You work so much that you forget about food and don’t have time for coffee with your friends? Or maybe you focus on something so intensely that you don’t even mind a stubbornly ringing phone? Stop! Slow down, stop. Probably the ikigai philosophy is knocking on your door. Let her into your house!
Okinawa is a Japanese island whose inhabitants have probably discovered the source of their youth. They grow older and live longer than their countrymen – most hundred-year-old Japanese live here!
Researchers of this phenomenon claim that there are several factors that favour maintaining good health until old age. These are: family life, diligence, sensible nutrition, the cult of traditional craftsmanship, physical activity.
Japanese ikigai theory – the universal key to happiness
If you think that ikigai is a new lagom, you are close to understanding the Japanese concept. Both theories have in common the praise of a moderate life, being in friendship with nature and enjoying ordinary things. However, while Swedish philosophy emphasizes the balance between private life and work, the Japanese pay more attention to professional fulfilment.
According to the ikigai, one should find the meaning of life, for which it is worth getting out of bed in the pale dawn. You should enjoy what you do – even if you “just” deliver packages or weave baskets. Also appreciate the repetitive and monotonous activities you do. Focus on your tasks and don’t think about the consequences – higher salary or promotion shouldn’t bother you, work is an end in itself. And if not, find another key (passion, hobby) to open your own door to happiness.
Ikigai at home – don’t let the arrangement bother you
Ikigai can inspire you to change the arrangement of your home. However, before you start living “in Japanese”, assess whether this style suits your needs and will suit your taste. It’s a good alternative for you if you don’t like the hygge-herbet and you’re much closer to a moderate lagom.
The interior proper Japanese idea should include:
- subtle colours that will not interfere with work and rest;
- natural materials that indicate harmony with nature;
- simple forms that will emphasize peace and functionality of the interior;
- a lot of light that allows to work at different times and encourages physical activity;
- necessary equipment, because you must have a place for work and hobbies.
Ikigai cannot be equated with wabi-sabi style. Although both concepts have a Japanese pedigree and are minimalist, wabi-sabi arrangements seem raw and imperfect – as a result, they often lack the gentleness that ikigai seeks.
Ikigai style living room – sit back and… drink green tea
Find something that gives you satisfaction and start earning it. Or do everything you can to make even the most ordinary job enjoyable. Unfortunately, the Japanese concept seems to be difficult to implement when everyday life and routine starts overwhelming us. So make sure that the living room becomes a safe refuge, where you can relax after a stressful day and gain strength for your next professional struggle.
In an ikigai style salon nothing can “disturb” your rest, so get rid of the patterned and bright accessories. Replace them with subdued textiles that will make your interior warm and cosy. Hang bright curtains in windows that won’t block out daylight.
If you want to surround yourself with decorations, reach for objects made of glass, wood, seagrass, canvas and metal – even in such little things, it’s worth showing that you want to live close to nature.
Furniture in Japanese style is characterized by simple forms and lack of decorations – such furniture includes, among others, the Kyoto collection. Both lacquered and wooden furniture will be suitable, as long as it has restrained shapes and calm colours.
Instead of open shelves, choose chests of drawers and closed showcases – you will get an orderly effect and you will not waste time on vacuuming your trinkets. After all, ikigai is about spending as little time as possible on things that don’t make you happy.
Plan the lighting so that every corner of the site provides opportunities to read a book, fill in documents. Use wall sconcescents, table and floor lamps and even ropes with small lamps to light up your space.
Choose minimalist forms that don’t ruin the harmony and quiet mood. Plan the lighting so that every corner provides opportunities to read a book, fill in documents. Use wall sconces, table and floor lamps, and even ropes with small lamps to light up your space. Choose minimalist forms that don’t ruin the harmony and quiet mood.
Ikigai bedroom – get some sleep and practice yoga
Don’t play! – that’s the basic rule you have to follow if you want to live in Japanese style. That’s why only the necessary furniture should appear in the bedroom, i.e. bed, wardrobe or chest of drawers, bedside tables. You can replace the latter with shelves or cabinets screwed to the wall. Leave as much space as possible – “Spartan” rooms are simply easier to clean. Besides, you get extra space for yoga or other physical activity.
The bedroom – even the minimalist one – shouldn’t run out of bedding and cosy accessories like bedspreads, blankets or decorative pillows. And if you have plenty of room in your bedroom, you’ll also need something to store accessories – for example, a wicker or wire basket.
Ikigai Kitchen – Cook for pleasure
The inhabitants of Okinawa are not happy – moderation is their key to staying healthy until old age. The principle of less is also worth applying when designing a Japanese fashion kitchen. Cabinets in a subdued shade, without handles and cutters will be best.
If your kitchen is large, add a wooden table at which all members of the household will sit down to a shared meal – caring for family ties is one of the basic principles followed in Okinawa.
To break Japanese minimalism a little bit – and at the same time stay in line with style – add some extras to the arrangement. Place a stone mortar to grind herbs and a granite cutting board on the top, and store wood or bamboo instruments on the wall railing. At the same time, try not to clutter your countertop, especially if your kitchen is open to the living room – in an ikigai arrangement, items shouldn’t distract or disorderly.
Ikigai bathroom – find a moment to calm down
In the bathroom you symbolically “wash away stress and fatigue”, so it is worthwhile to “silence” the room to the maximum. Hide all the cosmetics that are on the washing machine, bathtub or washbasin – hide them in a cupboard or put them in decorative baskets. Add a few style elements, such as bamboo accessories, a wooden shelf or plants in a pot. Finally, add towels and rugs in a shade similar to the colour of the interior – let the arrangement remain subdued.