Japan and Personal Wellbeing

Japan Wellbeing

Our personal wellbeing and mental health is something that it is trending in the West. In the past it was common for people to feel that they had to keep a sense of control at all times. But in the West it’s becoming more and more common for us to try to put a voice to our state of mind and to talk about mental health issues or ways of looking after our own mental wellbeing, even if that includes shouting about it from the roof tops, we are more and more coming to the conclusion that we should do whatever we need to in order to ensure our own health and wellbeing. In Japan, this approach still far from fits in with their culture. Talking about these kinds of issues tends to be highly stigmatized as conformity is a large aspect of the Japanese culture. In addition to mental wellbeing, spirituality and religion in Japan is also something that culture dictates as being something personal, it certainly isn’t something that is shouted about despite the actual religious and spiritual practices being heavily ingrained in the culture. That being said, although Japan may not be the place to open your heart to strangers on the subway, it can be a really good country to look after your own wellbeing. One of the most fantastic aspects of traveling is getting away from it all and removing yourself from the daily stresses and strains of your life at home, just the break in itself can have a fantastic effect on your wellbeing. However, a trip to Japan can take you even further with some of the most fantastic opportunities to tend to your mind and spirit in some truly majestic settings.

Meditation: Visit the Shōganji Zen Retreat to immerse yourself in a meditative journey with monks in this 600 year old Japanese Buddhist temple. This temple kindly opened its doors to tourists in 2004 allowing visitors to become truly immersed in this calming religious and extremely interesting part of Japanese culture. The setting is truly tranquil and they offer individual packages for small numbers of guests that include zen study to cookery lessons.

Japanese Therapies: Choosing accommodation with great spa facilities such as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tokyo provides you with a perfect opportunity to take advantage of calming spa treatments after busy days touring Tokyo. Hot spring baths and Japanese Zen gardens are common features of good quality spa’s and you can make the most of a rejuvenating spa evening by selecting treatments that were founded in the country such as a Japanese Shiatsu Massage.

Tranquil Destinations: A trip to Mt.Fuji is not only sure to take your breath away but will also provide you with the open spaces and fresh air that allow you to recharge your spiritual batteries. Mt.Fuki is of great spiritual significance to the people of Japan as it is sacred to the Shinto goddess Sengen-Sama and is named for Fuchi, the Buddhist goddess of fire.

Japanese Tea Ceremonies: Chanoyu, Sado, also known as Ocha is the Japanese name for the well-known ritual of the tea ceremony. There is something about watching this ceremony unfold in front of you that entraps you in the moment and you fixate only on the artistic and beautifully conveyed predefined movements of the ritual itself. The ceremony has roots from over a thousand years ago and stemmed from Japanese priests who only consumed tea in such a way in the setting of the temple.

Kyoto’s Love Stones: If you consider your love life to be an integral part of your personal wellbeing then a trip to Kyoto to see the Love Stones at Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a must. These stones are a shrine to the gods of love and it is said that if you can walk the 18 meters from one to another without looking that you will be forever lucky in love.

 

Japan in the Movies

Japan movies

Japanese culture and history is vast and colorful, it has given rise to some of the most awe inspiring architecture, design, technology and cities in the world. The country also has truly majestic rural areas that are second to none in the world. It’s no surprise then that some really huge blockbuster movies have chosen sites in Japan as their backdrop. Tokyo in particular is well regarding by those in the cinema industry and the quality of the film sets used really speak volumes about what the country has to offer, not just as regards to backdrops and sets but also in how its history and culture play a huge part in some of Hollywood’s biggest hits.

Kill Bill Volume 1: Released in 2003, Kill Bill Vol.1 had an estimated $30,000,000 budget and grossed around $70,098,138 in the US in the first six. Quintin Tarantino gives a nod of the head to the Japanese Samurai Slasher in the Kill Bill trilogy, the first of which sees Uma Thurman ‘The Bride’ do her revenge thing in Japan. The most iconic of the Japan based film sets for me in this film was the Kill Bill Restaurant (Gonpachi) that saw the epic fight scene between the Bride v the Crazy 88s.

The Last Samurai: Also released in 2003, its budget was an estimated budget was $140,000,000, grossing $111,110,575 in its first four months in the US. Although much of the filming is actually done in New Zealand there are a number of truly iconic Japanese sets featured in the movie. You’ll see the Sho-sha-zan Engyo-ji Temple in Himeji City feature as Katsumoto’s temple and Chion-In Temple, Kyoto feature as ‘The Imperial Palace’ among others. Both of these sets are saturated with fascinating and vibrant Japanese history and culture.

The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift: Released just over 10 years ago in 2006 had grossed $62,494,975 in the USA in its first quarter on an $85,000,000 budget. The movie makes use of the awe inspiring concrete jungle of Tokyo merging Japan and America as it’s also partially set in Los Angeles. The movie sees Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan feature highly as a backdrop in its high intensity action film.

The Wolverine: 2013 saw the US release of The Wolverine, it had an estimated budget of $120,000,000 and in its first four months of release it grossed $132,550,960. This high budget Marvel movie sees Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine) caught up in a mix of the yakuza and samurai. It shows some of the huge contrast of the country with scenes depicting the hustle and bustle of the big cities to the beautiful and almost serene Omishima Island.

Godzilla: The highly awaited remake, Godzilla was released back in 2014, its first 3 months on release saw it gross $200,661,309 and it’s thought to have had a $160,000,000 budget. Shot across Japan, Hawaii, San Fransisco and Las Vegas, Godzilla makes use of some extremely varied sets. One of the most haunting scenes in the movie is set in ‘the ghost streets’ of Janjira, Japan.