things, planting useful plants, and appreciating friend’s works. What do you think? What beauty means to you?
Share your beautiful thoughts dear ;)

first picture:


  1. This is such a wonderful post, I loved reading about this amazing woman. :)

    The Cat Hag

  2. the cat hag, love to hear someone love this lady too, because she soul sister :)

    thanks a lot for leaing a sweet comment here in my blog. I'll visit your blog

  3. I would love to find the music at the beginning of her At home programme. I've tried Mini Kawakama but it's not there. Can anyone help?

  4. Im the one who curious abut it, hehehe, too bad, I haven't tried to find it yet. thanks for dropping by

  5. odessa ates villarealOctober 19, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    i love her way of life in ohara, simple and surrounded with nature's beauty. her show on nhk is my favorite! i hope to download all of her previous episodes! i hope as well that in my own little ways i can make mother nature happy. thanks venetia for the inspiration!thanks as well Ms. Rana for sharing this with us!
    God Bless and take care!
    odessa ates-villareal

  6. odessa ates villareal,

    wow, Philippines, we're kinda neighbor hehehe.

    I'm so thrilled we have common interest about nature, herbs, and Venetia. I downloaded most of her videos but recently the rests can't be downloaded. so sad :(.

    I have a good news for you. Next summer Japan Government is going to release 10.000 free ticket to Japan. the online application will be open next April.

    can't wait to visit Japan. will you join me? :D

  7. Hi I love watching her shows, but couldn't understand japanese version, can anyone please let me know if I can find DVD with english subtitle ?

  8. @Anonymous, simply watch her show in NHK every Tuesday :) they provide English translation

  9. Hello, thank you for this beautiful post. I too love Venetia's way of life and try to emulate as much of her recipes and thoughts into my daily life as well.

    I wanted to d/l most of her eps on youtube, but somehow the person uploading is no where to be found on yt anymore :( And I missed this week's ep already as NHK changed schedule of airing for the European time zone *rolls eyes*.

    Anyway, I hope you continue to love Venetia and her way of living as much as you do right now. Let's live this moment and try to create something beautiful out of the inspiration that is Venetia.

  10. I watched Venetia make ginger tea on a program while I was in Laos. It not only looked nourishing but I'm sure it must have tasted fantastic. Has anyone got the recipe for her ginger tea - I was so enthralled with her that I forgot to write down her ginger tea recipe.

  11. @Una, thanks for your beautiful comment too. I will post more stories about her, I promise :)

    I have some of her videos. Wanna some? :p

    @Jill, so sorry Jill, I couldn't find the recipe. I missed that part :'(

    But I have other tea recipes. They look nourishing yet refreshing too. I will post them later. Thanks :)

    1. Are her videos available to buy ? I adore her, so. This blog is the closest I have come to read about her. They do not play her show enough on TV. Thanks !

    2. Well, I don't know about that, sorry :( I am curious too. About her show, lucky me, I still enjoy her show every Tuesday in NHK world tv. They play 2012 videos though.

  12. Being same age as Venetia, I enjoy seeing her program every Saturday in Los Angeles, USA. You have many "soul sisters" here, Rana!

  13. @Katheleen.

    Hi soul sister :)

    Wow It's really a good news that many people love Venetia too. I watch her program every Tuesday here in Indonesia. Thanks for dropping by, Kathleen :D. Los Angeles..that is far away. I hope someday I can visit your country ;)

  14. One more Los Angeleno who ADORES Venetia writing to thank you for your very well written piece on her. I watch her almost every Saturday and it makes me feel so good, calm and hopeful for this crazy world! It is so good to have other friends of Venetia out there.

  15. @'Los Angeleno', Hi fella :D

    I don't know what Los Angeleno is but I guess it must be Soul Sister. Am I right? :D

    I am the one who feel very happy that my little admiration towards her receives a lot of appreciation from her fans.

