The Hikarui Lifestyle - The concept I live by

 

HIKARI/AKARUI (光/明るい)

(THE JAPANESE WORD FOR VISIBLE LIGHT / BRIGHT OR LUMINOUS LIGHT I.E. NATURAL LIGHT)

+

KARUI (軽い)

(THE JAPANESE WORD FOR LIGHTWEIGHT)

=

HIKARUI (ひかるい)

 

This concept is based on the above and how we can integrate it into our own lifestyles and work ethic. Not to bore you, (and I tried to simplify this - as it is a concept built on simplicity but... since this is the introduction, I had to fully explain the reasoning behind it) but basically I needed a new way of surviving life. I needed a calm mind and a decluttered home. I needed a way to battle my anxiety, fears, overthinking and misinterpretation of things. I needed a way out of being so overcome with stress that it affected my health, my friendships, relationships and me. I knew I couldn't change my personality and despite my flaws shouldn't change who I was. I just needed to take a step back, reassess and figure out if I was going about life in a way that was best suited to me, not for others.

And so "Hikarui" was born.

This is something that can be applied differently to each person. Everyone is different and the simplicity of this concept was intended to create a simple yet strong foundation, where you would be able to grow, adapt and learn accordingly.

 

THE CONCEPT

click to enlarge and zoom in

Hikari / Akarui (光/明るい)

authenticity

raw human emotion

nostalgia

timeless

imperfect

in the moment

Karui (軽い)

uncluttered

stress-free

subtle

unpredictable

organic growth

intentional

 

Inspiration #1:

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The Japanese film director, producer and animator best known for his work for Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation studio. His most well-known films include Spirited Away (my favourite film of all time), My Neighbour Totoro (a film I grew up with and reminds me of my childhood), Princess Mononoke and Kiki's Delivery Service to name but a few. I plan on doing a more in depth blog post about why he inspires me so much, but it only hit me recently that subconsciously, his films and he himself had been the base inspiration for everything that I do and create and I finally understood why. I just always thought I loved the artwork, and the storylines, but it goes way beyond that, and that is to do with authenticity, relatable characters, human emotion and nostalgia he evokes through his artistry. I'm an incredibly empathic person, some may say too much so. So this was something I wanted to learn how to channel so it didn't take over my emotional state.

Inspiration #2:

I have been greatly inspired by Marie Kondo and her simple yet effective method of decluttering and sparking joy. It really started with this and how I did this within my own home. I wrote a blog post about the way it has changed my life here. I decluttered and began to dispose of, donate or sell things that no longer brought me joy. It was a difficult thing to do at the start and in all honestly I chickened out the first time round and didn't get rid of as much as I could have done. So a year later, i did the exact same thing and was so much more confident and brutally honest with myself about everything in my life and home that didn't spark joy. It was revolutionary. I've been a hoarder all my life, and someone that held onto hope and "what ifs", and without realising, it took over my mental state, and my productivity. So this was the first thing I changed.

Inspiration #3:

Muji. For those of you that know me or are starting to get to know me will know my love for Muji. A home store selling good quality simple, effective, practical things we all need in our day to day lives. 無印良品 (Mujirushi Ryōhin)literally means No Brand Quality Goods as also stated on the European website. I love the neutral colour palette they use for everything, the quality of their products for an incredibly affordable price and how, not so much in Europe but in Japan, I can think of something totally random that I need and the likelihood is that they will have it and it will literally slot into my life and streamline it. My dream is to work with them one day.

 

Of course so many people, places, objects, environments, travels etc have inspired me along the way, but I looked back and thought about what has stayed consistent in my life and what has caused me so much stress and anxiety that I needed a change. These were the main three things that floated to the top of the list of what caused a huge impact on me and propelled both subtle and immediate & large-scale change.

I needed a way to deal with life in the moment of now, but I also needed the ability to escape every now and then. In the same way that fantasy worlds are brought to life through literature, film and music, I wanted to do the same through my visual storytelling and photography but wanted to create a world that was approachable, realistic and authentic, with flaws, but equally beautiful in both real life and on camera and a way for you or the viewer to escape momentarily, but doing it in a way that was attainable for them to achieve also. Hayao Miyazaki does this so incredibly well, which is why I was so attracted and touched by his films.

