The Japanese will teach to live up to 100 years


The rest of the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun are not far behind the Okinawans. According to a 2015 UN study, the Japanese live to an average of 83 years. All over the world, only Hong Kong can boast of such a life expectancy. What is the secret of longevity? Today we will talk about 4 traditions that make the Japanese happy – and therefore prolong their lives. 


Okinawans don’t diet, work out in the gym and don’t take supplements. Instead, they surround themselves with like-minded people. Okinawans create “moai” – groups of friends who support each other throughout their lives. When someone reaps an excellent harvest or gets a promotion, he rushes to share his joy with others. And if trouble comes to the house (death of parents, divorce, illness), then friends will certainly lend a shoulder. More than half of Okinawans, young and old, are united in moai by common interests, hobbies, even by place of birth and one school. The point is to stick together – in sorrow and in joy.


I realized the importance of the moai when I joined the RRUNS running club. From a fashionable trend, a healthy lifestyle is turning into a common thing with leaps and bounds, so there are more than enough sports communities in the capital. But when I saw the races on Saturdays at 8 am in the RRUNS schedule, I immediately understood: these guys have a special moai. 

At 8 o’clock they start from the base on Novokuznetskaya, run 10 kilometers, and then, having freshened up in the shower and changed into dry clothes, they go to their favorite cafe for breakfast. There, newcomers get acquainted with the team – no longer on the run, but sitting at the same table. Beginners fall under the wing of experienced marathon runners, who generously share running tricks with them, from choosing sneakers to promotional codes for competitions. The guys train together, go to races in Russia and Europe, and participate in team championships. 

And after you ran 42 kilometers shoulder to shoulder, it’s not a sin to go on a quest together, and to the cinema, and just to take a walk in the park – it’s not all about running! This is how entering into the right moai brings real friends into life. 


“Enough! From tomorrow I start a new life!” we say. In the list of goals for the next month: lose 10 kg, say goodbye to sweets, quit smoking, exercise three times a week. However, another attempt to change everything immediately ends in a crushing failure. Why? Yes, because it becomes too hard for us. Rapid change terrifies us, stress builds, and now we’re guiltily waving the white flag in surrender.


The kaizen technique works much more efficiently, it is also the art of small steps. Kaizen is Japanese for continuous improvement. This method became a godsend after World War II, when Japanese companies were rebuilding production. Kaizen is at the heart of Toyota’s success, where cars have been progressively improved. For ordinary people in Japan, kaizen is not a technique, but a philosophy. 

The point is to take small steps towards your goal. Do not cross out a day from life, spending it on general cleaning of the entire apartment, but set aside half an hour every weekend. Do not bite yourself for the fact that for years your hands do not reach English, but make it a habit to watch short video lessons on the way to work. Kaizen is when small daily victories lead to big goals. 


Before each meal, Okinawans say “Hara hachi bu”. This phrase was first said by Confucius over two thousand years ago. He was sure that one should get up from the table with a slight feeling of hunger. In Western culture, it is common to end a meal with the feeling that you are about to burst. In Russia, too, in high esteem to eat up for future use. Hence – fullness, fatigue, shortness of breath, cardiovascular disease. The long-lived Japanese do not adhere to diets, but from time immemorial there has been a system of reasonable food restriction in their lives.


“Hara hati bu” is just three words, but there is a whole set of rules behind them. Here is some of them. Get it and share with your friends! 

● Serve prepared meals on plates. Putting ourselves on, we eat 15-30% more. 

● Never eat while walking, standing, in a vehicle or driving. 

● If you eat alone, just eat. Do not read, do not watch TV, do not scroll through the news feed on social networks. Distracted, people eat too quickly, and food is absorbed worse at times. 

● Use small plates. Without noticing it, you will eat less. 

● Eat slowly and focus on food. Enjoy its taste and smell. Enjoy your meal and take your time – this will help you feel full. 

● Eat most of the food in the morning for breakfast and lunch, and leave light meals for dinner. 


As soon as it appeared in print, the book “The Magic of the Morning” circled Instagram. First foreign, and then ours – Russian. Time passes, but the boom does not subside. Still, who does not want to wake up an hour earlier and, in addition, full of energy! I experienced the magical effect of the book on myself. After graduating from university five years ago, all these years I dreamed of studying Korean again. But, you know, one thing, then another … I justified myself by the fact that I do not have time. However, after slamming Magic Morning on the last page, I got up at 5:30 the next day to go back to my books. And then again. Once again. And further… 

Six months have passed. I still study Korean in the morning, and in the fall of 2019 I am planning a new trip to Seoul. What for? To make a dream come true. Write a book about the traditions of the country, which showed me the power of human relationships and tribal roots.


Magic? No. Ikigai. Translated from Japanese – what we get up for every morning. Our mission, the highest destination. What brings us happiness, and the world – benefit. 

If you wake up every morning to a hateful alarm clock and reluctantly get out of bed. You need to go somewhere, do something, answer someone, take care of someone. If all day you rush like a squirrel in a wheel, and in the evening you only think about how to fall asleep sooner. This is a wake up call! When you hate the mornings and bless the nights, it’s time to look for ikigai. Ask yourself why you wake up every morning. What makes you happy? What gives you the most energy? What gives your life meaning? Give yourself time to think and be honest. 

The famous Japanese director Takeshi Kitano said: “For us Japanese, being happy means that at any age we have something to do and have something we like to do.” There is no magic elixir of longevity, but is it necessary if we are filled with love for the world? Take an example from the Japanese. Strengthen your connection with your friends, move towards your goal in small steps, eat in moderation and wake up every morning with the thought of a wonderful new day! 

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