As featured in “The Travel Issue” by Whalebone
(Originally published Winter 2019)
Disclaimer: Whalebone Magazine, still, has never been to Japan. That’s not saying we’ll never go but at this rate, it’s looking bleak. However, this feature is not about us, it’s the story of Accidentally Wes Anderson: Japan Edition. Just letting you know…they could have made up this whole thing and we’d have no idea. Sayonara.
Buddhists might call the term “wabi-sabi” a fact of existence: both life and art are beautiful not because they are perfect and eternal, but because they are imperfect and fleeting. Nothing lasts, nothing is perfect. In fact, the term is Japanese and a combination of two words. “Wabi” which means things that are fresh and simple and “sabi” that means things whose beauty stems from age. Wabi-sabi is accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality. And no one that Whalebone knows celebrates that reality and wabi-sabi more than the folks at Accidently Wes Anderson (@AccidentallyWesAnderson).
We cannot confirm if they are Buddhists but they did recently venture over to Japan, so they say. Accidentally Wes Anderson is an idea that we feel makes the world suck a little less. This is not just because they are nice guys. While it exists largely as a popular Instagram account, after sitting down with the small team of folks behind the “project,” as they call it, fresh off that recent trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, we feel it would be uncivil to call Accidentally Wes Anderson just a social media account or project. Maybe it started that way but it seems it’s on a path to much more.
Remember, as the Buddhist would say, bringing the reality of wabi-sabi into your life depends on your ability to slow down, to shift the balance from doing to being, to appreciating rather than perfecting. We sure do appreciate Accidentally Wes Anderson and the way they turn us on to things like the interesting hole-in-the-wall coffee shop run by the 103-year-old man four blocks from somewhere on the top 10 list—true story—that guy exists in Tokyo. Or how they seek out the stories behind the beautiful facades they spotlight and aim to expose a communal group of awesome Adventurers and Thinkers to the world of opportunities “beyond the top ten lists.” But at the same time, they run with a keen sense of humility, and that seems to be their best characteristic—which is devastatingly refreshing in a world of entitlement with social media “influencers.”
Community drives our approach and without them, @AccidentallyWesAnderson (as a concept, much less a social media account) would not be half as fun or even... exist.
“Community drives our approach and without them, @AccidentallyWesAnderson (as a concept, much less a social media account) would not be half as fun or even… exist.” Further style points hit the scoreboard on why these guys are the best thing in our feed on a consistent basis with comments like this: “We are the most critical consumers of our own content. If it doesn’t make us smile or think more deeply, the image or story doesn’t make the cut. Submissions come in at a rate that will fuel daily inspiration for years to come.” They are said to receive more than 3,000 user submissions on recommendations of places to spotlight each month. That’s a lot of meatballs.
It looks as though the future of Accidentally Wes Anderson is being placed in their own hands and out of Mr. Z’s, with a substantial email list, revised website and several key partnerships on the horizon. But the goal of their efforts remains to help others develop their travel bucket list, share a bit of (dependable) delight, provide a small escape from the daily grind, and hopefully entice people to dig a little deeper and celebrate what is there…even if it’s not perfect. Wabi-sabi, kemosabe. The following is a spotlight on a recent trip Accidentally Wes Anderson took to Japan and was kind enough to share along.