Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days: An Ode to Hobbies and Crafted Contentment

Society often conditions us to believe happiness is a destination reached through external achievements.

We chase promotions, strive for social status, and yearn for romantic fulfillment, hoping these things will bring lasting joy.

Yet, these external factors are often fleeting and unreliable. A promotion can lead to burnout, social circles can shift, and relationships can dissolve. In essence, these are not independent and not sustainable.

The myth of external happiness is a well-known cliche. And yet, many of us continue to pursue it, much of the time.

Maybe we keep doing so because we are afraid that without pursuing those external goals, our lives will feel empty and meaningless.

After all, a sense of meaning is all we’re after.

Hobbies: An Independent, Sustainable Source of Contentment

The space left by our external quest for happiness can be filled by hobbies.

Hobbies are inherently different from other types of activities—they are aimed inward, and they have ourselves as the end goal.

Sure, hobbies usually involve the external world, but our pleasure is the aim of our hobbies, nothing else. This is why it is perfectly okay to suck at your hobby while being bad at your job, or as a romantic partner, is less okay.

Well-crafted, hobbies can fill our lives with independent and sustainable contentment. Hobbies offer a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and fulfillment.

This is how Hirayama lives his life in Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days.

Hirayama is a public toilet cleaner in Tokyo living in what many will describe as an awfully boring life.

He doesn’t have a high-powered career, an exciting romance, a picture-perfect family, or a bustling social life. And yet, he finds joy in it.

(In an interview, the director, Wim Wenders, shares that he imagined Hirayama’s past life as a businessman, successful yet miserable).

The foundation of Hirayama’s contentment is a crafted routine, inlaid with hobbies.

Hirayama’s Hobbies Collage

Reading

He returns to his apartment and continues reading his book. It’s interesting, just as the used bookseller said. It wasn’t popular in its time, but it’s a good one.

Days of HIRAYAMA

Houseplants

A handmade pot created by opening a hole in the bottom of a teacup holds a small maple sapling. Its leaves are made more magnificent by its diminutive size. After carefully watering the maple, Hirayama flicks the leaves.

Days of HIRAYAMA

Photography

He remembered that as a boy he had taken pictures so that was one thing picked up again […] Photography for him became an act of saying thank you to the light.

Hirayama’s origins

Cycling

He pedals through the city streets, immersing himself in the sights and sounds, finding a sense of freedom and connection with the world around him.

Music

He always plays cassettes with the songs he fell in love with long ago. This is where we find his routine, in which he takes pleasure in the small coincidences that flow from the tapes.

Hirayama’s Collection

Architecture

The unsung heroes of Hirayama’s Perfect Days are the toilets, which are part of The Tokyo Toilet project and were designed by renowned architects. The toilets are integral to Hirayama’s daily aesthetic journey – offering moments of reflection and respite.


【THE TOKYO TOILET】 introduction video
【THE TOKYO TOILET】 introduction video (English version)

Observing

He loves trees and gazing at komorebi, the shimmering of light and shadows that is created by leaves swaying in the wind.

Hirayama’s Story

Collecting

He carefully collects cassettes, books, plants, developed pictures, and visual memories that are curated into his dreams.

Explore Hirayama’s music and book collection

Doing Nothing

While James Randi once quoted an ‘anonymous reader’ saying that ‘Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby’, we believe doing nothing is a hobby. Possibly the best one.

The Dutch call it Niksen, and it is similar to mindfulness and meditation, though not exactly the same.

Fill Your Life with Hobbies and Contentment

Consider trying one of Hirayama’s hobbies, or finding other hobbies that suit you ⇀


PERFECT DAYS | Official Clip | Now Streaming
PERFECT DAYS | Official Clip | Now Streaming

Where to Watch Wim Wender’s Perfect Days?

Visit JustWatch to find streaming options at your location.


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