Asian culture and Minimalism

I recently read about some unique features Asian culture has. It makes our view of minimalism seem extravagant.

In Japan they have hotels that only offer the most basic needs. These hotels, called Capsule Hotels, are small rooms roughly the size of a coffin. They offer their visitor just enough room to crawl in, watch a bit of TV, and doze off to sleep. You can read more about the capsule hotel here. Although I’ve yet to visit Japan I was fascinated by the videos and articles I read explaining what Capsule Hotels offer. All of the articles and videos mentioned a few key points:

  • The hotel is meant for the man on the go. They are mostly used for those looking for a quick nap or a place to rest after their long and busy day.
  • The typical capsule hotel offers a coffin size “bedroom”, a locker for you to store your belongings, a restroom, and a small shop that offers clean clothes or a quick snack.
  • Most capsule hotels aim for balance and simplicity. Usually the space is minimally decorated and everything is clearly labeled. This provides little distraction for the visitor.
  • Capsule Hotels are affordable. Typically ranging between 30 and 50 US dollars, the capsule hotel is suitable for both the busy man and the worldly traveler.

When you take into consideration what these hotels offer, and what they don’t, it seems like these hotels offer an extreme form of minimalism. How nice it must be to not have to worry about all the belongings in your house when your belongings can neatly fit in a locker. Of course, such extreme minimalism is not meant for everyone.

In China, Feng Shui is used in many homes to provide the best flow of the space. Depending on your needs for the space, each room is treated differently, but every room is kept clutter free and clean. You can read more about Feng Shui here. The general idea behind Feng Shui is every item in your home has its rightful place. If an item is out of place or messy, your life follows suit. So if you take an item out of its place, you must remember to put it back to keep order and beauty in your life. The order in each of your rooms affects your life in different way (for instance, a couch should never have its back facing the front door or else guests will feel unwanted. The goal is to place each item in its ideal location to ensure the flow in your home is a positive one). Before purchasing any item for your home you’re forced to think about how that item will fit and if it will affect the overall flow. Many who practice Feng Shui in their home keep only the items they need or the items that impact their life positively.

When you think of these two aspects its nice to see that minimalism is being practiced everywhere, although they may not consider themselves minimalists.

Simplicity and beauty go hand in hand, and the general idea of minimalism is still to find happiness and beauty. How will you find happiness and beauty in your life?

 

Capsule Hotels:
VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRT4dU6r-KQ
CNN Article: http://articles.cnn.com/2010-01-07/world/japan.capsule.home_1_capsule-yukio-hatoyama-japan?_s=PM:WORLD

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