Wabi-sabi is a concept I've been obsessed with since Ito-san casually introduced me to it a few months ago. Like many words, phrases and concepts in Japanese it is nearly impossible to explain or define, even in Japanese. Part of the mystique, I suppose. Ask any Japanese person about wabi-sabi and they will invariably say, "Ah, muzukashii desu." (Ah, that is difficult). For me, with my limited understanding of it, wabi-sabi is Japan. It is the very essence of all things Japanese. It is that je ne sais quoi that I love about this country and its ways. What's odd is I feel I've known wabi-sabi my whole life; I just didn't know there was a term for it, and that the term was Japanese.
Author Leonard Koren wrote a thin volume on the subject in 1994 which I purchased. He describes it thusly:
"Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional."