Guess what my kids’ favourite TV show is.

Better Homes & Gardens!
Bet you didn’t see that coming. 😉
Every Friday – without fail – we tune in at 7pm.

I learnt about a new concept on last Friday’s show: Wabi-sabi.
No, not wasabi. Wabi-sabi.
Yes, they’re both Japanese; but while a smear of the former packs a punch on your sushi, a dose of the latter could add value to your life.

Wabi-sabi is an acceptance and appreciation of life’s imperfections, impermanence and irregularities. This ancient Zen Buddhist philosophy reminds us that just like Nature which is not uniform or symmetrical, so too are our lives.


So why do we relentlessly pursue perfection and permanence? Why do we seek symmetry and sophistication? After all, we are transient beings – dust thou art and all that…

While the wabi-sabi concept usually applies to design and decor, art and architecture, you can appreciate in any facet of your life.

I’ll give you three examples from my own life:

Supermarket carrots

Supermarket carrots

"Real" carrots

“Real” carrots

1. I love going to farmers’ markets. The sights and sounds, the tastings and the variety of fresh fruit and veg… A bag of supermarket-bought carrots means they are all uniform in size and shape and bright orange in colour, the ones at local farmers’ markets can be knobbly, gnarled – and purple!

2. I’m in my late 30s now and a few grey hairs are making their presence felt. The body is no spring chicken, I tell ya! Parts that should be perky have deflated and a tummy that should be taut jiggles. In walks in wabi-sabi. It tells me to appreciate those laugh lines and crows feet on my face instead of trying to conceal them under a layer of well, concealer.

3. You can use the wabi-sabi aesthetic to your home as well. No, not as an excuse to be messy and disorganised. A wabi-sabi abode is humble and holistic, a home that uses natural materials, a house where each piece of furniture has a story to tell…

Our dining table

Our dining table

Take our dining table (above) for example. It is a hand-me-down from one of B’s colleagues. Every single person who has sat at this rugged and rough-hewn table has marvelled at its natural beauty.

* All images in this post, except for the last one (my dining table) are NOT my own.

So tell me, have you heard about this concept of wabi-sabi before? Are you a perfectionist? Do you expect it in others?


2 responses to “Wabi-sabi

  1. Interesting concept! For someone who is a stickler for routine, order and symmetry…I am just going to have to try harder 🙂


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