Raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, the 11 men and women profiled in A Different Kind of Luxury have all made the transition to sustainable, fulfilling lives. Based on Andy Couturier's popular articles in The Japan Times, this lushly designed volume has a wealth of stories about real people who have created an abundance of time for contemplation, connecting with the natural world, and contributing to their communities. In their success is a lesson for us all: live a life that matters. Read an excerpt of the book here or here. Read a review of the book here, here, or here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another piece of the puzzle

I’m traveling now through an extraordinary landscape, one much like the mountains of Nepal (although I’m in India, in Himachal Pradesh, just West of Nepal).  These “foothills” of the Himalaya have 4 or 5 or 6 thousand feet valleys.  It’s nothing like the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada: the cleft and drop of these mountains are indescribable.  But the thing that struck me most was the similarity between the “feel” of the traditional farm houses and the way some people in A Different Kind of Luxury have chosen to live, especially Nakamura-san, in Chapter 2.   Now perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me because many of them lived in the Himalayas for years before returning to live their lives in Japan, but I suddenly got  it: how living amongst these quiet and contemplative people, and seeing their way of meeting their needs directly with their own hands (which of course is economics) could give the people I profiled in my book a palpable, practical experience of a different way to live.  The neatly stacked firewood, the well kept gardens, the slower pace, and the villagers’ way of keeping a house materially practically inspired Nakamura-san, and, looking at all of it, I got the other end of the equation.

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