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(Archive) Hara Hachi Bu Dorp

Testing ground for enough instead of more

This project was part of DDW 2021
Drawing by Arne Hendriks

A circle of secondhand gardensheds, renovated and ready for a new life. Not grand, not aimed at accumulation but at togetherness. Here we practice what it means to take a step back. Here enough is enough, here we go for 80% instead of it all.

One fingerstep back

Several years ago after arriving on the Japanese island of Okinawa counterfactual designer Arne Hendriks was welcomed by a small and elegant old lady, Madame Kuranari. After she presented him with a wonderful meal of local molluscs with miso and seaweed she said: ‘Hara Hachi Bu’. When he expressed that he didn’t understand she placed her right hand on her left arm and with two fingers took 5 steps. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then she took one finger-step back and picked this fifth imaginary step from her arm and reached out to give it to him saying: Hara Hachi Bu.

Keep a bit of space

Later he learned that Hara Hachi Bu means: Eat until you are 80% full. Don’t eat until you can eat no more but eat until you are no longer hungry. Keep a bit of space. This simple advice for leaving 20% space led Hendriks to the initiation of the HHBU, Hara Hachi Bu University. A place of study and storytelling, a place of practise, a place to collectively reflect on what it will take for the human species to take a 20% step back.

After practicing and studying the principles of Hara Hachi Bu for two years with students of Design Academy at MU and with participants of ecovillage Ppauw and students in a forest near Wageningen University DDW invited Hendriks to present Hara Hachi Bu at Dutch Design Week 2021 as one of the projects in sync with it's overall theme The Greater Number.
This time Hendriks builds a Hara Hachi Bu Village, a lively circle of re-used townhouses - as a testing ground for doing less, for taking a step back, for enough instead of more.

Drawing by Arne Hendriks