Tips from the Book “Ikigai: the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life”

Okinawa Diet Longevity

The book “Ikigai: the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles was a surprisingly wonderful read. Over the years, I’ve read many articles on the subject of Blue Zones and longevity and most of them are quite repetitive, but I do recommend this book as there is a lot of wisdom in it. It focuses on happiness through being busy and making the most of every moment. It studies the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100 year olds.

It makes sense that spiritual seekers and wannabes would like to live the longest, healthiest lives possible both to advance spiritually and to be of service in that growth. Spiritual values are congruous with healthy living and being the best that we can be.

These are my bullet points from the book which list some of the things these long lived people do:

  • Diet: Very low in salt. No or very little sugar. Fish three times a week. After fish, the next most frequently eaten meat is pork. Everyone eats rice every day.
  • Eat the rainbow of a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. 
  • 5:2 fasting is when you eat normally five days a week and on two days a week eat less than 500 calories. Or, for seven days a week, eat until not quite “full”. 
  • Say “hi” to everybody. Greet everybody. Don’t be shy. Don’t be an agoraphobe. Some of them stand on street corners and greet all children going to or returning from school, for example. This is a daily routine that helps connect them and feel a sense of purpose.
  • Do social activities. Get involved in the neighborhood. Be very social. Live to see friends each day. This is what brings joy. Visit or play games together.
  • Help each other. 
  • Bike and walk.
  • Have rituals. Have celebrations. Laugh a lot.
  • Make something with your hands, baskets, painting, etc. Keep doing it. Have faith that it is what you are supposed to be doing and carry on doing it. Many in this culture never retire. They find meaning and pleasure in working.
  • About 100% of this village gardens, does gardening as an activity. 
  • Have tea together. Drink green tea. Drink Jasmine green tea (Sanpin-cha). White tea might be even better in antioxidant content.
  • Be relaxed and calm always. Don’t worry. Be happy.
  • Do Tai Chi or Qigong. The Japanese elderly do simple radio exercises, too. 

There is much more in this light, easy, and fast to read book. It would also make a great gift.

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