My father-in-law is a shokunin, a craftsman. He makes a style of traditional Japanese pottery called Shino-yaki. In Japan, the shokunin’s attitude and commitment to craft are embodied in the term shokunin-damashi; damashi means ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’, so this indicates ‘the craftsman’s spirit’ – a willingness to go above and beyond one’s commitment to their

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ShokuninMy Japanese father-in-law is a shokunin, a craftsman. This one-word translation doesn’t capture the essence of shokunin and the significance they have in Japanese culture. Shokunin make one-of-a-kind products that are highly appreciated for their simple yet sophisticated aesthetics; as a result, these masters are held in high regard and represent the closest that one

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Ikigai and flow

Flow & Ikigai

When do you feel in flow?Flow is often experienced while playing sports, music, or games, or in partaking in religious rituals. It is generally accepted as an optimal state of mind that is achieved when an individual is intensely involved in one of these activities. What is often forgotten is that flow involves a balance

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The Gambari Spirit

The Gambari Spirit

Discussions of self-improvement in Japan often involve the verb gambaru. Its noun form gambari could be translated to mean ‘endurance’, ‘perseverance’, ‘effort’, or ‘tenacity’. Gambari indicates ‘exerting effort and hard work’ or ‘persevering and not giving up’. It is a key cultural value that guides Japanese motivation and the attitudes towards life’s challenges. I use the

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