    Indeed it makes you calm. The Narration, music background, diary, photographs are just perfect.

    thanks for leaving a super sweet comment. definitely one of my mood booster today :)

  16. hi my dear mother can i call u like tis:):) i love u so much...i m living in a small village in tamilnadu,india..
    I wondered how u make tis beatiful things u r really helping people to know about nature and herbs:):)I tried many ways to contact u, at last i find tis site..plz reply to my mail i m waiting for u since i tried to contact u many years mail ID is ( hope u reply to me..take care:):)

  17. @Kalai

    dear kalai, I'm sorry, I'm not Venetia, I am only her fans. Nice to meet you anyway

  18. I have been watching Venetia's program for about two years now. I seem to have alot in common with Venetia, like gardening, old farm houses, making your own stuff out of herbs and flowers and cooking lovely, tasty food. I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. I watch NHK World alot for world news. We do not get much international news in America. I would like to get some of her recipies. Best, Marlene

  19. Hi, saya juga menyukai acara ini, jangan lupa hari ini ada acara tsb di NHK.

  20. @Marlene, nice to meet you Marlene :D. I'd like to share some of the recipes for all venetia's lovers :)

    @Hardinal, oh ya...thanks for the reminder

  21. I too would love to find the music at the beginning - the early ones. Help anyone?

  22. I too am a fan of Venetia and love to live a nature-friendly life , in fact, I try my level best to do so, not only for myself, but also for my family. Since I'm a profesor (in Botany) in a university, I make room in my lectures to include some of the values that supports one to lead such an eco-life. Also I realize the spiritual aspect of such lives.


  23. @Profesor Amara

    it such an honor for me to have a new friend in term of nature-friendly life like you :)

    keep on doing your best in your lecturers, your experiments, and your researches.

    best regards from Indonesia ;)

  24. hazel - I live in California (USA). I watch Venetia's program on a public broadcasting network whenever it is on. I'm amazed with how she has embraced the culture of Japan. I feel such serenity when I watch her program.

    1. I live in California, too. I adore Venetia ! Serenity, is the perfect word for her world. I only dream of finding DVD's of her show to buy~~~

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    1. thanks a lot :) if only I could visit your blog

  28. saya sangat menyukai acara ini...kehidupannya yang menyatu dengan alam, dan kebersahajaannya menghipnotis saya, bahkan walaupun saya sudah melihat berulang ulang, saya tak pernah bosan.article anda sangat indah

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  30. I cannot believe I found all these fans of Venitia. I loved reading all the blogs. I cannot find the times when Venetia is on PBS in the USA. Very frustrating. But I have found a lot of soul sisters, very happy.
    Irene of California

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  33. WOW! How wonderful to read about others around this earth enjoying Venetia! It used to be every Tuesday morning had wonderful beginning because Matsuko & I would watch Venetia as we drank our coffee & carrot juice and woke it is only every other sad and flat that Tuesday without Venetia.
    BIG NEWS: we hear that Venetia is making a MOVIE! Can anyone give us details? What movie is she making? When will it be out?
    Hmmm thinking about empathetic woman in Indonesia DREAMS of visiting Ohara: we too want to get on a plane and go knock on Venetia's, you standside and say (sorry I don't know correct romanji: HIGH-IT-TA-MO-E-DESK-KA?

  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  35. Any chance you have the recipe for Venetia's washing up liquid? I missed it on the show..

  36. Hi there :)

    Here's Venetia's waship up liquid recipe: simply mix rosemary tea and powdered soap, then keep in a bottle. Now you have your own washing up up liquid~

  37. Hi ! I adore Venetia ! I want to know if there are dvd's to buy of her show. This is a beautiful blog. Enjoyed it, very much ! Thanks for any help you can give me~~~

    1. Thank you very much dear Leatrice :) I also enjoy her show as much as you do. About the DVD, I am really sorry I can't provide information about that :"(

  38. Where can I get a copy of the theme song from Venetia's show? What's the title anyway?

  39. Hi, I'm Gabriele from Italy. I and my family, including our rabbit and cat really love to see this program togheter. Our favorite episode is 'A field restaurant', we in fact have a little garden where we produce our vegetables, and we are really interested in programs and books about plants. We watch NHK channel more than italian tv :)

  40. Hello, I live in North Carolina. I watch Venetia on NHK World on my TV. I love, love everything about her show. I am trying to make the Rosemary soap cleaner. Also I want to try some of her other ideas. I love her home and her garden's. I am a big fan.Please confirm that she is well and doing fine. Thank you.

    1. Same here, just found the show today and love it!! In CA


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