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Just Enough

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The world has changed immeasurably over the last thirty years, with more, bigger, better being the common mantra. But in the midst of this constantly evolving world, there is a growing community of people who are looking at our history, searching for answers to issues that are faced everywhere, such as energy, water, materials, food and population crisis.
In Just Enough,
ebook, 227 pages
Published February 19th 2014 by Tuttle Publishing (first published February 1st 2010)
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A fascinating look into a sustainable future by exploring the sustainable past of Edo-era Japan. There are three sections breaking down different areas of life, ranging from forest management to class differences in the city and farm. Each section is introduced with a fictional story about visiting that area in feudal Japan. We meet different characters, visit different homes and workplaces, and each narrative is peppered with journal-style entries and illustrations. While the handwriting font ...more
I enjoyed reading it, but at the same time felt I was given the rose-coloured glasses to wear
let's not forget the omnipresent mold caused by Japan's hot and humid climate, the stench of the toilet pits, the bitter cold winter draughts, diseases, famines, poverty, and the oppression caused by the rigid, savagely stratified social system in which most of the population were strongly restricted in their personal freedom.
Nonetheless, I accept the focus on the positive aspects of the Edo/Tokugawa
Dec 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
So the Japanese have invented ecology before the humans. Impressive, right?
David Hallman
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely lovely read that is infused with history while looking disapprovingly at our current consumption driven culture. The author uses the unique device of placing Edo era travelers in distinct locales, partaking in a kind of historical design survey of peasant homes, city dwelling merchant residences, and samurai estates. Using homely illustations and hand written notes alongside the main text, the book reads much like a handmade field guide. This makes it much more enjoyable than a ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2010
This is an amazing book that manages to combine two at first disparate things - a popular history survey of Edo (now known as Tokyo) two hundred years ago, and a guide to the principles of sustainable living. Brown has done a brilliant job of bringing to life three sections of Japanese society - farmers, merchants and samurai - with interesting prose, a depth of historical detail, and illustrations and diagrams, many so detailed you could almost use them to build your own buildings or plant up a ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Architect and Tokyo resident Azby Brown explores late-Edo-period Japan as a model sustainable society and looks at technologies and strategies that can be adapted for modern use, many of which are no longer used in modern Japan. It's a densely written cultural history book with an academic bent, and incredibly thorough, with charming hand-drawn illustrations and notes in the margins. I'd definitely recommend it as a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in permaculture, natural and ...more
Holly McIntyre
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an excellent book! It is a look at the way of life in Tokagawa (I may not have spelled that right!) Japan, by composing a composite picture of an individual in each social class. The main point of the book is that because of the need to support a large population in a restricted amount of space, nothing went to waste. Knowing nothing about Japanese history, I was fascinated to learn how people lived and worked. Meat-eating was a rarety; manure was highly-valued; and everything was recycled. ...more
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is an excellent pro-ecology book. It shows how Edo Japan created a sustainable society 200 years ago. The books takes us in a journey in the past to examine the daily life of farmers during Edo period.
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional book - should be required reading for all high school students. An approachable book about the meaning of sustainability in Japan in earlier days. Includes excellent sketches and thoughtful discussion of food, water, waste.
A lovely history of a certain period in Japan, but it's less clear how their "sustainability" lessons can actually translate into today's world.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taking an amazing step back into Japan pre- Commodore Perry and Western influence. Thus far a great book for the Japanophile, architect, planner and sustainable minded among us.
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reader-friendly book, interesting narrative, clear entertaining pictures, innovative and feasible ideas for living in a sustainable society.
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