Thursday, April 11, 2013


"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target."
 - Geoffrey F. Fisher

Not to be confused with wasabi - that avocado-coloured mushy, hot stuff that comes with your sushi (which, incidentally, I once confused for a big chunk of avocado and stuffed the entire pile into my mouth at once...ouch!), Wabi-sabi is something quite different.

Looks like avocado right?

Wabi-sabi is Japanese, however, but it has nothing to do with food.

Wabi-sabi - as I learned from writer Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Romancing the Ordinary, "is the Japanese sensibility that reveres the art of imperfection, as well as the paradox of the inevitability of mistakes.

Unlike feng shui, this state of mind requires only a shift in attitude - critical to complimentary - instead of furniture."

The concept - or inspiration - for wabi-sabi, come from the ever-changing looks that arise from Mother Nature.

As Sarah mentions, "the essence of beauty is the slender in the ordinary. The overlooked. The disregarded."

In short, "what's genuine is gloriously flawed."

What a concept!

And yet, I personally find it very interesting to compare and contrast this idea with current Japanese culture - possibly the only one where people work harder, have higher standards, take less vacations and expect near-perfection for their children in their studies - than we do in North America.

But let's get back to Wabi-sabi (which, by the way, I think would make an outstanding Star Wars character name!).

"I am Wabi-sabi...and I am Darth's cat!"

Ponder for a moment the beauty of the bonsai tree. With it's uneven, curled and leaning branches and askew leaves, in writing it sounds rather...well...kinda ugly.

Imperfectly beautiful!

But anyone who has ever seen a little bonsai understands immediately the beauty of their imperfections.

Wabi-sabi at it's best!

I write an article a while back for Yummy Mummy Club about Decorating with Nature. It seems I have been at one with the wabi-sabi thing for a while now without even knowing it!

Here are some more examples to better illustrate the concept of wabi-sabi:

In your own environment - in case you don't have a bonsai tree handy - take a look at your weathered harvest table that your family uses for meals, crafts, homework and what have you.

Once upon a time, it was flawless...but know it has scratches from dinky car races, indents from a pencil that was writing too hard, a water stain or three from spills and a few burn marks from that fun evening of fondue with friends when you forgot to put extra protection from the heat under the tablecloth.

We often call this patina. The Japanese may call it wabi-sabi.

I call it life in its natural form.

And perfectly imperfect.

Just like you.

And just like me.



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