Learning from Homes on the Other Side of the World
Part of what I love about Japan is that they have such an intense connection with their history. They share a proud heritage, and plenty of traditions related to everything from clothing, to tea time, and to the materials with which they build their homes. It is immersive, and inspiring and I'm surprised more Americans don't keep a Japanese household! The ritual and intentionality that is so common over there, is sadly very underrated here in the States. In fact, the day we got back, we drove past a nasty bag of garbage lying, ripped open on the road and I just looked at my husband and sighed. When an entire country values cleanliness and routine, the entire country becomes clean and orderly. I don't mean to insult America. I really don't. I love this place with all of my heart, and as much as I love to travel, there's really no place like home. HOWEVER, I think we have a little bit of slowing down to do. The big wide world out there is hectic and it's moving so quickly. You can choose to get swept up with it or you can move slowly, respectfully and take the time to experience life fully.
A lot of these amazing lifestyle traditions can be clearly seen in Japanese homes. Obviously, they are abundantly clear in traditional Japanese architecture and interiors, but traces can still be found even in the more modern styles. Many of the design tendencies are natural companions to a simpler lifestyle. Japanese homes tend to have a strong connection with nature and an intentional design with little to no wasted space. The design is often minimal and neutral, evoking a peaceful sense of beauty that just feels right. Y'know what I mean?? That just sounds dreamy to me. Each design element can and should have a purpose, and from there, everything will just fall into place much more easily! Japanese design utilizes a lot of lighter colors, with plenty of linear elements. And LOTS of natural wood.
If, like me, you like what you see and feel like embracing the Japanese aesthetic, start small. Start by thinking more critically about the things you bring into your home. It's as much of a lifestyle as it is a design technique. Try incorporating more natural wood and neutral textiles, and just get rid of some clutter! You'll be pleasantly surprised how much you DON'T miss it.