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.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Lone Wolf Parable: New Years Greeting from Ito-san

Here is a New Year's greeting I received from Akria Ito some years ago, and I offer it to you all, with Ito's beautiful illustration.   He wrote it from his home in the woods in the deep mountains near Mt. Fuji.  The other clue to this parable is that it was sent to me as Ito himself felt his years on Earth coming towards their end.

One hundred and fifty years ago there were many wolves in these mountains, as well as wild boars and pheasants.  Then in the Meiji period humans started to enter these parts and began to cut trees for sale.  The wild mountain wolves were reduced in numbers.  Finally there was only one left, and he began to get old.   One day he caught a pheasant and brought it high up to a rock to eat.  He sat on this big rock, and while gazing out on Mt. Fuji he chomped away on this bird, then, losing touch with all thought, he entered into a trance of ecstasy, and his soul departed his body, which was then changed into a rock.
Lone Wolf and Mt. Fuji
by Akira Ito
 The villagers later renamed this stone 'The Rock of the Huge Wolf," and occasionally they would journey up to this stone and made offerings of pheasant to it, and prayed for the soul of this great wolf. 
Read more about Akira Ito and his life in Chapter 6 of A Different Kind of Luxury. 

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