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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 August 20, 2018

      35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

      35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

      Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

      But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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      The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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      While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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      While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

      If You’re Staying In

      1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
      2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
      3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
      4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
        • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
        • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
        • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
        • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
          • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
          • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
          • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
            • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

            If You Want to Get Away

            1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
            2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
            3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
              • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
              • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
              • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
              • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
              • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
              • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
                • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
                • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

                New & Exciting Experiences

                1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
                2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                  experience.
                  • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                  • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                  • Experience white water rafting.
                  • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                  • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                    • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                    • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                      • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                      • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                      • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                      Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                      Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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