Tag Archives: consumerism

Goodbye, things: the new Japanese minimalism by Fumio Sasaki

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Lately, you may have heard of “Minimalism” gaining popularity. This is a movement which can be defined in many ways, and I personally like Joshua Becker’s definition: “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it”. I see myself as a minimalist and try not to hold onto anything that isn’t useful nor beautiful. Fumio Sasaki is also a minimalist which drew me to his book: “Goodbye, things- the new Japanese Minimalism”. I was intrigued by what a single individual living in Tokyo sees as minimalist living compared to me, or even compared to Becker who is part of a family of four.

Fumio used to struggle with self-image and bought all kinds of items, thinking they would improve him as an individual and impress people. But underneath this mirage, he was unhappy and struggled somewhat with alcohol and unhealthy relationships. After discovering minimalism, he has slowly regained himself. During one chapter, he explains how his minimalist journey has improved every aspect of his life: he now has more gratitude for the few items he possesses (and most importantly, for his relationships), he no longer is influenced by consumerism because he spends his time mindfully doing constructive and uplifting things, and he has reduced his vices. All in all, minimalism has shaped his entire outlook on life- not just reduced the number of his possessions.

I found Fumio’s book to be quite helpful; it was a quick read that could be easily be picked up for tidbits of encouragement in the de-cluttering processes and provided personal examples from Fumio himself. It certainly helped me with my fall cleanup time, and it encourages me to seek out what is truly valuable in life.

 

 

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The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue by David Sax

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tastemakersIf you have ever wondered why certain foods “appear” out of nowhere to suddenly show up on every menu, store shelf, magazine article and television program, this book will enlighten you. Whether it is acai berries, Greek yoghurt or pomegranate juice, Sax gets to the root of how celebrity chefs, clever marketers, food industry strategies or the rare combination of the right thing showing up at the right time can suddenly make a food into household name even while other foods slide into obscurity. Does anyone remember the muffin craze of the 1980s?
One of the current crazes is for cupcakes, and according to trend-seer Faith Popcorn, this is a symptom of the ‘down-aging” trend of baby boomers who seek to combine childhood memories with easy-luxury. They were featured on Sex in the City at a time when the show was at its peak and the craze took off. Bakeries which relied on children’s birthday parties for occasional sales suddenly found themselves pressured to sell cupcakes of every flavour, design and level of sophistication. Bloggers and television shows like Cupcake Wars introduced the  “must-have” cupcake to the wider world and the trend is still alive. Those who didn’t live through similar fads like fondue in the1960s must wonder what their parents ever saw in it, but the author reveals what drives these gastro-fads by delving behind the hype.
Curious about chia seed? Baffled by bacon-onics? Sax explains all and devotes one chapter to the meteoric rise of so-called “Super-Foods” in this decade. All in all, this book is a very tasty, light read which will open your eyes to a more critical view of restaurant menus and grocery aisle products.

Review by Angela Meady, Head of Children’s Services, TBPL