Wednesday 19 September 2018

2018-The war veteran´s ikigai


                                                                EDUARDO C. GERDING



Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world: 90 years for women and 84 years for men. Okinawa has had the longest life expectancy in Japan for 30 years prior to 2000. In Okinawa there are more than 400 people over 100 years old. 7

According to Riichiro Ishida of the University of Niigata, the Purpose of Life(PIL)  and the ikigai are physiological functions that depend on the frontal lobe. Adolescence is the critical period for the development of these functions and neuronal connections are reinforced by the secretion of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and Beta endorphin 6

Note: The island of Okinawa whose capital is Naha is the largest of the Ryükyü islands of Japan with an area of 1201.03 km2.

The ikigai  4

The Japanese word ikigai is composed of two words: iki ( ?), which refers to life, and kai ( ?), "The realization of what one expects and desires." Its origin dates back to the Japanese Heian period that took place between the years 794 and 1185.

 ikigai would be a word that means value in life.

We all have an ikigai, a reason to live or to be. A reason to get up in the morning. That is, it is finding the meaning of our existence. But getting there is complicated, the search can be long and very deep. Once found, we will feel an immense happiness and an inner light that will give meaning to our life.

Ikigai is not something great or extraordinary. It is very practical, to keep it in mind every day. It is about deactivating our automatic mode by which we normally travel through life and do things for some reason.

The secret is in the small actions that we carry out every day. Japanese people believe that the sum of the small daily joys results in a fuller life.

The concept of Ikigai has many points in common with happiness, although it has one important difference:
Ikigai is what allows us to wish for the future, even if we feel bad in the present. It allows us to face the future, whatever it may be and even starting from a hard and devastating present. In the ikigai are the sum and union in a point of four fundamental plots of life: passion, vocation, mission and profession. Or, in other words, the mixture of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you earn money for.

The problem of knowing our raison d'etre is that, although we all carry it within us, not all of us find it. Some take years, almost one life, others only months, while others know their ikigai since childhood. If you want to know your own ikigai, you can carry out the exercises proposed in the manual Finding your ikigai.


The Ohsaki study 4

In 2008, researchers from the School of Medicine of Tohoku University published what is known as the "Ohsaki study", in which they analyzed 43,391 people over seven years, during which 3,048 deaths occurred. They discovered that men and women with ikigai lived longer, not only had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular problems but also from external causes. A subsequent study conducted at the Medical University of Iwate, in which more than 73,000 people were followed up for five years, came to the same conclusions.

Work and the ikigai

More and more Japanese are moving away from including work as part of their ikigai. In fact, in a survey conducted in 2010 only 31% linked both terms.
In addition, almost 25% of Japanese employees work more than 80 extra hours per month, and this has tragic consequences in the form of death, such as karoshi, which is unforeseen death due to work overload.

Characteristics of the long-lived people of Okinawa 10

1. They know their ikigai.
2. They have strong relationships with their environment: Everyone has a garden and they meet with friends. Most of the activities are volunteering.
3. They practice stretching exercises and mobility of the joints daily. They reinforce the spirit of cooperation.
4. They eat healthy. They consume no more than 7 g of salt per day. Consume 5 vegetable or fruit dishes per day. They take many antioxidant foods (tofu, miso, sweet potato). Consume cereals in moderation. They consume shikuwasas, a type of citrus that constitutes the main crop of Okinawa and that contains up to 40 times more nobiletin (flavonoid isolated from citrus peels). than the rest This substance helps protect against arteriosclerosis, cancer, type two diabetes and obesity.
They ingest very few cane sugar. They eat fish three times a week. They eat fewer calories than the rest of Japan. They stop eating when the stomach is at 80 percent capacity.
5.They are characterized by their resilience.
 The battle of Okinawa, whose code name was Operation Iceberg, was fought on the island of Okinawa, in the Ryukyu Islands, and was the largest amphibious assault at the Pacific Theater. It was fought for 82 days, from early April to mid-June 1945. The battle has been called Steel Typhoon, and steel rain (Tetsu no ame) or violent steel wind (Tetsu no Bofu) in Japanese. These denominations refer to the ferocity of the combats, the intensity of the shots, and the enormous amount of allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle turned out to be one of the ones that had the most victims, civil and military, throughout the Second World War: the totality of the deceased exceeds the quarter of a million. The civilian losses in the Okinawa campaign are estimated at between 42,000 and 150,000 deaths (more than 100,000 according to Okinawa Prefecture). One historian has estimated that US soldiers committed more than 10,000 rapes during the three-month campaign (Sims, Calvin (June 1, 2000). "3 Dead Marines and a Secret of Wartime Okinawa." NYTimes.com. ). However, instead of holding a grudge against the invaders, the Okinawans resort to the ichariba chode, which defends that all people should be treated as if they were your brothers, although you have just met them. 1,10

