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14 Mar 2018

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles

REVIEW BY JAMES SHACKLETON

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai — which translates roughly as “the happiness of always being busy”. Some people have found their ikigai, while others are still looking. Do you have an ikigai?

9781786330895

This book focuses on Okinawa, Japan — one of five "Blue Zones" around the world, where people live longer than most. The locals eat a diet rich in vegetables and tofu typically served on small plates. In addition to diet, exercise and an active social life, their philosophy of ikigai plays an important role in their longevity.

My interpretation of ikigai is that it is more than just a hobby and less of a singular purpose. It's busying yourself with what brings you meaning and happiness. One of the tools to recognise ikigai is "flow". It's described as the pleasure, delight, creativity, and process when we are completely immersed in life. Where we lose track of time and distraction. Flow is mysterious.

This is a light and interesting read on Japanese culture and philosophy. I recommend it for those who enjoy reading about health and longevity.