What to Learn From Each Culture

Having been able to experience both Western and Japanese culture, Nick Kemp has his learnings from each culture and shares some values that he wants to see from each culture.

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There's always something to learn from each culture.

Caitlin: You know, in our conversations in Ikigai Tribe things, in the book, you do talk a lot about the time you spent in Japan, but you're back in Australia now. And I think you're really honest about how you love elements of Japanese culture.

But there are also some things that you actually prefer a bit from the west and, and you're very even and you're looking at both, and you kind of look at them side by side and say both of them have great things to offer.

And I think that's one of the reasons why actually this concept and your book, in particular, are accessible to a global audience. It is because you're saying you can take these elements from all around and put them together to create your own kind of philosophy.

And I'm just interested in thinking about, can you pick a particular Japanese practice that you wish was more widespread elsewhere? And perhaps can you think about something from the West that you wish the Japanese could do a little bit more so that we could have balance across the piece?

Nick: Yeah, this is a really good question. I love this question. So I think for the West, something that I'd love to see here in the West that I learned in Japan is to talk things up less

And I think if you go on to any social media, people are talking about this best version of themselves, or striving to be this version, striving to be this best version of themselves. Or we hear phrases like zone of genius, or we're crushing it or bring it on.

And yeah, I mean, I used to love that idea of I being the best version of yourself. But it's just something you never hear in Japan, and Japanese are very humble. They're very focused on what they do. And they don't talk like this.

It's kind of so refreshing just to think about, and for some reason, in the West, we've got to sort of bump our chests or show off a little. And it's almost a little bit embarrassing. So yeah, I hope we can learn from Japanese to talk things up less.

And for Japan, I think, and this is probably a bit more serious, but I wish Japanese could ask for help more. They have so many social problems, loneliness, depression, this incredible problem of hikikomori, where these young men shut themselves away for years and years of suicide. 

And there just aren't enough government support services. And I think Japanese have this shame associated to asking for help. So I wish there were more support services, and I wish Japanese felt more comfortable asking for help, even just from family and friends.