The 10 laws of ikigai

Héctor García (Kirai) and Francesc Miralles in his book Ikigai. The secrets of Japan for a long and happy life propose ten laws so that once you have discovered it, try to follow and feed your ikigai day by day to illuminate your existence:

1. Be always active, never leave.
2. Take it easy.
3. Do not eat until you're full.
4. Surround yourself with good friends.
5. Get in shape for your next birthday.
6. Smile.
7. Reconnect with nature.
8. Give thanks.
9. Live the moment.
10. Follow your ikigai.

Suggestions from the founders of Ikigai 9

1) Shinkansen effect. If you really want to change something, including your life, do not set yourself simple goals. You have to aim very high or you will only make up your reality.
2) Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji represents that everything can be achieved. The 'impossible' is just a mental label.
3) Ganbarimasu. If you really want your life to revolve around what you love most, you must make great efforts to achieve it. And that's where perserverance comes in. No half measures.
4) The 10,000 hours. It is the time that, according to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, he needs the human brain to become an expert in a discipline. It is very linked to the ganbarimasu and also serves to clarify whether a passion really is. If it is not, you will not hold 10,000 hours.
5) Crucial Decisions: Irreversible but courageous decisions that turn your life around. Leave a job, break a relationship or move country. Do not settle for fear with what we know does not work.
6) Negative feedback. It is very nice to hear how they put you through the clouds for how well you do what you like to do so much. But the ego is the enemy of the ikigai. You have to know how to listen and always keep the desire to learn from others. Study the criticism and improve.
7) Serendipity: These are events that happen by accident. Many of them are wonderful and necessary to get where you want to go, but they do not happen if you live passively. Serendipity requires dynamism.
8) Comfort: He has told us so much about leaving the comfort zone that sounds irritating. But dynamism is of no use if you always move within the same circle. We have to take risks. You have to experiment. You have to go through some healthy fear.
9) Uncertainty: Very related to leaving the comfort zone. According to the Ikigai authors, "finding the balance between control and uncertainty is an important key to achieve." A little spontaneity to not get bored even of your passion.
10) Mindfulness. Train the ability to be present in what you do in each moment. A challenge that optimizes and releases at the same time.
11) Travel companions. We are the average of the five people with whom we spend more time. Surround yourself with optimistic people looking to live on their ikigai
12. Joy You must persevere and make big decisions to end up living your dream, but that does not mean becoming bitter. As the authors say, "do not make the mistake of taking your goals too seriously". Face the objective with the curiosity of a child and the smile of those who already have everything.

 The Argentine War Veterans´ikigai

War Veteran Ramón Anselmo Franco

It may seem that the ikigai is a distant philosophy of life, typical of the Far East. However, here we have the case of the War Veteran Ramón Anselmo Franco who found something that he knows how to do well, for which he has passion and that is for the good of others. There is no doubt that there is enjoyment and satisfaction without wealth.

"In the Center of Veterans of Concordia there is a workshop in which wheelchairs in bad condition or broken are received from different people and repaired. Once I asked for one and since then I go every so often to look for more, when we find out about very serious cases in this area. Since we started with my wife (Lidia Angélica), we have already delivered five chairs, a walker and seven walking sticks, "said War Veteran Ramón Anselmo Franco, convinced that the cause undoubtedly changes the lives of those who had almost no hope.
"The sticks I make with eucalyptus woods with the tools that I made in my workshop". And who was two months and 20 days in the Malvinas facing the British for the sovereignty of the islands, shows how in a short time he makes the canes at the bottom of his house in the small San José.
"Now I am equipping my workshop and I am already able to repair the chairs that they send me, there are always those who need these elements and do not have the resources to obtain them. It would be very good if all those people who have a wheelchair that they do not use, give them to us and we know who to give them to them. " 5
This is the same case of the War Veteran  Guillermo Pérez who is in charge of wheelchair repair tasks through an articulation made with the PAMI (VGM Carlos Corsini), the National Government and the Center for War Veterans . Perez says: "This started in 2010, we repaired one or two chairs. And we saw that we could evacuate people's needs, but we did not have the means. There I got to know Fundación Conased, and they gave us all the logistical support. Today we have all the support of PROMAR and the Municipality of Concordia », chairs and repaired orthopedic elements are distributed through the PROMAR and the Secretariat of Human Development, Health and Environment of the Municipality to those who request it. 11

