Mindfulness in Japan

There's no place like home, there's no place like home..... or is there?

After hopping around southeast Asia, I made my way north to Japan. And although different from home in so many ways, there is an odd familiarity about this place that I love!

It's cooler temperatures, divine cuisine, and mindful people made for a warm welcome after sweltering, crowded days in the south!

At times in southern Asia, I found myself really missing home and some of it's simple comforts I take for granted - like air conditioning. I never complain about the weather, but this was a heat that created a level of fatigue I've never experienced before.

But beyond my mild heat stroke, there was this disconnection between "us and them" that I couldn't put my finger on until I arrived in Japan. And then it hit me....


I felt human again!

Almost constantly, I felt separate from most of the people in southeast Asia. I felt like a tourist (which I was), just serving as a means to an end for those peddling goods and services. I don't want to overgeneralize - these countries are beautiful and the people are kind. But my experience was one of separateness (this is probably why my last blog was about the people I actually connected with!).

So what's different about Japan?

The Zen in everything.

From how they greet each other (bowing in respect) to how they cross the street (never jaywalking), there is an immense awareness of how their behaviors impact others. They move with intention and attention to others. This makes everything run more smoothly, especially in their populous cities. 




We vs. Me

Concern for others, even just in our minds, changes our behaviors. We’re more understanding, more patient, and more kind.

The culture of a society has a huge influence on this, making it not so easy for you try this new Japanese mindset. But it can be done. 

What do you think you would do differently if you were more thoughtful of others? 

To find out, you need a plan to be more mindful:

1- Try setting an intention for the day, and remind yourself throughout. “I will be kind and peaceful to all.”

2- Take breath breaks. Slow, mindful breathing really improves our ability to stay in the moment and be conscientious.

3- Create the space. Give yourself the space and time you need to get things done. Half the times we’re irritated is because we’re running late or rushing around. You can stop that practice.


Collective efforts to be more mindful and respectful of others can really influence our society at large. And what kind of society would you rather live in? One that is considerate of all, or just fends for themselves?  I thought so!

Here’s to a more mindful week!