Perfectly Imperfect | The Art of Japanese Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese world view that essentially embraces the aesthetic imperfections of an object or living thing, and focuses on transparency and total acceptance.

That concept is hard to grasp in western society today. Accessible social media platforms such as instagram and snapchat are commonly used among our generation almost everyday. What is on your feed📲?

The majority of users follow celebrity accounts👩🏻‍🎤, instagram models💁🏼‍♀️, or lifestyle and fashion accounts of people living glamorously with the most expensive things that life has to offer🛍. It is easy to escape into someone else’s reality when facing the ongoing struggles and pressures of daily life... There is one important thing to remember though. The only posts that make it to your feed are positive ones. No one posts the struggles, hard times, and bad hair days, it just doesn’t happen.

There is something freeing about looking straight in the face of the belief that aesthetic perfection is beauty, and instead embracing the imperfections of daily life✊🏻.

When I was a child, I used to fall down a lot because I’d always preferred being outside on my bike than staying indoors. As I grew older and societal values ingrained itself into my head, I started to hate my scars and my sun-kissed freckles. I looked at others and felt inferior. I felt trapped🕸. It wasn’t until after I went to college that I realized how skewed my perception of the world was. I slowly learned to love my scars because it made me different from everyone else. It made me…me👸🏻. That is why I have always looked up to this philosophy that that nothing is perfect or forever. 

There is a big part of the culture in Japan that treasures the transient, respectful, and modest lifestyle. 🕊

There is recently a growing trend in interior design that reflects this philosophy; it uses rustic furnishings that tell a story and show its aging. Wabi-Sabi style was named the best lifestyle and design trend to incorporate into your home by Elle Décor. It embraces simple and durable designs that are in tune with nature🍃 and provide a refreshing look that contrasts with our fast paced society. Taking inspiration from raw and organic materials, this style can be described as a rustic minimalism with earthy tones that has a comfy and homey sort of feel. Furniture with subtle cracks and discoloration is not seen as old and outdated but rather a beautiful accent that is chic and natural.

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A practice in Japan called kintsugi ⚱️takes broken pieces of pottery and mends it using gold to fill in the cracks. It encourages the notion that there is a deeper truth to life than just striving for perfection. The finished product not only fixes the original, but elevates it to another level of beauty and resilience. The same can be applied in our own lives. Our failures and weaknesses don't make us broken or imperfect but rather stronger and wiser.

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Embracing this philosophy today is a constant battle with this society that fills up our inboxes 📬 with incessant messages that we are not enough. Still, it is cathartic to reach a point in your life, or even your day when you realize that everything is good just as it is, and to be content with yourself. It is in those moments in our lives when true progress occurs. 

Elsda Li

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Article by Athena Lam

How to...Kintsugi

Just broke your favourite cup? Before throwing it in the dustbin, consider it a golden moment to make your first kintsugi piece. Kintsugi is the Japanese craft