Japan is a country that’s not only super fascinating but it’s distinct and incredibly unique. Those that are lucky to visit the country often leave with a profound and lasting impression. Japanese culture is like no other, there are many interesting aspects (both modern and traditional) spanning from cuisine, art, fashion and architecture.
OSU is actually inspired by one of the most ancient Japanese traditions - drinking apple cider vinegar. Japanese culture is submerged in this abundant, amazing and cool history – it’s no surprise that it stands as one of the most prominent cultures around the world. Because of this, we thought we’d share the crème de la crème of Japanese culture and tradition that you should incorporate into your life.
Ikigai – Having a Purpose in Life
In Japan, many people have Ikigai (pronounced ick-ee-guy) – a reason/purpose to life. Ikigai originates from the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is claimed to have the largest population of centenarians across the world (we talked about this a bit more in our ‘Japanese Nonagenarians’ article). Okay, so you’re probably wondering how do I get Ikigai? The best approach is to think of what you’re good at and what you love doing, your Ikigai will come from the intersection of those two things.
Discovering your own Ikigai could help bring happiness, joy and fulfilment – it could even make you live longer like the residents of Okinawa (we hope!). We suggest you make some OSU & Ginger Tea, grab a pen and pad and jot down what you’re good at, what you love, what your values are and what you can get paid to do.
Whatever aligns in the middle of all of this is your Ikigai. For example, you could realise you’re good at listening to people, you love your family, your values consist of honesty and humility and you can get paid at your current job. Your Ikigai would revolve around being a good person for everyone around you, no matter the context. Better yet, you can follow our handy meditation guide and discover your Ikigai that way - whatever works for you!
Wabi-Sabi – Accept the Imperfect
Wabi-Sabi (pronounced wah-be sah-be) is the elegant Japanese philosophy of accepting all your perceived imperfections and making the absolute most of your life. Wabi-sabi puts a huge focus of gratitude, it embraces you to find the blessings in your life and rejoice in the way things are as opposed to how they should be in your head.
Wabi-sabi teaches you that ‘this too shall pass’, whatever negative situation you’re going through right now will pass. The great thing about wabi-sabi is that it’s everywhere. The concept doesn’t discriminate or favour a certain demographic over another. You don’t need money, training or skills – wabi-sabi is there for you in its entirety.
Something as simple as regular gratitude journaling can help you embrace the wabi-sabi mindset. Take a minute to stop and think about everything that you currently have, let yourself feel the gratitude. Pause for just a second and think about your current life situation and just accept it for what it is, this isn’t going to be easy for some but is a necessary start. Lastly, remember when you wanted what you currently have now? That is wabi-sabi.
Kaizen – Make Good Changes
The Japanese word of Kaizen (pronounced kai-zn) simply means good change. This concept is submerged in the idea of you making better changes that have positive and long-lasting effects in your everyday life. Kaizen requires a few constants in order to actually work: you need to practise self-discipline, rid of what doesn’t add value to your life and establish the best way to do things. All of these things can be moulded and shifted in a way that right for you, below are two examples:
If you’re looking to be more productive at work – to adopt kaizen, we would suggest you self-discipline by giving and sticking to the work deadlines you set, remove what doesn’t bring value to your work day by switching off disruptors like a phone or TV and establish the best way to do things by simple trial and error or what works for you and what doesn’t.
If you’re looking to be a better friend – to adopt kaizen, we would suggest you self-discipline by making sure you’re always present when talking to your friends, remove what doesn’t add value by distancing yourself from friends who don’t make you feel good and establish the best way to do things by keeping a honest and open communication with your friends.
Something as simple as incorporating our OSU Apple Cider Vinegar drink into your daily life, is one small step in kaizen. People have been drinking Apple cider vinegar for centuries, making it the perfect good change for less healthier things like a can of soda.  You can purchase your own bottle of our OSU Original or our OSU Blueberry and Pomegranate today.
Mottainai – Nothing Goes To Waste
Mottainai (pronounced moat-tie-nigh) is used to express feelings of regret when something is wasted without being put to its full use. This concept will be popular among those of you that absolutely refuse to throw away those 10-year-old jeans or that random thing you bought a while back that you have never used. That being said, Mottainai is not to be confused with hoarding.
Mottainai encourages people to look beyond the throw away culture and find meaning and value in everything you have in life in both a figurative and physical sense. As of recent times the environmental industries have embraced Mottainai to promote a low waste, more efficient society.
You can practise Mottainai by going through what you have, this can range from clothes and food to people in your life, and finding value in every single thing. If you come across something that brings you zero value, whether it be a bad person in your life or a game you have no desire to play – let it go (in the most sustainable way possible). Mottainai is a healthy, positive take on decluttering your life, also decluttering is something we explore in our Self Care Tips blog.
Ofuro – Steaming The Day Away
In Japan, no daily habit is as sanctified as soaking in a steaming bath or shower at the end of the day. This is referred to as Ofuro (pronounced o-fuhro), this tradition focuses on allowing you to cleanse, heal and relax.
No matter what kind of day you’ve had, let the steam, heat and fragrances of your steamy bath or shower bring your mind and body to a deep state of well-being. How you spend your time while practising ofuro is up to you. At Team OSU, we’d love for you to practice ofuro as a means to reflect and come up with new bright ideas. Don't forget, ofuro is unique and tailored for you by you.
Why Embrace Japanese Culture?
Like we mentioned at the start Japan is an integral part of the OSU brand and there are so many aspects of this beautiful country that we’ll share with you over time. Japanese culture is reflective and grounded is a sense of constant self improvement and inner fulfillment.
The traditions we have listed can act as a means to building long term positive changes to your mindset and to relieve issues like stress and panic. For now, these are the top philosophies/habits that we believe you should try to start seeing positive changes into your life. So, try out all of these Japanese habits and let us know how they improved your life via Facebook or Instagram.