Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan

Author(s): Azby Brown


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," author Azby Brown turned to the history of Japan, where he finds a number of lessons on living in a sustainable society that translate beyond place and time. This book of stories depicts vanished ways of life from the point of view of a contemporary observer, and presents a compelling argument around how to forge a society that is conservation-minded, waste-free, well-housed, well-fed and economically robust.

Included at the end of each section are lessons in which Brown elaborates on what Edo Period life has to offer us in the global battle to reverse environmental degradation. Covering topics on everything from transportation, interconnected systems, and waste reduction to the need for spiritual centers in the home, there is something here for everyone looking to make changes in their life.

"Just Enough" is much-needed beacon in our evolving world, giving us hope in our efforts to achieve sustainability now.


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"Just Enough is valuable as a mentality, as a framework for acting in the world..." --Worldchanging.com

"Brown's elegant and accessible text with its lucid illustrations make this a wonderful companion for students and professionals in the fields of design, civil engineering, farming, construction, or Japanese history, or any person interested in leaving a more delicate footprint on the planet." --ForeWord Magazin

"Just Enough should be required reading for anyone who wants to help make today's world more sustainable. Read it, please." --Sarah Susanka, Architect and author of The Not So Big House series and The Not So Big Life

"Azby Brown's book, using excellent examples from Edo-period Japan, proves that we have surrounded ourselves with many things that we don't need to live sustainably and happily. This is an important warning for the future, one that should make us all stop and think." --Shigeru Ban, Architect, recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, designer of the award-winning Hanover Pavillion for Expo 2000

"Truly an eye-opener. Brown takes us behind the scenes, revealing the complex and ingenious techniques that put Japanese traditional life in harmony with nature." --Alex Kerr, Author, Dogs and Demons, Lost Japan

"Just Enough offers an interesting and engaging perspective on Edo Japan for those who enjoy reading about cultural history, alongside sustainable ideas relevant today." --Green LA Girl

"I read Brown's book with relish, and at the end of it felt that my mindset had shifted, from feeling that I never have enough, to feeling that I undoubtedly have too much." -- Macy Halford, New Yorker Online

"In my mind Azby Brown is the Rick Steves of historic time travel. Where Steves takes you to his 'Europe through the back door', Brown invites us to visit Edo period Japan with him. He addresses his readers -- that's us -- as part of his entourage." --The International Examiner


Azby Brown, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana is the director of KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo. He studied architecture and sculpture at Yale College, graduating in 1980, and entered the Department of Architecture of the University of Tokyo in 1985 under a grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education. He received his master's degree in 1988 and completed his PhD research in 1995. He is the author of "The Genius of Japanese Carpentry" (1995), "Small Spaces" (1996), "The Japanese Dream House" (2001), and "The Very Small Home" (2005), all published by Kodansha International. He became an associate professor of architectural design at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology in 1995, and currently holds a position there in the Department of Media Informatics.

General Fields

  • : 9784805312544
  • : Tuttle Shokai Inc
  • : Tuttle Shokai Inc
  • : 0.411
  • : February 2013
  • : 254mm X 191mm X 18mm
  • : Japan
  • : May 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Azby Brown
  • : Paperback
  • : 333.720952
  • : 240
  • : Illustrations