My Idea of a Good Life

Tim Bunting AKA Kiwi Yamabushi on Zao-san

Leverage Value That Wasn’t There Before

At the start of 2016, I arrived back in Japan from my Nana’s funeral. The day I got back to work at my side job, I was given a letter telling me I was being let go. Four months later, I got the worst phone call possible for anyone living overseas: my dad had died completely unexpectedly.

All in the space of 5 months.

If anything, these were all major wake-up calls for me.

In spite of this, I refused to let myself be a victim, and still do. Thanks to that, there were some pretty good lessons to be learned.

First, that I could be let go from a job straight after a funeral taught me that your boss doesn’t have an obligation to look out for your best interests. If you’re superfluous for a job, you’re superfluous for a job.

Dead relatives be damned.

At the very least, find a way to look after yourself that doesn’t rely entirely on the whim of someone else. Luckily for me it was a side gig. Although, now I do believe I would be able to stand on my own two feet if I were to lose my main job (knock on wood or whatever).

Second, Dad dying was a huge catalyst. If anything, it only entrenched the look after yourself part. Also, he was only two or so years from retiring from a job he really didn’t like. He’s proof that retirement isn’t guaranteed, so why work a job you don’t like?

From that point on, my attitude to work changed completely. I no longer think about working solely for the sake of earning money. If I did, I’d probably be in Tokyo or Osaka like the rest of them.

I’d probably also be working like a slave in a job where every day looked the same.


Love it or hate it, though, money is a necessity in our daily lives.

The key therefore is to find a way to support your living that allows you to be yourself while also exploring your creativity. Bonus points if it’s stuff you’d do anyway, for example in retirement. Hence this blog, my YouTube, and a number of other projects I’m working on.

I’m nowhere near making enough from these endeavours. Yet, at least. I also do enjoy my day job, and I’m in no particular rush. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself, which may be the resistance in disguise.

Either way, I think if you’re able to, you really ought to try an alternative to the retire at 65 hullabaloo.

These days I’d recommend making a substack or some other newsletter to exercise your creative bone. A daily blog is good too, or something else you do on a regular basis that provides value to the world that wasn’t there before. If you do it on the side, you really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Who knows, you may even be able to retire from it. Then all you’d be left with is something you wanted to be doing anyway.

My idea of a good life!



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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