The Japenese Secret | Hamro Patro

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The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

   Aavash Malla - Jul 14 2023

“IKIGAI: The Japanese Secret To A Long and Happy Life” is a Japanese self-help book which was published in 2017. IKIGAI is a mysterious word which has different meanings, it is formed from two Kanji characters: 'iki'「生き」meaning life, and 'gai' 「甲斐」 meaning worth. To make your life worth living is the main objective of this book.

According to the Japanese,everyone has an ikigai–what French philosophers might call a raison d’être. IKIGAI is within everyone of us while some have already found it, some are still in search of it.Being patient is the key to finding our ikigai according to the people who are born in Okinawa,the island with the most centenarians in the world, “our ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning”.The book ikigai is the reminder to all os us that even if we don't find our ikigai we still should be in search for it.The first rule is to not retire and the motive to not retire is that the more active you stay the more possibilities there is for you to find your ikigai. If you have ever been to Japan you might have noticed that Japanese people usually work till very old and most of them don’t even retire. In fact there is no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense of “leaving the workforce for good.” Maintaining proper diet is also a major factor which helps us to find our ikigai also it keeps our body healthy which leaves us the choice of living our life long.In Okinawa,woman in particular live longer and have fewer disease than anywhere else in the world.The five regions identified and analysed by Dan Buettner in his book The Blue Zones are — Okinawa,Sardinia Italy,Loma Linda,The Nicoya Peninsula and Ikaria Greece. One of the most common sayings in Japan is “Hara hachi bu” which also can be called { 腹八分目 } which means to eat food until your stomach is 80% full.For more than a century we have managed to only add an average of 0.3 years to our life expectancy every year.But what would happen if we managed to add a year of life expectancy every year we would achieve biological immortality,having reached ageing’s “escape velocity”. There is a classical saying “mens sana in corpore sano” (“a sound mind in a sound body”).If we are able to keep our minds active our body automatically responds to that and becomes active as well having a youthful mind also drives you towards a healthy lifestyle that will slow the ageing process.Just as lack of physical exercise has negative effect upon our body and mood,lack of mental exercise is bad for us because it causes our neurons and neural connections to deteriorate.A lot of sitting will also age you faster.About 80% of the people think that we all need a reason for which we can continue living and about 60% of the people think that we have someone or something worth dying for. “We are what we repeatedly do.Excellence,then,is not an act but a habit”-- Aristotle.Going with the flow is something that we should all learn but we should achieve flow for going with it so the best way to achieve flow is to choose a difficult task (but not too difficult!) and have a clear,concrete objective.Being simple doesn’t always mean being bad or poor, sometimes being simple is also the key to happiness.Some words from the longest living people in the world are as simple as “Eat and sleep.and you’ll live a long time.You have to learn to relax” and “If you keep your mind and body busy,you’ll be around a long time”.We should never stop learning while we grow old we learn many things and it never stops.This book also teaches about some exercises which we can do to live a long and happy life.

The key to a happy and long life is believing in yourself that you are capable of doing the things that you want to do by removing all the negative thoughts. Our mind finds peace which helps us focus on the task we are doing and we should do it with clear ambition.

Ikigai is a book which first came to being on a rainy night in Tokyo,when the authors of the book sat down together for the very first time in one of the city’s tiny bars.The authors had read each other’s work but had never really met which was because of the Thousands of miles that separate Barcelona from the capital of Japan.A year later when they met again they strolled through a park in downtown Tokyo and started talking about trends in Western psychology mostly logotherapy which helps to find their purpose in their life.The setting mostly takes place in Japan but in various places such as Ogimi and OKinawa.The book also mentions The Five Blue Zones in which they include Okinawa-Japan,Sardinia-Italy,Loma Linda-California,The Nicoya Peninsula-Costa Rica,Ikaria-Greece.

IKIGAI is a wonderful book which has helped me to change a lot of my behaviour and turn bad habits to good. It teaches us the meaning of life in various forms.Ikigai is a word with different meanings. It teaches us how to stay young while growing old and many more things like going with the flow and how to live longer and better by finding your purpose. But what I mostly learned from this book is that little things add up a lot to our life.Loving yourself and putting yourself above other people is simple mindset which we should develop to helping others and enjoying our life till the fullest.The things which I learned from this book is that we should not worry much about things, cultivate good habits, nurture your friendships every day and live a unhurried life by doing exercises which helps to improve both physical and mental health.We should follow our ikigai, reconnect with nature, take it slow, live in the moment and most importantly smile and live a happy and peaceful life.Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot about Japanese culture,their lifestyle, what they eat and how to live a life of longevity.I highly recommend this book to all of the people it teaches us to stay happy even in the most uncertain way possible.

Reviewed by: Aavash Malla
Grade: X, Machhapuchhre
Roll no: 26001
Author: Hector Garcia, Francesc Miralles
Published by: Penguin Books

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