Tag Archives: Japan

The Minimalist

Noah J. was so kind to narrate this story in English. You can listen to it here:

This story was also translated to Polish and made available as a Polish YouTube reading.


His name is Sven. He is 27, blond and used to have a well-shaped body.

We lived together for three years, him and me. Nights with beer and peanuts and good talk and days that we barely saw each other because of my busy schedule. He is an architect, or maybe he just was, I’m not so sure.

In March he made his life dream come true. He travelled to Japan and for three weeks his Facebook wall was plastered with photos of temples and streets and people. But most of all there were pictures of houses, large and small, finally photos of houses and apartments from the inside. Besides one of the pictures, to this day, stands a sentence that I think started his obsession:

“The people here are really nice. Tell them you are an architect and ask nicely and any stranger will show you their house – just make sure to take your shoes off!”

In his posts and the two short phone calls we had during his time in Japan I noticed that he seemed to have a new passion: Minimalism. Simplify and declutter your life and you will simplify and declutter your mind.

“You know,” he said. “They have apartments here, not even bigger than student rooms, but they have everything! A shower, a kitchen, everything in just one room and you don’t even notice it!”

The first thing Sven did when he came back was to pack most of his life – first spare clothes, his game consoles and his TV, then also old gifts or random memorability – into boxes. He placed the boxes on the sidewalk and within the hour they were gone. Within a week more and more left his room: Old birthday cards, photos, trophies, even his heirloom grandfather clock. Soon all was at the side of the street. Soon all of it was gone.

A room with a near-empty shelf, a near-empty wardrobe, a desk and a chair.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he asked.

And I had to agree: So simple, so clean, so relaxing.

No clutter. No memories.

No worries. Continue reading