Shibui (渋い) (adjective), shibumi (渋み) (noun), or shibusa (渋さ) (noun) are Japanese words which refer to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.
Okay, so here’s my thoughts on this…
In this world that has some much bling and flash in pretty much everything you see, it can be difficult to “see” the beauty in them. Most often this concept applied to settings (room design, garden layouts, etc) but I think that it carries over into other areas of life such as clothing and cars.
I first learned about the concept in the book by the same title by Trevanian. He presented an idea of understated elegance that struck me. Having a penchant for wanting to follow form meeting function, I have always struggled with wanting to use “new” or “modern” things just because they’re available. This is illustrated in cell phones. Its become more of a toy than it is a phone anymore. I know that I still under utilize what my smartphone is capable of because I don’t NEED those functions. Which is the same reason I probably won’t buy the pickup that doubles as a wifi hotspot…its supposed to be a truck!
I have a strong feeling this concept has something to do with me having never watched Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Keeping up with the Kardashians, etc. More flash than substance and without any elegance.
Author: Master Robert Frankovich
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