Tag Archives: lifestyle

Awaji Island is in every sense of the phrase off the beaten track by Japanese standards. I was doing some day work there, despite the approaching typhoon, with a hope that I would be home before it hit. But while I was busily working, the dangerous-weather warning was issued and all transport to and from the island was frozen. There was no way home until the storm passed and it was time to look for a room in one of the very few, dilapidated business hotels in town. Breakfast was just a AU$6.50 addition to the room rate, and with 2 choices: 'Western' or 'Traditional', I chose the latter and headed to my tiny and unspectacular room for the night. What I'm illustrating here is how special the hotel wasn't, but despite this, and based purely on traditional influence, my breakfast was a memorable affair.

The storm passed in the night in spectacular fashion, and to a clear morning sky, I headed for the breakfast room. There were already other patrons - families and businessmen alike, stranded like me – waiting for the first bus and enjoying their very typical morning fare.

My breakfast arrived – it was very simple compared to what I have eaten in nicer hotels in Japan, but it consisted of: a bowl of rice, miso soup with seaweed, baby mushrooms with some white-fleshed fish for stock, a small piece of grilled Salmon, crisp fried inch-fish, seasoned kombu (heavy seaweed) and sesame seeds, crisp wakame (light seaweed), a small salad, pickled radish, cucumber and cabbage, and of course green tea.

So that's 3 kinds of fish, 3 kinds of seaweed and 4 fermented foods including the miso soup just for breakfast! Even traditional home-style breakfasts in Japan are like this, so you can see why the Japanese are famous for their longevity.

After eating breakfast, I felt healed, invigorated, sustained and ready to take on the day! My energy level was fantastic, and I understood how Japanese 'salarymen' can work 12 hour days, 6 days a week and be fresh for Monday. For me, this sure beats cornflakes (which make me want to go back to bed right after breakfast).

I always treat breakfast like any other meal, with due respect to flavour, quantity and quality. In fact, enjoying making and eating breakfast over a leisurely hour is one of the best ways to start every day (after your morning exercise of course!). A breakfast hour is a great time to ponder your life and give yourself the best opportunity to 'win' today.

By a friend of mine living in Japan


We have been able to achieve so much more in and around our home and community in 2 years using permaculture principles and ethics mainly because we have worked with, rather than against nature. We have thoughtfully observed our environment, instead of thoughtlessly labouring against it. We try to look at all the plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating them as single function elements. Permaculture is like using aikido in your garden – rolling with the blows, turning adversity into strength and using everything positively. We avoid using strength to force the landscape to yield. If we attack nature, we ultimately only destroy ourselves.

Living in harmony with nature is only possible if we give up the idea of trying to be superior over the natural world. We are not the ‘masters of creation’ we think we are. We are not above nature. We are part of it. All living things are an expression of life, including humans, but not especially humans. What we do to nature we do to ourselves. I think this truth is more evident on the Earth now than ever before. An understanding of this principle helps us avoid destroying any living thing.

Mistakenly, permaculture is not only, or even just, a system of gardening. It is a design system, a tool belt, full of ideas, concepts, principles and ethics to help us flow with nature to achieve a much healthier, happier, eco-friendly outcome, which means a much more productive, fruitful system and lifestyle.

We offer regular Introduction to Permaculture workshops to share what permaculture is all about and support people in their goals of growing healthy, organic, fresh food, contributing to their communities and the planet more, and understanding the natural world a little deeper. Our next Introduction to Permaculture workshop is on Sunday 1 July. Check our What's On? calendar for details.