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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Your book provided the last little kick in the butt I needed to sell my house and move into the hills.

Asha Amemiya (chapter 5) with her daughters at rice harvest.

There are many ways to radically simplify your life. It really DOES result in deeper fulfillment. Rita from Arkansas wrote to me:
Andy - I heard about your book from a commenter on Nature Bats Last. Yesterday I posted a comment there recommending the book again. 

I live in Arkansas - in a little cottage in the historic part of Fayetteville, with a permaculture garden where the lawn once was. I liked the idea of using wood ashes in place of dish soap. I hand wash everything and have no appliances or air conditioning/furnace. I heat and cook with wood or a camp stove. My electric bill is under $20 year-round. But your book provided the last little kick in the butt I needed to sell my house and move into the hills. I am not yet certain which hills those will be. I am 64 with four grown daughters. I live like a Zen monk in many ways, though I spend more time reading and writing than meditating.

 Fukushima is even more grievous to me now. I can only imagine the anger and despair for all who are tied to that land.

My friend Steev wrote me after reading this blog post in which I wrote that he "spent 3 years living in the forest behind a university campus, and snuck into the woods late at night, living under a tarp in the rain or the cold, and now he can live within any means at all."
Steev Odell, of Rabbit's Moon Tea Arts
Thank you Andy. That was very beautiful article. A few corrections, just so as not to romanticize my suffering too much. I didn't live under a tarp for three years. I lived in a very well built yurt structure made from wire, twine and large 12-feet-tall redwood branches that I reverse engineered from a friend's shelter I took down and rebuilt it exactly as was 100 yards away. It was cross-hatched and very complicated and when I took it down after three years I thought to myself, "How did I ever do this?"

 It was very well maintained and had enough space for me to have a futon bed on top of crates on top of plywood on top of four sheets of foam so the futon was extra comfy. Like, deeply comfortable. I would get excited going home because I knew I had a extremely comfy bed in the forest. I also had five blankets. It was warm even in the winter.

 The roof was actually thick clear plastic sheets, it was malleable like a tarp would be but far more durable and long lasting. I had to tend to it in the rain, like one would a ship in a storm at sea, to make sure none of the riggings loosed themselves, but it was an integrity that I am still astounded by to this day.

 Not much suffering at all. And especially, just for clarity on the subject of living situation. Not just a trap in the rain. Lots of people did that.  I had a curiosity cabinet, a tea area, two book shelves, all within this little yurt.

 Wish you could have seen it.
Simplifying your life does NOT mean deprivation.  The rich life of the Oizumi family.  I wrote about them in Chapter one.

No comments:

Post a Comment