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This Single Reason Will Convince You To Go To Japan At Least Once In Your Life

This Single Reason Will Convince You To Go To Japan At Least Once In Your Life

What do you think of when you hear the word “Japan?” Do you think of postcard-pretty parks strewn with cherry blossoms? Do you think of sushi and other delicious dishes? Or perhaps Japan brings to mind your favourite J-Pop bands and anime shows? Maybe you picture the land of beautiful aesthetics — of origami crafts and ikebana flowers and gorgeous kimonos?

We could give you a thousand reasons why everyone should visit Japan at least once in their lifetime and be awed by the simple and mindful ways of living, the colourful folktales and local culture, and the minimalist decor, but simply put, the best reason is this: Japanese people are very polite.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/16228551621/sizes/l

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Source: Flickr

The Magic Of Omotenashi

“Omotenashi” or “Japanese hospitality” is a way of life in the land of the Rising Sun. The Japanese practise politeness and kindness not only to minimise conflict, but also to promote greater peace and harmony in this troubled world. They not only believe that kindness should be repaid with kindness, but also emphasize that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Whether you’re a foreigner or a native, a day in Japan will include several random acts of kindness.

Historical Traditions

Politeness

    Source: Flickr

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    The Omotenashi tradition can be seen in their formal tea ceremonies as well as the codes of conduct in martial arts. Omotenashi, which can be literally translated as the “spirit of service,” is closely related to the meticulous tea ceremonies which are considered a sacred ritual by most people. It not only involves the process of tea making and the right way of flavouring, but also the picking of appropriate bowls, creating the right atmosphere for the guests, decorating the place with flowers and lights, and treating guests with extreme reverence without expecting anything in return. The guest too reciprocates with kindness and gratitude.

    The ethical code of the samurais, also known as “Bushido” or the “Way Of The Warrior” also stresses fair play, control over one’s emotions, and respect for everyone — including one’s enemies. It is thus a complex code that highlights the need for discipline and adherence to one’s morals and honour, somewhat similar to medieval chivalry. This code not only governed all samurai battles, but also extends to cover day-to-day interactions with people in society. Omotenashi combines both traditions and offers a path to creating a happier and harmonious life, in tune with nature.

    Random Acts Of Kindness

    Oh - the politeness!

      Source: Flickr

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      If you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ll know that Omotenashi is infectious and can be observed everywhere. Foreigners too are at an advantage, for the Japanese culture stipulates that greater politeness should be shown to those outside one’s group — especially strangers and “gajin” or the “outside people.” You might remember random people bowing to you as they sat beside you on the bus and even when they got up. Those suffering from the common cold often wear surgical masks to prevent the spread of infection. If there’s some new construction work to be done in the locality, neighbours often gift boxes of washing powder to clean the clothes from the inevitable dirt and dust.

      If you’re planning a trip to Japan, don’t be surprised if a random stranger volunteers to help you with directions or offers you free advice. Restaurant staff will greet you with an enthusiastic “irasshaimase” or “welcome” and a bow. Even the machines practise politeness. Taxi doors open automatically, and if you’re waiting for a long time, the lift is sure to apologise. Even the toilet seat will spring to attention when you step in.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/15927296051/sizes/l

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      Source: Flickr

      A trip to Japan is sure to herald some spiritual growth in the visitor. Not only will it teach you to be more well-mannered, but it will also inspire you to be an empathetic human being and do your best to make the world a better place.

      Featured photo credit: Kristoffer Trolle via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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