Newsletter 018
Estival Solstice 2022
Body and Limbs Somersault.


Body and Limbs Somersault.


Glasses falling from my face for the umteenth time smash to the ground, body and limbs somersault in three directions never to be reacquainted —without the aid of tape. It’s reluctantly time for a new pair.

Sitting there, in my wonky tape-heavy specks, lenses scratched —scratches upon scratches— I ponder on the content for this newsletter. Thoughts of the recent bamboo forestry course are still fresh in mind, would that be interesting? Should I talk about the books I’m reading & rereading? Dipping in and out of three at the moment, each different yet connected as most things are. Ecology without Nature, juxtaposed with Breakfast of Champions, and Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered.






Interesting it is, shifting the mindset between capitalist and Buddhist economics. Challenging our inherent perception towards the value of work and our human-tool, human-machine relationships.  


Tools enhance skills - machines substitute them.


In the pursuit of good economy, is the value of the work itself lost? In the rush towards more leisure, is the quality of the work, how we perceive work and what work has to offer, undermined along with the leisure we so hastily desired? See the value of work beyond selling your time for money and be fulfilled by work & leisure equally.


Without one, the other is lost.


Buddhist Economy describes the value of work as the betterment of individuals, communities and environment. However, “we must first temper our selfishness and acquisitive pursuits”.


It is also nonviolent.


The idea of non-violence is interesting and incredibly powerful. Usually thinking of non-violence in terms of direct ‘human to human’ or ‘human to non-human’ relationships, but —in a psychological experiment— I started practising non-violence as a guide to everything —literally everything— I do or am planning to do.  

Measuring my actions and choices on a scale of violence. Actions such as the design and production of goods and services; how I consume and dispose of them. What I eat and how it is produced, packaged, shipped and prepared. How I travel and interact with the world.


How I communicate.

And so no.









In my last email: Better Than, I posed the question of “how might we leave things better than how we found them?”. Is there any value in combining this and a few other principles, forming a new mental model for good-design or good-being?

Good design…

  1. is leaving things better than how you found them.
  2. is nonviolent.
  3. is purposeful & rewarding.
  4. is supportive to the community.
  5. is an act of self-betterment. 
  6. And so on.






Movement
Nutrition
Community
Purpose


Everyone is talking about the price of onions. Honestly, I hadn’t noticed. Thanks to community, my pantry is full of freshly pulled onions, garlic and potatoes. Green beans and peas are in season too and I’ve been eating plenty. Not been to the market in over a week.

If I am ever hungry I can always —and regularly do— visit my local shokudō (Japanese canteen). Entering to a chorus of friendly hellos. Familiar faces for whom this humble family run establishment provides not only food but a community centre. In a time where most are bending over backwards, desperate to draw in tourists and their money. Our little Shokudō thrives by providing simple well cooked food, prepared with kindness for us locals. Not a tourist in sight.

Speaking of tourists, the tsubame (swallows) have arrived, the first fledglings leaving the nest, —believe it or not— during the summer solstice. Imagine taking flight for the first time? Exhilarating to say the least! And it was, as I stood amongst this new family of six circling my head in an excited frenzy of flapping wings and chirps!

I’m not about to take flight, but yoga is back, cycling is in and so too are hot —44ºC hot— baths. My local onsen is fantastic. 100% natural volcanic water, no additional heating required. The temperature varies between 42-44ºC. That’s hot, good hot. Thankfully, no body-soap, shampoo or conditioner allowed, just hot water trickling into a bath made of local stone. Become a member and it costs a mere ¥100 —that’s 75 cents and getting cheaper by the day.


…and so it goes.

James














Nutrition Movement Community Purpose

Photographs series:
The Coastline Economy.
Nihonkai, Japan 2022


This is an Arukari Newsletter sent out each solstice.