MUJI x UR: MUJI beautifully fixes-up old-fashioned urban apartments

MUJI has been working with the Japanese UR (Urban Renaissance Agency) to re-define and re-invigorate danchi, old-style condo complex that house thousands of residents at one location.

Demystifying the mysteries of Japanese aesthetics

What’s the common secret behind traditional Zen arts/culture, wabi-sabi, MUJI, Japanese architecture, sushi and Totoro? It’s the unique approach toward nature.

Tradition of shoe repair: it’s about renewing relationships

We are obsessed with shoes. A pair that perfectly fits our feet is hard to find. When we repair such pairs, we are renewing our relationships with them.

Kintsugi: Repair beyond repair

Kintsugi” is a traditional Japanese technique to repair broken ceramics, but it’s something that will change your definition of “repair.” Using glue and gold or silver powder, Kintsugi “heals” injured ceramics and give them new life, embracing the wound. It is fascinating.

Get shou sugi ban inspiration from Japanese architect

Find inspiring shou sugi ban, or 焼き杉, ideas from Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori, who “re-discovered” its beauty that had been forgotten for decades.

What is Zero?

title-what-is-zero


Zero is a device available to all of us in order to thrive and live a fulfilling life in an increasingly over-populated, resource-constrained and drastically changing world.
Zero is next generation sustainability and resilience.

Zero is an answer for mindful satisfaction.
 

How does it work, and why now?
There is a critical disconnect between what’s going on at a planetary (macro-economic), micro-economic and personal level.  Earth is now holding 7 billion people.  At a planetary level, the environment is stressed and resources are becoming scarcer.  Many experts believe that the current system is not sustainable. However at a micro-economic, we keep trying to expand our economic activities.  Businesses compete fiercely to provide more for less, fueled by ever-intensifying consumer demand.  We seek to access more products and services for less to feel satisfied and happy.  This disconnect may keep growing until we end up depleting all the resources, unless we proactively embrace another perspective on how we pursue satisfaction and happiness.


If you felt “what about technology? Technology will eventually solve all the problems,” stay tuned. Zero and technology will be discussed in the near future.  Please sign up for updates from the sidebar.


triangle-dilenma



subtitle-macroeconomic


  • The Earth’s resources are finite.
  • Population keeps growing at an exponential rate.
  • Production capacity also keeps growing, but no one knows for sure to what extent it can keep growing.
  • Many commodities, notably food-related products and metals/minerals have been showing significant price increases over the last two decades.
    • Cheap resources underpinned economic growth for much of the 20th century. The 21st will be different.(Mckinsey Quarterly, 2011)
  • Climate change and environmental degradation is already directly damaging our existing assets (e.g. through extreme weather), or indirectly affecting our productivity (e.g. drought or deforestation)


subtitle-microeconomic


  • Global competition intensifies and business environment keeps changing at a fast pace.
  • Customer demands for “more for less” intensify even though input prices keep increasing.
  • Middle class is disappearing.


subtitle-personal


  • Care about the environment, but don’t want to give up the happiness and comfort delivered by plethora of affordable products and services.
  • Life security depends on job security and income, which depends on economic growth.


What’s happening at a micro-economic and personal level simply don’t go hand-in-hand with the reality that the Earth faces. You cannot keep increasing your output in a closed system with decreasing input, and our planet is a closed system.
So we have been talking about sustainability for quite some time now.  It is critical to figure out how we can maintain our output in a closed system.  However, sustainability is no longer just about resource sustainability or environmental sustainability.
In the 21st century, the sustainability of our own satisfaction and happiness is at stake because it depends on the sustainability of our economy, which depends on resource/environmental sustainability.  And we are already starting to see the impact.


This is where Zero comes into play.

triangle-zero


Next generation sustainability is not 4.0 or 5.0, it’s 0.0.
By zeroing on our own potential, rather than focusing on the amount of products/services we can get, or on how much efficiency external systems can deliver to us, we can feel mindful satisfaction and live a fulfilling like without relying on “more.”  You can think of this as sustainability Zen.


If you would like to know more about Zero, please start from Zero Intro.  There are also various contents on how to find/leverage Zero in our daily lives and in business.


Why we need Zero

Why zero?

Before it’s application to math, zero has been the focus of ancient Indian philosophers.  Buddhism embraced zero as part of its core philosophy. 

Buddhism was founded by Buddha (the awakened one), sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.  I was born in Buddhist priest family and grew up hearing the stories about how Siddhārtha Gautama, born in a royal and wealthy family, attained Enlightenment under a pipal tree and became Buddha.

As a young girl who’s never seen the wide world, I was struck by the theme that appeared and reappeared so many times: the world was full of pains, sufferings, fights and wars in Buddha’s era, and that people needed Buddhism to survive in such a harsh environment without losing calmness, modesty and consideration. 

Nature human interaction

In Buddha’s era (and pretty much all the time until very recently in our history), humans had to face various types of threats posed by nature on their own.  Food was scarce, diseases were rampant,  extreme weather and natural disasters were uncontrollable.  People had to fight each other for scarce resources.  Death was always next to you.
Buddhism concluded that the ultimate way to deal with such hardships was to extinguish the flame of all sorts of desires and achieve the state of emptiness in your mind.  You had to stop wanting more, since it was the source of fights and sufferings.

Nature human zero

next-bottom-zero-category

Celebrate what you already own: Patagonia

Patagonia’s Black Friday event “Celebrate what you already own” made me think about the relationship between “having (buying) more,”, “having (buying) less” and deep satisfaction. I soon came to realization that having less can actually lead to deeper satisfaction.

Zero (kuu): the core tenet of Zen Buddhism

Zero Narrative

    Zero was discovered more than two thousand years ago.  Since then humans have been working seriously and sincerely to understand what Zero truly embraces. If it makes sense to “biomimic” Earth, because it is the longest surviving lab to test resilience, then Zero is the long-standing lab to test humans’ resilience. In addition to biomimic, we now human-minic.  “Zero narrative” provides you a perspective about what kind of ship we are on when we talk about Zero. 


    Penguin spuare


    ikebana small rectangle


    bonsai small rectangle


    ryoanji small rec

    Title Chapter 4







    engawa-small

    chapter-5-title-ambiguity



    Coming Soon


    nou-uba

    subtitle-abundance-by-decay



    Coming Soon