Japanese Living: The Minimal Lifestyle

By Jade Ellis


“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” – Jackie French Koller.


Marie Kondo’s ‘Japanese living’

The Japanese philosophy of life has recently been gaining momentum. Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising, is an international bestseller. Marie Kondo has become so popular is Japan for her services, she has waiting lists that are months long, and has actually temporarily stopped accepting clients. Kondo’s method is supposed to be rapid, dramatic and transformative which is a one-time event completed methodically in no more than six months. The method is not supposed to be ongoing battle against clutter, but a one-time transformative event. If you touch something which doesn’t ‘spark joy’ then it is thanked and sent elsewhere. Kondo see’s tidying is seen as a ‘cheerful conversation.’


What is having a ‘Minimal life?’

Minimalism is something which has gained momentum and has a large following. It is now seen as a way of life. Two friends, The Minimalists have now become extremely popular for adopting their minimalist way of life. Joshua and Ryan, had everything that was supposed to make them happy: great jobs, luxury cars, oversized houses. Yet, with having all of this stuff, they realised there was a gaping void, and working 70-80 hour weeks just to buy more stuff that didn’t fill this void. They began to take back control with the principles of minimalism. They left their corporate careers, and began to live a minimal life.


Collect moments, not things…

Within the minimalist lifestyle, you do not focus on having less, but rather making room for more. More time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom. It is believed that by clearing the clutter from life’s path has helped them make that room. The massive popularity of The Minimalists documentary and Marie Kondo’s book seems to be very important to people, and perhaps suggest that having less is actually more and this can make you happier and more fulfilled. Marie Kondo’s book is just one of the Japanese philosophies that encourage a healthier way of living. There are many more, including the Japanese diets, hygiene, attitudes, and forms of relaxation and exercise.


The Japanese Diet

The Japanese diet is looked upon by many different countries, and is seen to be one of the healthiest diets due to the large amounts of seaweed, fermented vegetables, seafood and green tea. The fermented foods are partially broken down during the fermentation process and they promote better immune system function. Seaweed has a number of health benefits, and is packed with protein and potassium. There has been a huge popularity in Algae superfoods, such as Spirulina and Chlorella, which have huge consumption rates in Japan. If you choose the animal based fatty acids, as opposed to the vegetarian sources (Flaxseed, Chia seeds and Hemp seeds) Seafood is full of Omega fatty acids, which prevent inflammation and are great for brain function and overall health. After eating a meal in Japan, it is often finished with Green tea. This is a great part of any diet and has been proven to boost brain health, and prevent a number of medical conditions.


How important is Hygiene?

Hygiene in Japan is an extremely important part of life and is not only encouraged but is expected. Baths are a common tradition in Japan, and the bathing experience is incredible. Japan is full of hot springs and public bath houses and the majority of people finish each day with a bath. Hot springs in Japan are rich in minerals and soaking in these springs can help relieve certain medical conditions such as joint inflammation. It is a well-known fact that the elderly people in Japan are extremely active and have longer lives. Japan is also one of the first countries to use bidet toilet seats and modern sanitation techniques, which are found in homes and public facilities. The water is seen to reduce problems with infection and irritation and provide a cleansing experience.


Exercise, regular medical check-ups and your outlook on life…

There are many well-known benefits of regular exercise and not living a sedentary lifestyle. This is well practiced in Japan. Biking and walking to work is the main method of transportation. Due to the Japanese people being so active, this helps prevent diseases and medical problems seen in large numbers in the western world. Medical check-ups in Japan are annual and very regular. This is important due to certain problems being detected early and resolved before it gets more serious. Adopting a positive outlook makes a huge difference. This can help lower stress levels in daily life, which means better health and a longer life. In Japan karaoke is extremely popular. People generally take themselves less seriously. Your outlook can really make a huge difference to your day!


Natural beauty remedies: Camellia oil

In Japan, Camellia Japonica, is one of Japan’s most famous flowering trees, known as tsubaki in Japanese. This plant is a small tree commonly seen throughout warmer regions of the Japanese archipelago. This was used as a multipurpose oil, serving as a food, hair, skin, and even a machine oil. This oil has been the focus of several rituals and beliefs, as well as being an important source of raw materials, most notably Camellia oil. Traditionally in Japan, this plant was planted on the grave of a departed loved one. In more recent times the oil is used in beauty and hair care, for moisturising the skin and nourishing the hair. Camellia oil contains vitamins and nutrients which are antioxidants that protect against the damaging environmental effects of UV rays and free radicals. It offers benefits such as smoothing and softening the hair. At Fushi we have used Camellia oil as a main ingredient in our new shampoo and conditioners as we know the amazing benefit this plant brings to the hair. Fushi’s Camellia Organic Virgin oil is fresh, cold pressed and is of the highest quality to hydrate and protect your skin.