Japanese words of wisdom

12 April 2021


In their bestseller Ikigai, Spanish authors Francesc Miralles and Héctor Garcia revealed the Japanese secret to a long and happy life: having a reason to get up in the morning. After that they released another book called Ichigo-ichie, in which they share the Japanese-inspired key to experiencing unforgettable moments. Read more to find out.

Literary scholar Francesc Miralles and engineer Héctor Garcia have made it their mission in life to share as many Japanese secrets as possible with a wide audience. Their latest work follows on from the success of previous books such as Shinrin-yoku, Find Your Ikigai and Ikigai, in which they explored why the Japanese island of Okinawa is home to more healthy and active centenarians than any other place in the world. Their main findings: the inhabitants stop eating when they’re 80 per cent full, and they’re surrounded by a close-knit group of people who share the same interests and always ‘have their backs’. And what may be the most important feature of their lifestyle: they never retire, but make sure they always have a purpose in life: a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

‘Cherish each moment as a treasure’
In their latest book, Francesc Miralles and Héctor Garcia reveal a new Japanese secret that brings people joy in life: ichigo-ichie. The idea for their book of the same title was born when the authors were in a teahouse in the old town of Kyoto – home to the last geishas – waiting for a downpour to let up. As they were sipping their tea, they noticed a pillar with an inscription of characters pronounced phonetically as ichigo-ichie, which roughly translates as: “This moment is unique, we will never relive this moment and must therefore cherish it like a treasure.” The message inspired them to reflect on other moments in their lives that would never return, the fact that they might not have paid enough attention to those moments, and what a shame this was.

We all hold the key
“In this era dominated by sound bites and a million distractions, in this throwaway culture of poor listening skills and superficiality, we all possess the key that can reopen the door to attention, peaceful interaction and love of life,” Garcia and Miralles write in their book. The name of that key is – you guessed it – ichigo-ichie.

Don’t get stuck in the past or lost in the future, but make every moment the best moment of your life! Or, as Miralles and Garcia write in their book: ‘Each encounter and each experience we have in our lives is unique and precious and will never be repeated the same way. If we miss out on that opportunity without enjoying it, it is lost forever.’

Be sure to heed their advice and, who knows, it could end up transforming your life!

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