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Guiding You in Designing Your
Modern Lifestyle with 
Nature, Flow, & Purpose 

What is Shizen Style?


ShizenStyle is a guide to designing your own lifestyle of  bringing nature, creativity, and flow into your modern life.


Photography, Japanese garden design, Shakuhachi bamboo flute playing, etc. can all be forms of self-expression.

I explore various Japanese aesthetics and concepts like Wabi-sabi, Ikigai, Yugen, and Shizen and how they help balance a natural lifestyle in our busy modern world.

Shizen (自然) is the Japanese aesthetic concept of “nature,” “naturalness” and the "spontaneous," There is a creative design and purpose behind Shizen. It is not raw nature, or wilderness, but... 


Why Join the Shizen Style Community?

This is a place to learn, grow, and share. You can share your opinions and artistic projects, like your home Japanese garden ideas or the latest photography, and get helpful feedback from me and other like-minded people in the membership.  

This is a membership community for those wishing to lead a lifestyle with nature, creativity, flow, and purpose.


With topics and programs around boosting your creativity in photography, Japanese garden design, Japanese culture, etc., the overall goal is to build and sustain a creative high-flow lifestyle with Ikigai (life purpose).

The growing library of video courses and other resources provides the backbone of learning, but it's the monthly online get-togethers and connections with others in the community that provide the accountability and grit needed to continue.

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All-Access Pass

to a Wide Range of Video Courses & Resources

Support From an Online Community of Like-minded Flow Seakers

Available at a Click of a Button

How Ikigai (Life Purpose) & Flow Changes Our Lives

Heightened creativity

Harvard found subjects to have THREE DAYS of heightened creativity after the flow state. Carry the creativity afterglow into your personal life, garden design, artistic pursuits, photography etc.

Increases productivity

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McKinsey found a 500% increase in productivity by executives who regularly access flow states.

Increases creative problem solving

We are more open to 'Aha' experiences. Ikigai allows us to be open to new and overlooked pathways. 

The University of Sydney found flow state subjects to have a 430% increase in creative problem solving!

Improves attention & concentration

Flow triggers like 'Rich Environments' and 'Awe' improve focus and attention.

Ikigai guides us in taking small steps with clarity.

Outdoor photography particularly benefits from Nature-related flow triggers. 



My name is Joshua Smith, PhD. and I am a photographer, shakuhachi player, and small business owner. My goal is to inspire others in their search for their own Shizen lifestyle - that's a modern life filled with creativity, flow, and nature.

I received my Master's and Doctoral degree in Cultural Sociology (Japanese Studies) from

Osaka University, in Japan.


Having lived, worked and studied in Japan for many years, this is the inspiration I draw upon for this melding of styles.

My studies in flow state science and Japanese aesthetics and concepts like Wabi-sabi & Ikigai, inform the way I help guide others in growing their photography, Japanese garden design, and overall wellbeing with a balanced lifestyle of nature and flow.

My wife Satomi is the head chef at our Japanese restaurants and has a deep understanding of nutrition and Japanese culinary traditions. My daughter Miana is also a budding photographer and part of the team. My son Kazu is currently finding his flow in playing the electric bass. My family and I split our time between Buffalo, NY and Japan.

What is the Flow State?


An optimal state of consciousness where you feel your best and perform your best. It’s those moments of undivided attention and total absorption, where your mind, body, and spirit are focused on the present.  Action and awareness merge and you develop a calm awareness of your surroundings. 

Flow is meditation in action

The Photographic Flow Roadmap is here to help you develop a flow-prone environment where you access this flow state on demand, improving your photography, and boosting your creativity and life satisfaction. 

Let's Stay Connected

Subscribe to our newsletter and get some inspiration and tips about Japanese gardening and culture, photography, and flow, as well as updates about upcoming courses & classes.

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