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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Want to live off the grid? Look to traditional cultures.

Woodcutting chisel with illustration of
how to make a forge for iron (I saw many of these in India just 3 years ago)
drawing by Osamu Nakamura (chapter 2) 
One of the things I admire so much about the people I profiled in the book is how they looked to Nepal and India and traditional Japan to learn, to re-learn, to reskill themselves, about ways to accomplish basic necessities.  If we won't have petroleum forever, or if it is killing the other animals, which it is, and if reducing all actions to the action of one finger pushing a button diminishes our humanity, we don't have to reinvent the wheel.  We can go to traditional cultures and learn from their ways.  The people in the book did this by drawing what they saw.  It's not the same as taking a photo.  Forcing yourself to draw shows you where you are not paying attention.  It teaches you how to make it yourself.
Left side, a water-powered wheat grinding wheel, drawing
by Osamu Nakamura (chapter 2)

Butter churns sketches by Gufu Watanabe (chapter 8)

Carrying bundles of handmade paper woodcut by Akira Ito (chapter 6) 

Akira Ito working a wooden tea press that he had built.

Nepali rocket stove from Kathmandu, by Gufu Watanabe

Paper making tools.  Drawing by Akira Ito.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I wish that you had another book filled with all of these examples. Please post your home with Cynthia, and the hydro power you are using. I would like to learn how you two are doing with your space.