A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance

By Andy Couturier

Raised within the tumult of Japan’s business powerhouse, the 11 women and men profiled during this booklet have all made the transition to sustainable, gratifying lives. they're at the present time artists, philosophers, and farmers who live deep within the mountains of rural Japan. Their lives can be easy, but they're surrounded by way of the luxuries of nature, paintings, contemplation, scrumptious foodstuff, and an abundance of time. For example:

  • Atsuko Watanabe is an environmentalist and home-schooler who explores Christian mysticism whereas elevating her daughters in an outdated farmhouse
  • Akira Ito is an ex–petroleum engineer who has turn into a painter and children’s e-book illustrator and explores the function of chi (life strength) within the universe via artwork and music
  • Kogan Murata grows rice and crafts dependent bamboo flutes that he performs for alms within the surrounding villages
  • Jinko Kaneko is an exceptional artist and upholstery dyer who runs a Himalayan-style curry eating place within the Japan Alps

By proposing the trips of those ordinary—yet exceptional—people, Andy Couturier indicates how we can also trip a significant course of residing easily, with recognize for our groups and our average assets. once we depart at the back of the super burdens of salary hard work, debt, pressure, and day-by-day busyness, we develop wealthy in a complete new approach. those eastern are pioneers in a feeling; drawing on conventional japanese non secular knowledge, they've got solid a brand new form of modernity, and of their good fortune is a lesson for us all: dwell a lifestyles that matters.

Andy Couturier is an essayist, poet, and writing instructor. He lived in Japan for 4 years the place he taught, was once a journalist, and labored on environmental motives. He lives within the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Murata then tells me that when greater than a decade of going backward and forward to India, issues started to switch for him inside of. “At first, i presumed i'd just preserve touring, all of the approach until the top. yet then,” he says, guffawing at himself, “I received bored with it. I simply received drained. It used to be enjoyable, in fact, hiking within the Himalayas, completely so. yet over the past years in India i began to imagine, ‘If I proceed doing this, what's there for me? ’ you recognize what I suggest? Repeating the very same factor, many times. and that i started to suspect,” he provides with a contemplative tone, “that possibly there wasn’t something. ” And that’s the purpose the place all of it replaced for me. additionally, at in regards to the similar time, i began asking myself, ‘What is crucial factor? ’ and that i got here to the reply, ‘Eating. ’” Then, as many folks do, Murata began to examine all of the chemical substances used becoming our nutrients. “I proposal, ‘Shouldn’t I develop it myself? ’” He had additionally continually dreamed of dwelling within the mountains. “It’s truly an historic eastern excellent. in class all of us examine those recognized humans within the chinese language and jap classics: burst off to the mountains and dwell on your own in a hut like a hermit; spend your day making a song and analyzing poems. All jap humans have this longing. It comes initially from Lao Tsu. ” Then he provides together with his regular aptitude, “Hiding! each person yearns for this. ” “So,” I ask him, “You desired to be one of many literati? ” “There’s all types of types: you may be a farmer, or do pottery, or be a woodcutter, or a painter. ” He dons a wood donation field that reads, “Without life, with out Extinction. ” I photo Murata as a bit boy, donning his rules uniform, sitting at his schoolboy table in conservative, economically aspiring, early Nineteen Sixties Japan analyzing approximately such poet hermits in a few digest-version textbook licensed via the Ministry of schooling meant to provide youngsters a number of simple proof approximately their nation’s cultural historical past. yet Murata stops on one specific sentence, written through anyone 8 hundred years in the past, “escaping the dirt of the world,” and appears up on the ceiling, dreaming. I think of the magic of phrases coming off a web page from one other century and encouraging an exact lifestyles at once. after which i believe, against this, of occasions whilst I’ve stumbled on myself on a crowded teach in Tokyo or Osaka on my technique to interview one of many humans during this e-book. I have in mind taking a look at the businessmen throughout me, their fits and ties ideal, yet exhaustion putting over their faces, pallid and overdrawn like a checking account, and that i wonder whether, like Murata says, in addition they dream this dream. This perfect Murata speaks approximately, I point out to him now, is particularly just like that of old India, the place the texts discuss backing out into contemplation because the fourth and final level of lifestyles. “Yes,” Murata says, “for once you end your operating lifestyles, on your fifties or sixties . . . ” “But you desired to do it quicker? ” I ask. giggling he says, “Yes! ” after which he provides, solemn as though he’s quoting whatever, “Whatever you are able to do, it’s top to do it quickly.

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