In Japan, young people who do not consume, has been on the topic for a while.
Why do they not spend lots of money?
Maybe you can find some examples of them here in Hida-Takayama, Gifu prefecture, is enjoying “good quality of life” .
Mika has traveled around the world twice. She was the lunchtrip guide to TOGO last summer, and became my good adviser and friend.
She moved to Hida 2 months ago to move in with her new fiance.
In just 10min walking to the town, you know everybody.
they talked to her if she liked the cuisine, and try to give her another dishes. When I bought small souvenir, I got much much more than I paid. When Mika went to hospital since she broke her rib (it’s because she laughed too hard!), all of the town came and help her.
Well, is it only in Hida? or If it’s me who do not know about these kind of town which SHARE everything, since I only lived in city area.
I have experienced this kind of thing in the apartment which was my dad company’s pension, but here’re it is town who is sharing.
In just 2days of staying, I received below from various people:
Fresh Tomatoes, Rice cookies they just bake, fresh potatoes,fresh carrots, handmade wine, potato cuisine.
And then, I / we borrow :
Goods for climbing mountain,Car,Room.
“Here it is impossible to make big money. In fact, you can have quiet a good quality of simple life without making a big money. “
“These people already know what is good, what is not.” Mika said.
Interesting thing is I saw many 20-30’s moved from Tokyo. They are all from good college and have a good amount of experience working in overseas. O f course they are expert of Facebook -In Japan a lot of people in rural area use MIXI which is indigenous Japanese web service. Worked in the Amerian accounting/consulting firm, environmental company, European food company,,and left Tokyo
It is not like the town they used to live when they are small. They chose to move in the small town.
And there was a term for them-“I-turns”.
One of the I-turns, Mr.Shiraishi told me his story moving in.
“I used to work in Akasaka, very middle in the city of Tokyo, and everyday my work finished after 0:00am. Then I went to drink until the morning and went to work. It was crazy but fun, but one day I asked myself, “why am I consuming? what is that for ?I need better life. Then I quit.”
I need to mention that he has interesting work history. He has worked in Cambodia, U.S., and Kyushu island before working in Akasaka.
It is interesting that he chose “The better quality of life ” after his journey. He was 27 years old when he moved in.
About “consumption”, Mika says she checks if she really need it before any purchase. She doesn’t waste any money on anything needles. Instead, She buy goods with good quality , even if its cost some money.
“Ami, You can come here whenever you get tired of Tokyo.” Mika says.
I am so happy to hear I am welcomed! At the same time, I was asking myself if I am tired of Tokyo. All my life I lived in the city or suburb of the city. But I get the meaning of “Tiring of Tokyo”, since it is the symbolic city of Stress, Career, Packed train, Vanity ,,, and yeah, it is true I sometimes get tired of them.
What is common in the I-turns I met? The key words may be “Bilingual, Have some IT skills, Worked in big company”-hey, it just sounds same as my organization for travel-“LunchTrip.”
Maybe in less than decade, or even in 5 years, our member will be one of them and tell the deep Japan to foreigners, just as Mr.Shiraishi. Is not it very cool?
So what they buy?
When I saw Mika has a bag of “Pass the baton” , I thought it is the one. It is the name of a classy , upscale vintage shop. It has a tag from some one who used before. Actually I saw several people having it, even the store is not in Hida.
Another good example was Patagonia. Mika had many clothing from there. It is no need to say that the outdoor clothing company is famous for their hard work for sustainable environment.
I guess, I-turns I met in Hida does LOHAS consumption, but it is more than that. They check if the product has deep value , not plastic value.
People ask me If I would like to be one of the I-Turn.
My answer is not clear. I can be, but it is too early for me.
Girls from my high school says “I would never able to do live in rural.” But for me I think I will enjoy it wherever I go.
My Value is too flexible. I was drinking champaign at Peninsula bar and next saturday I was happy with handmade plum wine and cooking dinner with fresh potatoes.
I think the other common thing for I-turns is that “They have completed Tokyo chapter.”, and for me, not completed yet.