I’ll be interviewing sometimes local author Andy Courtier on his newly published Book A Different Kind of Luxury. The book contains the stories of eleven colorful representatives of Japan’s back-to-the-land movement. Japan is a country as fast-paced and materialist as any, and the people in the book and others like them face enormous cultural pressures to conform, but nevertheless maintain the good life as they see it. Andy Courtier spends most of his time in the Bay Area or traveling, but as a home base he and his partner Cynthia own rural property just across the Trinity border. Many of you probably know them.
Author and photographer Andy Couturier will discuss his book of profiles of people living simple, sustainable, extraordinary lives in rural Japan. A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance, just published by Berkeley-based Stone Bridge Press, lets readers feel the flavor and texture of the lives of a number of fascinating artists, philosophers and farmers who’ve chosen lives of reduced consumption and increased satisfaction. Although raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, each of the men and women profiled have made the transition to a slower, more deeply satisfying lives with plenty of time for contemplation and a deeper connection with the natural world.
* Jinko Kaneko is a fine artist and fabric dyer who runs a Himalayan-style curry restaurant in the Japan Alps
By presenting the journeys of these ordinary-yet exceptional-people, Andy Couturier shows how we, too, can travel a meaningful path of living simply, with respect for our communities and our natural resources. When we leave behind the tremendous burdens of wage labor, debt, stress, and daily busy-ness, we grow rich in a whole new way. These Japanese are pioneers in a sense; drawing on traditional Eastern spiritual wisdom they have forged a new style of modernity, and in their success is a lesson for us all: live a life that matters.
Show time is 7:00 p.m., this Thursday evening on KMUD. Call-ins are welcome. I intend to focus on comparison and contrast between the people in his book and many of those who came to Humboldt to simplify and focus. The central question: what is the “good life” and how does one attain it?
For consideration of the theme, read this old guest post: Sohum and Ecological Roots.