By Andy Couturier
Raised within the tumult of Japan’s business powerhouse, the 11 women and men profiled during this publication have all made the transition to sustainable, pleasurable lives. they're this present day artists, philosophers, and farmers who live deep within the mountains of rural Japan. Their lives could be basic, but they're surrounded via the luxuries of nature, artwork, contemplation, scrumptious meals, and an abundance of time. For example:
Atsuko Watanabe is an environmentalist and home-schooler who explores Christian mysticism whereas elevating her daughters in an previous farmhouse Akira Ito is an ex–petroleum engineer who has turn into a painter and children’s booklet illustrator and explores the position of chi (life power) within the universe via paintings and song Kogan Murata grows rice and crafts stylish bamboo flutes that he performs for alms within the surrounding villages Jinko Kaneko is an excellent artist and upholstery dyer who runs a Himalayan-style curry eating place within the Japan Alps by way of featuring the trips of those ordinary—yet exceptional—people, Andy Couturier indicates how we can also shuttle a significant direction of dwelling easily, with recognize for our groups and our average assets. after we go away at the back of the great burdens of salary hard work, debt, rigidity, and day-by-day busyness, we develop wealthy in a complete new means. those eastern are pioneers in a feeling; drawing on conventional jap non secular knowledge, they've got solid a brand new sort of modernity, and of their good fortune is a lesson for us all: stay a existence that concerns.
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Additional info for A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance
Those left behind faced a more restricted and limited world than they had known before, and their ﬁeld of vision narrowed as samurai, artisans, and merchants departed. But this new world was one in which the farmers themselves would have a greater say in village affairs. 26 Village administrative autonomy was a pillar of the Tokugawa shogunate’s and its vassal daimyo domains’ political organization. Consequently, the village leadership class had to shoulder new responsibilities. It is on account of administrative requirements imposed from the top down that the spread of literacy in Tokugawa villages began.
A kyo¯gen or comic drama of the early seventeenth century, titled Hara tatezu (Just call me patience), portrays farmers trying to persuade an itinerant priest to remain at their village as a writing teacher: 72 VILLAGERS: Can you write? PRIEST: I can’t really write well. My letters look like worm trails or sparrow tracks. That’s about it. VILLAGERS: You’re much too modest. We want you to be a writing teacher for our small children. PRIEST: A writing teacher for little kids, you say? That’s right up my alley!
In the early Tokugawa era, the population surveys and the religious investigation registers were prepared separately. From the middle of the period, however, census ﬁgures were absorbed into the temple registers, and the two documents came to be known together as shu¯mon ninbetsu aratame-cho¯. Compiled throughout the country every spring, they listed for each household the name of its head, its members (specifying their ages and relation to the head), its kokudaka, and even the number of the horses and cattle owned by it.