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How you start the day could determine how long you live 

The inhabitants of Okinawa, known to live longer than people anywhere else in the world, call it ikigai - that feeling of wanting to jump out of bed in the morning.

books Updated: Sep 16, 2017 21:42 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
East China Sea,World War II,Hector Garcia
Nurturing friendships, eating light and exercising moderately are all part of the equation of good health. (iStock)
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret To A Long and Happy Life
  • Author: Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles
  • Publisher: Hutchinson London
  • Price: Rs 679.99 (Kindle edition)

Okinawa, a Japanese island in the East China Sea is a character in itself in Okinawa (you might know it as the place where 200,000 lives were lost at the end of World War II).

The inhabitants of Okinawa are known to live longer than people anywhere else in the world, and authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles interviewed more than 100 villagers to determine their philosophy for a long and happy life.

As it turns out, that philosophy can be summed up in a single word: Ikigai, Japanese for ‘reason to jump out of bed every morning’, something most of us occasionally need help with.

Garcia is a citizen of Japan, where he has lived for over a decade, and of Spain, where he was born. He is the author of several books about Japanese culture. Miralles is an award-winning, internationally best-selling author.

“Bring meaning and joy to everyday with ikigai,” begins the introduction to their book. The work is both inspiring and comforting, and helps you discover personal tools to find your ikigai.

A rural town on the island named Ogimi, home to 3,000 people, is famous for having the highest life expectancy in the world. It is even nick-named ‘village of longevity’.

What’s the secret? Okinawans live by the principle of ‘ichariba chode’, a local expression that means “treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before”.

“It turns out that one of the secrets to happiness of Ogimi’s residents is feeling like part of a community. From an early age they practice ‘yuimaaru’, or teamwork, and so are used to helping one another,” the book states.

“Nurturing friendships, eating light, getting enough rest, and doing regular, moderate exercise are all part of the equation of good health, but at the heart of the joie de vivre that inspires these centenerarians to keep celebrating birthdays and cherishing each new day is their ikigai.”

First Published: Sep 16, 2017 21:42 IST