You are raised a certain way being told you have to approach work and life in a certain manner and people questioning your methods, and I really struggled with that. Why couldn't I be completely authentic and perform to the best of my ability being wholeheartedly just me? One of the reasons I knew I couldn't work for someone forever was because I knew I was too stubborn to not be able to execute things on my own or come up with my own ideas, or make my own mistakes. It still took me 3 - 4 years to finally let go of misconceptions and other people's perceptions of the working world or how we "should" be and I'm still figuring it out but I'm a lot more sure of myself now. One huge misconception is that we figure things out and that's that, but no, we will spend the rest of our lives figuring things out and learning and changing, and we need to accept this and roll with it and use it to our advantage not shy away from it or think we constantly have to reach perfection cuz that ain't ever gonna happen my friend.

 
I choose simplicity, natural beauty and the imperfect over the overdone, perfect and tampered with.
— Chikae

The beauty of simplicity is that it leaves more to the imagination. This idea of less is more. Negative space plays a huge part in everything I see and therefore photograph, and in the same way, stillness is equally as important. Through stillness and more negative space, we don't need to offer an explanation, it leaves room for interpretation. I LOVE that. Psychology plays a huge part in the creative world and how people interpret things in different ways, it's quite fascinating. Human sensibility is a complex yet amazing thing. I know that not everyone is going to like this concept or get it, or like my work. I accept that and love that because fundamentally I know I'm doing it for me and for those that do love it, I am willing to teach and stimulate visually and aesthetically and connect with them.

As much as I love seeing other people's work that are beautifully styled and full of wonderful props, objects and mor, it was something I could never force myself to do, so I leave that to them and admire it from afar.

It’s not about the external flare but about the internal subtleties
— The Essence of Humanity by Channel Criswell
 

And so I leave you to mull this over. This is really the tipping point of where "Hikarui" stems from and over time I would love to share more with you about what got me here and how. But now you know, this is my lifestyle, the way I travel, the way I live, the way I decorate, the way I work and photograph. The idea is not to necessarily use all of the above at the same exact time, but to feel what feels right in the moment and what is appropriate. For example - my floral arrangements are far from simple, they are wild, overgrown and take up a lot of negative space, but they are inspired by nature which is authentic, nostalgic (reminiscing about the english and Japanese countrysides that I love so much), flawed, imperfect. I may however, then choose to take a photograph of the mere corner of the arrangement and leave 80% as negative white space because that's actually what I felt like portraying. Make a judgement call and stick with it. Art is subjective, so if it feels right to you, who cares what other people think. Go with your gut and what feels true to you in the moment and your creation.

 

Important side note

Now as much as I try not to alter things too much from its original state and change things up, with photography and design, there are certain times when we have to tweak because the world we live in unfortunately calls for an element or curation and styling. There is nothing wrong with this and I admit that this is something I have to do sometimes, but I go about it by still applying the above principles and minimise any alterations that may need to be made. Once you understand the imperfect balance of certain curation vs a minimalistic approach it will change the way you do things and see the world and apply that to your creative world. For example, I work only with natural light and the environment that already exists around me. This therefore sometimes means that I have to move an object to a different part of a room or outside to take a photograph of it so that is has ample light, enough to be captured.

This remains within the parameters of everything I have spoken about. Make it your own, these aren't rules, just a guide.  

 

#thehikaruilifestyle

 

What I do may be unconventional but I am no traditionalist. I will be growing organically with this concept and I would love for you to grow with me, that is why I have created the hashtag on Instagram#thehikaruilifestyle that I would love you guys to start using based on this concept. What I love about this concept is that the way that I interpret this will be very different from you. That's why I am so excited to see what you come up with! Be very intentional however with what you post, as I will be choosing my favourite 3 images every month to feature on my blog! I wanted to do this so that I could see how you have interpreted this concept for yourself and what you come up with and to spread the word!! :) I am so proud of this concept that I have worked so hard to put into practice and put into words to change my life for the better, and I hope that it can help you out with your creativity, life and then some.

Phew that was a mouthful! I would really love love love to hear your thoughts and comments down below about whether or not this might be something you could apply to your own lives, something you already do, or if there are any posts you'd like me to do to elaborate on how I apply this to different aspects of my life to paperwork, travel, organisation, camera gear etc etc (I have many backlogged already, but would love to know what YOU want!). And remember to subscribe for workshop news and journal updates! :) Have a lovely weekend.

would you like a feature on my blog? I'd love to feature you if...

You fit the above criteria. I want to support small businesses, start-ups and people and create a little niche hub that allows people to connect and share their passion. Email me at chikae@chikaeoh.com and let me know why and how you are living the Hikarui Lifestyle! Image quality and standards have to fall within my aesthetic so please try and adhere to this. Looking forward to hearing from you! 

 

Have a lovely weekend!