Categories
Life & Philosophy

This Japanese philosophy may hold the secret to a happy work life

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” It may also hold the keys to prolonging your life.

At the intersection of ikigai is having a purpose—feeling as though one is contributing to society in a positive way gives them something to live for. Perhaps the best illustration of ikigai exists on the island of Okinawa, where some of the oldest living people in the world practice the philosophy.

A map showing the japanese concept of ikigai

While Japan’s interpretation of the ikigai is a source of value for one’s life, Westerners may use the system as a guidepost for bridging better work and life balance. If you want to better understand the meaning of the concept, consider asking these four questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What can you get paid for?

As all life is an experiment, so too is your ikigai which evolves as you age. The more you feel valued, the better.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Learn more in the video below.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology Travel

How Japan uses blue LED light panels on station platforms to prevent suicides

Tokyo runs 13 billion passenger trips each year, making its train stations some of the busiest in the world.

Using sound design and various other psychological nudges, rail stations are able to bring some order to the chaos. One of the most effective tactics has been its use of blue LED mood lighting to prevent suicide attempts.

Photo by Allan Richarz/City Lab

Writes Tokyo resident Allan Richarz for Citylab:

According to a study by researchers at the University of Tokyo published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2013, data analyzed over a 10-year period shows an 84 percent decline in the number of suicide attempts at stations where blue lights are installed.

Operating on the theory that exposure to blue light has a calming effect on one’s mood, rail stations in Japan began installing these LED panels as a suicide-prevention measure in 2009. They are strategically located at the ends of each platform—typically the most-isolated and least-trafficked area, and accordingly, the point from which most platform jumps occur. Some stations, such as Shin-Koiwa Station in Tokyo, bolster their LED regime with colored roof panels, allowing blue-tinted sunlight to filter down on to platforms.

Whether it comes to the iPhone or infrastructure, Richarz’s piece is yet another reminder of how everyday design can impact our lives.

Categories
Tech Travel

Underground bicycle parking systems in Japan

The robotic system, called the Eco Cycle, stores bikes 36 feet underground. It can store 204 bikes at a time.

To use it, you need to attach a chip to the front wheel of your bike that links to your Eco Cycle parking account. When you pull up to the Eco Cycle, it will recognize you’re a paying customer. Simply press the button and your will be taken underground.

Bikes are so ubiquitous in Japan that construction company Giken had to build an underground system to store them.

Read more

 

Categories
Arts Creativity Culture

David Bowie commemorated in Japanese woodblock prints

From Spoon and Tamago:

David Bowie, who passed away in 2016, had a very special connection – some may even call it a “love affair” – with Japan. He originally developed his affinity after taking an interest in Kabuki and was heavily influenced by the exaggerated gestures, costumes and make-up. He later went on to work with fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto on many iconic costumes, as well as with musicians like Tomoyasu Hotei and the filmmaker Nagisa Oshima. In a sense, the love affair has come full circle and now a project has been announced to immortalize David Bowie in the form of ukiyo-e woodblock prints that depict Bowie in elements of kabuki.

(h/t Open Culture)

Categories
Culture History Video

Views of Tokyo (1913-1915)

Views of Tokyo (1913-1915)

[bha size=’120×120′ variation=’01’ align=’alignright’]Last week, I blogged about a trip through Golden Gate City: San Francisco (1939). This week’s archival video goes back in time to views of Tokyo, 1913-1915.

Some observations:

  • Notice the clash of those wearing modern (Western) clothing versus the traditional feudal garb
  • A lot these kids (and their kids) probably went on to fight in both World Wars
  • The girl with the bouncing ball (see gif) has impressive football and basketball skills

Another fascinating look at black and white footage augmented with a sound for added ambiance. Be sure to check out the archival footage of New York (1911) as well.

Categories
Cool Products Tech

This hover backpack will make you jump, jump!

My dream of being able to dunk may come to reality thanks to the Lunativity Hoverpack.

Students from the University of Tokyo developed a hover backpack that frees you from gravity’s pull so you can jump and hang in the air like Michael Jordan. The rotors in the device thrust downward, allowing humans to jump 3 times higher than normal.

The team’s goal “is to augment humans’ physical capabilities.”

The Japanese students built the wearable device to “make the world a more interesting place.” While its planned use may be ambiguous, the rest of up to the imagination. The Lunativity will be a slam dunk!

For more information, check out the official website.

This hover backpack will make you jump, jump! gif