In the same way, a welder, a painter and two carpenters who are the Veterans of War Eduardo Vargas, Adrian Paulo, Julio Cardozo and Eduardo Cáceres work six hours from Monday to Friday to have lists per month 50 chairs and 30 banks belonging to educational furniture in disuse of schools and gardens of Quilmes, his city. All furniture is sanded, polished, painted and finally marked with the seal of the Malvinas War Veterans Center. 2

War Veterans Eduardo Vargas, Adrian Paulo, Julio Cardozo and  Eduardo Cáceres

The Argentine Delegation before the Joint Technical Commission of Salto Grande signed an agreement of reciprocal collaboration with the INTI, the Criminal Unit No. 3 Concordia, the Malvinas War Veterans Center, the Directorate of Disability of the municipality and Asespre (Association of Studies and Projects for the Progress of the Region); The purpose of the agreement is "to develop a project to collaborate in tasks of manufacturing and repairing support elements for the disabled, such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, games for inclusive places, walkers, etc.", according to the signed document by the authorities and representatives of the parties involved. 3
Esteban Echeverría's War Veterans Center continues its charitable campaign to fix tables and chairs for the district's schools. The initiative is a work in conjunction with the School Board. The War Veterans Center does not take vacations and continues with its campaign to repair tables and chairs of the schools of the district. As he pointed out, Fidel Boyano, a member of the ex-combatants association, has already fixed more than 700 chairs and 250 tables. The job is to weld, cut out seat covers, backs and rivets. Once the elements are repaired, they are delivered to the educational institution from which they were removed. The task is carried out in the same schools and also in the workshop of the headquarters that is located in Laprida 560 of Monte Grande that is open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 17.30.12

Resilience and Reconciliation 8


In 1944, Roy Welland (94), a former sergeant of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and Taiji Urayama (93) who was a lieutenant of the Japanese Imperial Army, fought one of the bloodiest fighting of the Second World War at the Battle of Kohima. In 2015 they met at the British Embassy in Tokyo with former Japanese Army Sergeant Mikio Kinoshita (95) who worked as an engineer on the Thai-Burma railway where more than 12,000 Allied prisoners were killed. Tim Hitchens, British Ambassador to Japan said: Today we can remember the past but also honor the reconciliation between both countries.

                                                              Roy Welland  and Mikio Kinoshita
                                               Photograph: Eugene Hoshiko/AP


1-Batalla de Okinawa-Wikipedia-
2-Carrillo Florero, Karen-Quilmes-Veteranos de Malvinas arreglan mesas y sillas para escuelas-Clarín Zonales-3/6/18
3-CTM lidera un programa conjunto para reparar sillas de rueda y elementos ortopédicos-La Voz-29/10/12.
4-¿Cual es tu ikigai? ¿Para qué vives?-Un universo mejor es posible-https://ununiversomejor.com/ikigai-la-razon-de-vivir/
5-Guerrero, Natalia-Veterano de Malvinas busca sillas de rueda restauradas y las regala-El Territorio-21/5/14.
6-Ishida, Riichiro- Purpose in Life (Ikigai), a Frontal Lobe Function, Is a Natural and Mentally Healthy Way to Cope with Stress- Psychology 2012. Vol.3, No.3, 272-276- ishida-riichiro@hb.tp1.jp.
7-Longevity in Okinawa-Wikipedia.

8-McCurry, Justin- British and Japanese veterans share cup of tea 70 years on from end of war-The Guardian 12 Nov 2015.



9-Navarro, Juanan-Las 12 claves del método Ikigai para ser feliz en la vida-Mileniales-11 de Mayo 2018.


10-Sader, Marta-'Ikigai', el secreto japonés para una vida larga y feliz-Traveler.


11-Veteranos de guerra acondicionan sillas de rueda-El Heraldo-3/8/16

12-Veteranos reparan en escuelas-El Malvinense-9/1/2012