A man who has committed to a diet primarily composed of rice and pickles so he can retire early has gone viral on Japanese social media.
Minimalist lifestyle: Sato Hideaki, 45, has been living a minimalist lifestyle for 20 years now in a bid to be able to retire by age 50 with 100 million Japanese yen in savings (approximately $702,000). Hideaki’s financial journey, which he has recently documented on social media, involves doing away with all luxuries and drastically cutting down on expenses.
His frugal diet is often accompanied by wild vegetable juice and vitamins for essential nutrients. This Spartan diet has allowed him to so far set aside 93 million yen (approximately $652,000).
Cost-saving strategies: Hideaki lives in an apartment provided by the company that employs him, where the monthly rent amounts to just 1,505 yuan (a little over $200). Despite the apartment’s worn tatami mats and aging walls, Hideaki has opted not to undertake repairs as they are still functional. In the absence of a functioning rice cooker, Hideaki ingeniously devised a makeshift cooking method using a grill, an alcohol stove, and repurposed cans and milk cartons.
Fine diming: Hideaki ‘s convenience store membership card earns him points to redeem a variety of essential items such as energy drinks, bread, biscuits, eggs, cheese, milk, bean sprouts and tofu. He then tailors his daily meals based on what he can obtain for free from the convenience store.
He also receives free rice noodles, cooking oil, instant noodles and local specialties as perks from listed companies that he invests in stock trading. Using the monthly meal coupon his company provides, he gets to enjoy beef rice, grilled salmon, croquettes and salad.
Hideaki’s sacrifices: To achieve his financial goals, he also had to let go of his relationships, including a potential marriage to his now ex-girlfriend. While some may view his lifestyle as extreme, Hideaki maintains that he finds satisfaction in its simplicity. According to Hideaki, his financial choices are guided by his desire to break free from the constraints of a demanding job and embrace a life of leisure.
Local media has also covered Hideaki’s story, further igniting online discussions about the balance between financial security and personal fulfillment.