WABI-SABI: Alone, these two words have individual meaning. Wabi refers to humility or humbleness, and simplicity, while sabi denotes an appreciation for the aging process and the well-worn patina of time. While there isn’t a direct translation in English, together these words combine to hold meaning for an intuitive approach to life that focuses on finding beauty in imperfection and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay.
THE FIVE PILLARS OF IKIGAI: This Japanese concept that means “a reason for being,” similar to the French phrase raison d’être. Everyone in society has an ikigai, attained through a long process of soul searching. This personal discovery is an important part of the culture, and finding one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.
Pillar 1: Starting small
Pillar 2: Releasing yourself
Pillar 3: Harmony and sustainability
Pillar 4: The joy of little things
Pillar 5: Being in the here and now
AESTHETIC PRINCIPLES: Incorporating various forms of beauty is an important framework for the way Japanese people live each day. These 7 Zen Aesthetic Principles guide the Japanese approach to design.
- Kanso – simplicity, and elimination of clutter
- Shizen – naturalness
- Datsuzoku – break from routine
- Fukinsei – asymmetry or irregularity
- Shibui – understated beauty
- Seijaku – energized calm
- Shibui – austerity
WELLNESS: Beauty and health are embedded in Japanese culture. You could say that wellness is a national religion. For starters, the diet is full of skin-supporting foods like oily fish, seaweed, green tea, and fermented foods. Beyond diet, Nipponese people still partake in the tradition of bathing in an onsen, a natural hot spring, for health and vitality. The calisthenic practice of radio taiso has been an important start to the day for almost a century and is broadcast to music on public NHK radio early in the morning.
Photo: Jessica Ruscello via Unsplash