If you are keen to know more about Danshari

By cryotosensei | diaperfinancingfund | 30 Dec 2023

I read this Chinese book on your behalf.   My review: This book is titled Danshari, a Japanese concept that refers to the pursuit of a simple yet rich life. Comprising 3 characters that mean refusing, disposing and separating respectively, it is a movement that has been popularised by Fume Sasaki, the author of “Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living”. This book is Chinese author, Xiao De Feng’s take on Danshari. It’s divided into 5 parts, and I was disciplined enough to finish reading all the chapters under Part 4 (越简单,越丰盛:复杂中找到简单模式; the simpler the richer: seeking simplicity in complexity). Here are my takeaways:  

  1. Like money, time will compound returns. Persist on honing your craft for an extended period of time. You will find that you will cross the chasm between outstanding and extraordinary.
  2. To attain perfection, the devil is in the details. Insist on getting the smallest details right and infuse exquisite touches. De Feng brings up the example of Japanese craftsmen who produce their products by hand, refusing the intrusion of modern technology, prioritising quality over quantity.
  3. The story that impacted me the most was how a movie reviewer watched “Infernal Affairs” for tens of times to the extent that he could recite the dialogue and remember the fine details. He did so because he wanted to write a review that resonated with his audience. As someone who likes to do things swiftly and efficiently and move on to the next thing, I’m reminded of how quality is something that needs to be marinated over time.
  4. When you do something long enough, your body will hone its muscle memory (让身体形成回忆) and develop automaticity for the task. This is how you internalise a good habit.
  5. People misunderstand that Danshari refers to tightening your belt, curbing your impulses and depriving yourself. On the contrary, it refers to making intentional choices in order to lead an enriching life. So go on, splurge on that high-quality, long-lasting product if you intend to use it regularly.
  6. If you buy books but don’t read them, there is no point in keeping them around because you don’t extract the knowledge to sharpen your mind anyway. I struggle with this part because I am a tsundoku obsessive. Tsundoku refers to the act of buying books but never reading them. There are several books on 県民性 (prefectural characteristics) that I bought in Japan and know that I’m never going to read them. But I just can’t bring myself to dispose of them. I’m not sure I want to, either - because just having these books makes me feel that I am an inquisitive and interesting person.


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