There are many elements of contemporary existence that make it all feel, somehow, inescapable. The onslaught of information, the omnipresence of technology, the relentless pace of city living, the commute, the pay cheque, the rent. But although most of us feel more or less obliged to live this way, it’s by no means compulsory.
Such is the revelation offered by The Abundance Of Less, a book that profiles a series of men and women who are living entirely self-sufficient lives in rural Japan, including woodblock printmaker Mr Osamu Nakamura, who lives on $4,000 and never accepts payment for his work, and Mr Kogan Murata, a man who splits his time between growing his own rice and playing a traditional kyotaku bamboo flute. Each chapter focuses on a single subject, explaining how, by doing things the slow way, with their own hands, they are able to survive without much in the way of material possessions or money.