8Books Review: Simplicity at Home by Yumiko Sekine

Simplicity at Home: Japanese Rituals, Recipes, and Arrangements for Thoughtful Living is a wonderfully calming experience. Written by Yumiko Sekine, founder of Fog Linen Work, with gorgeous photos from Nao Shimizu, this is a guide to making a simple and thoughtful home, as well as a glimpse into how the author actually puts her ideas into practice in her own space.

Flipping through this book is quite soothing, everything is thoughtfully arranged, shelves are well-balanced, clothing drawers immaculately organized–yet there are still eclectic collections of bowls, pops of personality, so it’s not sterile or empty feeling as sometimes impeccably designed things can feel. Sekine walks visitors through the seasons, including advice and tips here and there, pulling from her own lifestyle and design sensibilities. There are also instructions and recipes scattered throughout. Some I feel are as simple as they look — a somen recipe for example, is one I might actually try, as are the bath salts. The two pages on how to carve your own wooden spoons, on the other hand, I’m quite dubious about. Definitely more aspirational than practical.

And I should say, to be clear, that I personally am a lover of stuff. I unsuccessfully tried to Marie Kondo my closet, and though I may briefly strive to follow Yumiko Sekine’s “bring one book in, let one book go” suggestion, it will be only short lived. Still, the writing is inviting and informative, and a reminder to be thoughtful, even about the little things. And need I say, one last time, it’s very peaceful to look at–even for someone who knows their home will never, ever, look anything like this.


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About Lily

East Coast Chinese American. I like thick-skinned dumplings and hard-covered books.
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