Minimalist Like the Japanese

I recently published an article about my experiences in Japan. One thing that stood out to me was the culture’s emphasis on minimalism. Part of it probably comes from the lack of space. Japan is an island with a few major cities, and as such people crowd into small apartments the size of shoeboxes in the US. That forces them to be selective with what they own and keep in the home. You can’t really hoard much without quickly being unable to get around.

The other inspiration for their minimalism is their culture’s appreciation of subdued elegance, a leftover from Zen Buddhism. It preaches harmony of yourself with your surroundings, inner peace, and beauty in emptiness (and by extension, empty spaces). It’s definitely an appealing (and cheap) way of interior design your home.

Still, there are some Japanese who take this to an extreme. Some hardcore minimalists have less in their house than some jail cells. You may need to find the best balance that works for you.

Luckily, with the advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to digitize our possessions and have instant access to them from a mobile device anywhere in the world.


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