Wabi-sabi is one of those Japanese phrases whose meaning is elusive in English. On a website devoted to wabi-sabi its meaning is said to have been originally associated with sadness and loneliness, but that it now means living a simple and modest lifestyle- one that is peaceful, balanced and in tune with nature. In other words more or less the Slow Life. Another definition is that wabi-sabi recognises three simple realities- that nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. Is wabi-sabi one of those indefinable foreign phrases which comes to mean more or less what the westerner wants it to mean? I put the question to a Japanese friend and his reply is that wabi-sabi means “less is more” and that the concept is best illustrated by a Japanese garden. The concept is explained in this video, ably translated by Phil Jacobson.