Book review: Wabi-Sabi Welcome by Julie Pointer Adams


Each moment is worth basking in because it won’t be with us forever. Julie Pointer Adams

I have been reading this book every evening this autumn. Yes, it was a real treat for me: I was waiting for this moment every day, to read another few pages and to experience wabi-sabi through reading this publication. This book resonates with my reading taste, especially when it comes to reading about creating a cosy and comfortable home and, in this particular instance, how to prepare your home and yourself for having guests. The photographs are unique, simple, yet so beautiful. I would often leaf through the book to analyse in detail the photos and their authentic and intimate character.

So, what is wabi-sabi, you may think? Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept which is built of two separate words, wabi and sabi. “Wabi means something like simplicity, humility, and living in tune with nature”. (18) “Sabi, on the other hand, refers to what happens with the passage of time; it’s about transience and the beauty and authenticity of age.” (18) We can think of wabi-sabi as being perfectly imperfect, as “beauty found in unusual, unfashionable places or objects, and in moments usually overlooked or unappreciated.” (11) The book is divided into 5 chapters and the author doesn’t only visit Japan to experience wabi-sabi, she travels to Denmark, California, France and Italy to find this unique way of life there, too.  Each experience brings us closer to the concept of wabi-sabi: in Japan it can be the joy of sharing simple and nourishing food; in Denmark, the rituals, nearly sacred, of having coffee breaks with your friends (called fika in Sweden); in California, being together in the kitchen and letting your friends participate in cooking; in France we can learn to say c’est la vie, if the situation is less than ideal, and adopt a more natural and organic approach to everything (joie de vivre – the joy of living) and in Italy, spending time together (insieme), going for a walk, eating ice-cream or having a big celebration and appreciating each other’s company.

As you can see, it’s difficult not to fall in love with wabi-sabi and I think the book could be a perfect Christmas gift for yourself or your loved ones. Reading it will beautifully fill long wintery evenings…

Do you know the concept of wabi-sabi? How do you experience it in your life? Do let me know in the comments below.


Julie Pointer Adams, Wabi-Sabi Welcome, New York 2017: Artisan.

Kinga Macalla

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