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Slow Life
February 27, 2006 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Slow Life is a Japanese movement that eschews the fast-paced consumption of modern urban life for the slower pace of farming and small villages. It emphasizes self-reliance, sustainability, and the appreciation of leisure. From some perspectives, it can be seen as a reaction to hazards in the modern world or as a peer to Shinto and modern schools of thought.
posted by mikeh (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I apologize if this has made the blue before, but I found it interesting that the two accounts I've run across have been from musicians (Ryuichi Sakamoto and Nick Currie, who records as Momus). The last link is to the Long Now Foundation, tying Brian Eno into this circle of musician interest.
posted by mikeh at 1:58 PM on February 27, 2006


Interesting. I have a friend whose intention is to move to a small japanese village and become an organic farmer. It is his understanding that small land parcels in the hinterland are extraordinarily cheap, becuase there are no young japanese interested in buying from old japanese farmers.

I think the main problem with his plan is that he knows nothing about farming, and is more musically inclined. He is quite a dreamer.
posted by wilful at 2:21 PM on February 27, 2006


But he's not the only one.
Thanks, mikeh.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:25 PM on February 27, 2006


I apologize if this has made the blue before,

Damn right you will!

You didn't link to slow food, which is philosophically somewhat less of a stretch than the long now idea.
posted by wilful at 2:29 PM on February 27, 2006


He could do JET--the need for English teachers is much greater in rural areas than it is in Tokyo or Osaka.

Japan is such an interesting place. One of the more disorienting features is how you see small farm plots everywhere, even in cities. I believe it's law, no?
posted by bardic at 2:31 PM on February 27, 2006


Interesting. Especially in Japan.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:01 PM on February 27, 2006


Also reminds me of Tanizaki's Some Prefer Nettles.
posted by bardic at 3:11 PM on February 27, 2006


wilful, is your friend available for questions? how extraordinarily cheap are we talking? and what are the complications of immigrating and becoming a landowner as a foreigner in japan?

the obvious thing to do is pair up with an aging farmer and learn their craft.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:44 PM on February 27, 2006


How can they get support from local businesses to cut working hours and increase holidays, both indispensable to achieve "slower" lifestyles?

Slow life, the new communist threat.
posted by iamck at 3:47 PM on February 27, 2006


there's a Ghibli film that's sort of about this, i think--Only Yesterday
posted by amberglow at 4:10 PM on February 27, 2006


Everyone slows down as they age, and Japan is so very aging. We are finding it's easier to slow fertility than it is to increase it, once fertility begins to slow it's hard to reverse.

Japan has the highest density population of all first-world nations. Japan also has %70 forest cover, the highest percentage of forests.
posted by stbalbach at 4:41 PM on February 27, 2006


sounds like the life for me. honestly, i've been dreaming of something along these lines for a while. life's just too long to get all worked up.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:43 PM on February 27, 2006


wilful, is your friend available for questions? how extraordinarily cheap are we talking? and what are the complications of immigrating and becoming a landowner as a foreigner in japan?

No, I've got his email address somewhere, but we're not close by any means. I don't know what extraordinarily cheap really means - I'm sure there are japanese language only real estate websites around. This excel table (from here) probably gives all the info, but I dont know how to interpret it. This old (1996) report suggests that Japanese rural protectionism creates some bizarre local outcomes for real estate.

He's got a japanese girlfriend and would think of settling in her parents village - easier hopefully therefore to get around the common legal restrictions.
posted by wilful at 5:09 PM on February 27, 2006


That long now connection is interesting because - as far as I’ve read - lots of Japanese pop culture is highly and swiftly trend driven.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:59 PM on February 27, 2006


There's actually a movement within Japan of weekend farmers migrating out from the big cities to work small plots of land as stress release / escapism. I'll see if I can dig up a link or two.

Great post, btw, micheh! I've longed to be a farmer and live a sustainable (and slow) life for many years now. I was thinking rural France (a la John Berger) but thanks to wilful's comment and your post, I might have to check out the Japanese option. Tadaima!
posted by shoepal at 7:38 PM on February 27, 2006


(weekend rice farmers, courtesy of the BBC)
posted by shoepal at 7:39 PM on February 27, 2006


This excel table

holy crap! about $500-$1000 per acre. that's about what farmland was where i live thirty years ago.

common legal restrictions

that's what i was afraid of. every time i find some place worth colonizing, the locals have already all ganged together against colonialists.
posted by 3.2.3 at 7:44 PM on February 27, 2006


USD500/acre is raelly quite cheap for dryland grazing in Australia. Decent farming land, irrigated and with improved pastures would be more like $3000 (AUD) an acre (well we count in hectares but anyway). So yeah, japanese land is very cheap if you can get around restrictions on purchase, and want to live in a small japanese village surrounded by old people. It could be amazing, but quite possibly not the romantic coolness that people think it is.

Japanese hunger for a patch of naturalness seems to know few bounds.
posted by wilful at 8:35 PM on February 27, 2006


Isn't farming really difficult?

Also, I believe there's a slow email movement.

These utopian simplicity movements never take into account families with kids. Fah!
posted by mecran01 at 9:55 PM on February 27, 2006


Cittaslow by Slow Food.
posted by gillo at 3:16 AM on February 28, 2006


The Little Daikon That Could
posted by shoepal at 6:13 AM on February 28, 2006


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