Experiencing the Feeling of Ikigai

How can one experience ikigai? For Mayumi Kojima, performing tea ceremonies has become an outlet for her to experience ikigai, urging her to incorporate the concept into her work as a naturopath.

What brings you joy and makes you feel alive?

Nick: We connected through Facebook, and I think we'd seen each other for a while because we were mentioning ikigai in our posts. And you started a group, IKIGAI - Live Life to the Fullest. I think it would be helpful for you to share how you understand or define ikigai or what it means to you.

Mayumi: So I'm going to talk through my experience, is that okay?

Nick: Yeah, for sure.

Mayumi: So, during my naturopathic study and working at the same time, it was a lot of stress as well. For some reason, when I was in Japan, one year, I picked up the book called Nichinichi Kore Koji Tsu, meaning Every Day is a Good Day.

So it's about the main character developing herself through the Japanese tea ceremony. She was feeling lost, a university student, and her mother recommended her to practice tea ceremony which is just a couple of blocks away from her house.

At the time, like I said, before she felt lost, and through the Japanese tea ceremony she grow. I resonate myself very much with her, that's me. And then, for almost the same time, when I was reading or just about to finish the book, I found a tea ceremony club in Cairns.

One of the member was opening a 10th year anniversary of her business. She's a Japanese language teacher, and doing the tea ceremony as part of the anniversary. So I went there as a guest. And as soon as I finished the tea ceremony gathering with them, I said, ‘Oh, do you seek full member? I would like to be a member.’ So I became a member.

And then I started talking to my partner, I think the Japanese tea ceremony has become sort of a feeling of ikigai— I feel alive and it just brings me joy, and brings me to the sort of the moment. Be mindful. So I started using the word ikigai naturally for some reason.

That was year 2019, just before the COVID started, we are at the airport and my partner was at the kiosk and picked up the book, one of those book about ikigai. And I’ve gone through the content, and I thought some of the contents were pretty good in naturopathy. Because they talked about basic lifestyle recommendation and stuff like that.

So I wanted to share the ikigai word with my clients. And I thought, why not create a twist and share it and then connect with like minded people. So that's how I started.

Nick: Yeah, that's interesting, how you found ikigai in something, I guess, familiar. And quite simple, but I guess traditional Japanese art, where you practice mindfulness and appreciation. And we might even call it something quite simple, really.

So it’s the small things or the simple things. But I guess for you, it might connect you back to your culture as well, and make you feel grounded or whole. So that's an interesting answer. I don't think anyone's ever answered that way before. So thank you.