Embracing the Power of Small Joys

As we age, we come to understand the significance of the small pleasures in life. This rings true for Masayuki Matsubara, who developed an appreciation for these little joys during his life's journey.

Finding small joys

Nick: I remember you being quite fluent the day we met, and that was a strange day when we met, and we'll touch on that. But let's touch on music. I see you as a professional musician. You're incredible at composing, playing music in many styles; you can play piano, saxophone.

I believe music is a source of ikigai for you. I've seen you play, and when you play, you seem to lose yourself and you slip into this flow state. So is music a strong source of ikigai for you?

Masayuki: Absolutely. I'm deeply moved by the sound I create, and it becomes a powerful source of ikigai for me.

Nick: Nice. Well, as you know, I've been running this podcast and business on ikigai for a while, and I guess it's quite unusual for Japanese to think, here's someone doing a podcast and they've got a business related to the concept.

So how do you understand ikigai and what does the word mean to you? Because I don't think we ever discussed it. We discussed other words, but not ikigai. So what does the word mean to you?

Masayuki: I guess, ikigai is the purpose of life. Although, as I get older, I realise the purpose of life is to find small joys in daily life and be moved by them. But when I was younger, I only felt ikigai when I achieved a goal or something.

Nick: That's interesting. Because when we met, we were very ambitious and purpose-driven or goal-driven, and we achieved quite a lot together. But I think I'm very like you in that regard, that the small things in life add up to a meaningful life.

I guess when you're young, you have this ambition and think 'If I achieve this goal, that's it. Life will be perfect.' And we know that's not the case. But the journey of achieving the goal is often very life-changing.