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Talk at the Royal Geographical Society-Singapore: McMorran on Hospitality and Home in Japan

Please join Chris for a special event at the Royal Geographical Society-Singapore on 14 January, 2021, titled “Last Resort: Behind the Scenes at a Japanese Inn”.

What does it take to produce one of Japan’s most relaxing spaces: the traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan? In this talk Chris McMorran reveals ryokan work through both space and time. He distinguishes the exterior work of men (landscaping, business meetings) from the interior work of women. This includes the everyday tasks of cleaning, serving, and making guests feel at home, plus the generational work of producing and training a suitable heir who can carry on the family business. In this talk he will share vignettes from a year in the life of a ryokan, based on intensive fieldwork during which he welcomed guests, carried luggage, scrubbed baths, folded towels, cleaned rooms, laid out bedding, and washed dishes, all while talking with ryokan owners and the small army of non-family employees about their jobs, relationships, concerns, and aspirations. If you have ever stayed in a ryokan, experienced Japanese hospitality of any kind, or been curious about life behind the scenes in a small family-run business in Japan, please join.

Date: 14th January 2021
Time: 7:30PM (GMT +8)
Platform: Zoom

For information and to register, please visit

Additional Links about the Royal Geographical Society-Singapore:


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