The Way of Life in Japan
So as a start to the Parenting around the world series, this is the first blog to lay and set a background to our understanding of the culture, traditions, value-sets and way of life in Japan. Understanding these do have a deep and significant impact on the poplular parenting practices in Japan.
Japan has been setting examples in almost all facets of life. Japanese are famous world over for their kind and hard-working nature, modesty, politeness and formal behaviour, punctuality, intelligence and clean habits. Japanese prefer quality over price and recycle about 50% of their house products. The country is one of the top ten safe nations of the world and most things are available here at dearth cheap prices.
Many children travel independently & take public transportation alone.
As per a report in The Lancet, the Japanese child is one of the healthiest in the world. An average Japanese adult has no major illness till he attains 70 years of age. Researchers have pointed to different reasons behind the healthy status of people in Japan. One key reason is the upbringing of the kids. These are a bunch of contented kids receiving important life skills training at home and outside right from their formative years. 85% of school-going kids in Japan are reportedly very happy in school. Compare this to about 70% of school kids in California in the US who are stressed about their school work. The difference is quite obvious.
Yareba Dekiru: A japanese phrase taught to every child. It means “if you try hard you can do it!”
Ikigai is an all-embracing and motivating concept of finding true purpose in life. Statistics reveal that people in Japan enjoy a long life-expectancy and the concept of ikigai is one significant factor considered responsible for this. As part of the Japanese culture, retirement or the state of doing nothing to keep body and mind busy is considered as bad for health. They think that complacency results in getting the soul disconnected from ikigai. Ikigai gives a reason for being that translates into a life full of meaning.
A Japanese word which means “A reason for being”. The concept of finding the true purpose of Life.
Schooling and Lifestyle in Japan:
Punctuality is very important in Japan There are more free times and breaks in the school. Teachers and students clean the school every day. There are no heaters and air-conditioners in schools. In most schools there are no fans too. Lot of emphasis is given to physical activity and fitness. Kids either walk or cycle to their schools. Small kids move around in local transport like buses and trains unaccompanied and without parental supervision.
Ikkoku Senkin – A Japanese phrase meaning “1 moment, 1000 pieces of Gold”, stressing the importance of Time.
Involvement of the community in Japan:
- Regular activities for cleaning the neighbourhood and religious places are undertaken.
- Elderly people from the neighbourhood usually are there to oversee while kids cross or walk on the roads.
“One kind month can warm three winter months”. Japanese children are taught this right from an early childhood stage
- Japanese meditation practice is famous all over the world. A majority of Japanese population practice meditation that focuses on releasing stress. This practice is considered to be analogous to modern times mindfulness. Mindfulness in action can be seen in the traditional Shinto religion. Science has proven a remarkable influence on the brain’s grey matter that correlates well with the number of years a person has practiced meditation.
Meraki: A Japanese word which means – “To do soething with heart soul love & creativity”
Japanese people love staying active and busy as long as possible. This brings them a sense of happiness and life satisfaction. It is for this reason; the country has lowest expenditure on health-related issues. They are always ready and eager to learn new things and live a life full of hopes and aspirations. This keeps them positive and glowing all through their life.