Why I Became an Extreme Minimalist

Samurai Matcha
by Samurai Matcha

Hi, I'm Aki, an extreme minimalist who is a school teacher, living in a small village in Japan. I’ve changed the way I live by having a minimalist home and practicing minimalist habits. Today, I would like to talk about three reasons why I became an extreme minimalist.

Japanese tea ceremony

The tea ceremony 

The very first reason is because of the tea ceremony. 

I started practicing it five years ago. The setup for the tea ceremony itself is very simple with no waste. For example, a traditional tea room is a very small Japanese-style tatami room with only hanging scrolls and some decorative flowers.

Utensils for tea ceremony

The utensils used for the tea ceremony are also minimal and each utensil has a purpose.

Not only the utensils but also the actions performed during the ceremony are beautifully simple, but strategic movements. My life before starting the tea ceremony was different.

Mess and clutter

I was buying a lot of unnecessary things and living in a messy room. 

My life was lazy. However, after learning about the tea ceremony, I started to think how awesome it would be if I could live minimally with beautiful movements and the mindset like during the tea ceremony.

Becoming homeless

The second reason comes from a time in my life that resulted in me becoming homeless. 

I was running a small guest house in Tokyo five years ago. It was a Japanese-style inn that I remodeled for over 3 months. 

Guesthouse with guests from all over the world

Fortunately, I had many guests from all over the world. 

I welcomed them in a kimono, had a tea ceremony class, and had a takoyaki party. 

In the end, I was able to get the title of Super Host and it was very successful. 

However, the new owner of the house destroyed my dreamlike life. The new owner was a real estate agent, and he acted like a member of the yakuza. I still remember the first words he said when he came to my guest house. 

Why I became an extreme minimalist

"You are naive. You shouldn’t run a business with a lease property. In conclusion, can you leave here?"

I was like - What!? After that, he tried to evict me in many ways. He threatened me with notices from his lawyer, high rent, and criticizing contract violations. 

I hired my lawyer to fight, but I didn't have much money and was exhausted from the prolonged fight. 

In the end, I decided to leave the house. I had to sell most household items and equipment I had collected because I needed money for restoration. My friend came to help me restore the guesthouse to the original. 

Breaking down the wall

I broke the wall that I built. 

Breaking down is equally as hard work as making. Then, I left my guest house with only the minimum necessary items and became homeless. 

Luckily, one of my friends helped to lend me a room for a while, so that’s how I survived. One month later, I went to see where my guesthouse was. 

House destroyed

Then, I found that the whole house was gone.

Our hard work was a waste of energy. I went crazy, and at the same time. I learned things will be lost sooner or later, even homes can be easily lost. So I started to live minimally, trying not to obsess with things to live anywhere at any time.

Bamboo bike with luggage

Bamboo bike trip

The third reason is a bamboo bike trip. 

I traveled to Canada, the United States, and South America on a bamboo bike two years ago. When traveling by bicycle, the capacity of the bag is limited, so you cannot carry a lot of things. 

That means I had to carefully pack up things, and have only what I really needed. 

Sometimes, I had to throw unnecessary things even during the journey. 

For example, I threw away a lot of things during my trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Because it is a dry and hot area of 42 degrees Celsius, if you load heavy luggage on your bicycle and ride too slowly, you could get dehydrated, dry out, and die. 

So I had to lighten my luggage so that I could reach the next city as soon as possible. 

I threw away extra clothes, shoes, and bulky bath towels, but it was still heavy. 

Unnecessary items

I also got rid of shampoo, conditioner, perfume, toothpaste, and other unnecessary things. 

Day by day, I became lighter and lighter. By the time I reached the Grand Canyon, I became an extreme minimalist. I had only what I really needed to live.

Extreme minimalism

After I came back to Japan I earnestly started a minimal life. My extreme minimalist journey will continue. 

Why I became an extreme minimalist

Every day, I try to think about how to make life lighter, more beautiful, and healthier. Becoming an extreme minimalist has given me freedom from having to worry about maintaining a lifestyle filled with things I didn’t need.

What steps have you taken to live a minimalist lifestyle? Share in the comments, it’s always great to hear from you!

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