4 Japanese words to live better

by Marzia Parmigiani
10 minutes read
4 Japanese Words to Live Better

What is the Japanese word for life?

4 Japanese words to live better. “Life” in this language is jinsei (人生), a word formed by two kanji meaning respectively “person” and “life”. This can be translated as the “life of a person”.

Where do you stand in your life? Do you feel satisfaction with your surroundings? In what mood do you spend your days? Do you feel you are living your life fully?

If you feel positive feelings in answering these questions, we are really happy for you. But if not, perhaps this article is for you.

“Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do good and great things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it. Believe in yourself”.

Gordon B Hinckley 

Below, we will discuss 4 Japanese words for better living. But remember that also LCN app can improve your life’s quality. These are important Japanese expressions to learn in order to achieve personal fulfillment and happiness.

Each of us has the responsibility to strive for full self-realization. Achieving balance in life, is not only a right, but a real duty to ourselves.

Is Japan a happy country? 4 Japanese words to live better!

Japanese wearing kimono and umbrella in Japan -4 Japanese words to live better woman

Our society has brought well-being that is often only apparent, as the intimate human need for commonality and emotional closeness often remains unfulfilled.

Compared with other developed countries, people in Japan are no so happy, and despite the increase in the welfare of living standards, many Japanese feel dissatisfaction.

But the good news is that the Japanese language is a continuous source of inspiration to reflect on our times.

Indeed, there are wonderful, some well-known Japanese words that illustrate concepts to help you live better, from a psychological as well as a physical perspective.

4 Japanese words to live better: Ikigai (生 き 甲 斐)

Ikigai (生 き 甲 斐) can be translated by the Western expression “reason for living” and is related to a fundamental principle, namely the goal of finding satisfaction and meaning to one’s life.

However, Ikigai also has a deeper meaning, specifically, it embodies the reason why we get up in the morning and what gives us drive and enthusiasm. It expresses the fundamental idea of having a purpose, a motivation to make life worth living.

In life, it is not always immediate to find meaning. Everyone’s existence is peppered with ups and downs. That is why it is essential to cultivate dreams and plans and to have goals to pursue.

So, if you have not yet found Ikigai, no fear: it is a long process that requires determination, deep reflection and awareness of desires in all areas of life.  However, beginning to question these aspects is often enough to create more clarity. You may try to ask yourself: “What should I really do”? “What really makes me happy”?

Ikigai mainly refers to 4 areas:

  • What you love: passion and mission;
  • What you are good at: passion and profession;
  • The skills you can get paid for: profession and vocation;
  • What the world needs: mission and vocation.

As you can understand, Ikigai is a long journey, and in order to seek your meaning, you should not be in a hurry or stress further. And it is discovering what we intimately enjoy, having the right motivation, and developing the opportunity to do the things we are skilled at – in tune with our values – that connects us spiritually to others and makes us feel important.

4 Japanese words to live better: Wabi-Sabi (侘 び 寂 び)

Wabi Sabi (侘 び 寂 び) comes from ancient Buddhist teachings and translates to embracing the impermanence and incompleteness of things.

The expression carries with it the union of “wabi” and “sabi” where the former term is ascribed to an appreciation for modesty and simplicity; while the latter refers to the beauty that comes from consumption.

It is expressed through traditional Japanese art forms: the Tea Ceremony or the tending of Zen gardens, for example, convey the tenuous and transient beauty represented by Wabi-Sabi.

So, Wabi-Sabi tells of the beauty of the impermanent, the beauty hidden in imperfection; the respect for what is temporary and fragile.

How to apply Wabi-Sabi in everyday life? 4 Japanese words to live better!

But how to use this concept in everyday life? Well, Wabi-Sabi urges us to accept certain realities-the imperfection and finiteness of things-and the “non-eternity” of what surrounds us.

This Japanese word facilitates acceptance of our flaws, reinforces the possibility of feeling gratitude. It invites us not to be shallow toward what we might at first glance reject or snub.

4 Japanese words to live better: Shinrin-yoku (森林浴)

Shinrin-yoku (森林浴) comes from the words “Shinrin” which translates to “forest” and yoku means “bath”. The expression sums up an important concept in Japanese, which is “bathing in the forest”. But what exactly does it mean?

Shinrin-yoku is based on the simple idea of cultivating the habit of taking walks in nature in order to have refreshing benefit on body and mind.

In fact, it is well known that a walk has the ability to improve mood with immediate effect: psychologists and psychiatrists support this, as being outdoors surrounded by nature is really good for our health.

Try focusing on the sound of the wind, the sunlight, the scent of the plants and the color of the sky: all promote a reduction of stress and give relief.

Once you have identified the ideal place, it is important to focus on your senses, focusing on the here and now, to make the most of this experience and let your body and soul fully grasp the Shinrin-yoku.

4 Japanese words to live better: Mottainai (もったいない)

We conclude our list of 4 Japanese words to live better with Mottainai (もったいない).

This is a basic concept of Japanese culture, which is useful for understanding the way the Japanese think. As you know, Japan is an island nation that has few natural resources and a high population. Therefore, it is easy to understand how necessary it is to avoid wasting resources.

The word Mottainai translates to “what a waste”, however, it has a deeper meaning. In fact, it has to do with taking care of one’s possessions, of avoiding wasting food or water. This word gives importance to respecting nature and resources that may end up in the future.

For example, Mottainai is currently a term used greatly by environmentalists in order to encourage people to “reduce, reuse and recycle”. Mottainai has to do with the transformation works of vintage kimonos, when sandals, bags, chopstick holders, and fans are made from them.

Why Japanese language is beautiful? Precious important Japanese words to learn

Yes, Japanese language is beautiful because it is full of expressions that can hardly be rendered in Western languages such as English.

There are important Japanese words to learn offering many insights. This idiom has several words that teach how to live better. And if you keep these concepts in mind and try to introduce them into your daily habits, you will notice with practice significant changes in terms of mental and physical well-being. But in order for change to be generated in your life, you must not be in a hurry, but arm yourself with perseverance, patience and time.

Therefore, learn to focus on yourself, try to give your thoughts the proper space, and keep the teachings of these Japanese words in your heart. They could really take you to new directions and perspectives, improving and empowering your journey in this life.

1 comment

What is Blue Monday 2023? An astonishing psychological explanation - The LCN Firm Blog January 25, 2023 - 11:20 AM

hope I gave a clearer view of our psychological functioning. And if I can’t persuade you that Monday doesn’t have to be a blue day, at least I hope


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