From Hygge to Ubuntu – Buzz Words to Live By


ikigai japanese in the momentIkigai, pronounced ‘icky-guy‘, is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to ‘reason for being‘. In French, it is often phrased raison d’être. When the hype surrounding Hygge died down a little, Ikigai made a vivid appearance on the internet. Like many of you, I heard the phrase for the very first time just a few months back. However, in Japan, Ikigai has been a predominant concept for many centuries.

Francesc Miralles and Héctor García, co-authored a very popular book on the topic, called ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’.

In the book, the writers explain that that every person on this planet has a purpose in life. It could be acing an exam, progressing in your career, having kids, discovering your talents, or even becoming globe-trotter. Ikigai is the reason you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

After learning about it I asked myself the very same question. Why do I get up? My heart answered. I simply love my quiet time in the morning with my warming cup of tea way too much to delay it. Well, that and plenty of other things. They keep me going.

Many people have a hard time finding their ikigai. Sometimes it is a lengthy process to discover your true self and worth. In Japan, it is important for life to have meaning. Apart from work, there should be some hobby or other activity that gives you internal satisfaction.

García goes on to explain that in Japan, retirement is frowned up as it has an overall detrimental effect physically and mentally. Older generations usually take up a new task or hobby that keeps them active and spiritually engaged. This is may be, one of the reasons why younger generations in Japan look up to senior citizens.

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