Summer in Japan, 2

Outlasting the heat, and tuning your body and mind to health awareness

Whether you are young or old, male or female we all need to be more aware of how to take care of our body. Over the years, body and health awareness has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. With so many choices and a saturation of the market, it can be very confusing to know which method is right for you. Japan is ranked number one in the world for longevity. With Japanese women living the longest in the world, this has to be an indicator that what is done in Japan promotes long life.

a festival near enoshima with elderly Japanese male participants

Here you see a yearly ceremony to celebrate the long walk to Edo. These men are around seventy to eighty years old, but you can see they are quite active.

It has been reported by health experts that some of the key factors that have played into Japans longevity are genes, universal healthcare, diet, lifestyle, health consciousness, social equality and cohesion; and these are what set Japan aside from other countries.

Diet – certain foods made from soya beans, azuki beans, high consumption of fish and seaweed, and introduction of western foods has reduced salt intake and this combination has resulted in Japans longevity. At Enoshima Island Spa, the head chef takes into consideration while planning the menu dietary factors (calorie intake), the source of ingredients from local growers, color and flavor. Below you can see the result of his creativity. It not only looks amazing, but tastes incredible.

a healthy lunch at the enoshima island spa

Organic rice with fresh salad and avocado, small tomatoes and herbs, light soup, herbal tea and handmade fruit jelly.

 

Lifestyle – it has been cited that Japanese people tend to be more active in comparison to other nations. They walk or cycle more frequently at all ages. They join organized sports or community activities (e.g. trekking, walking around local neighborhoods and morning exercise…) Take a look at this youtube video of Japanese seniors involved in a typical neighborhood exercise group:

かながわご当地体操 多摩区みんなの公園体操・多摩区/神奈川新聞

If you visit Enoshima you can enjoy walking around the island, learning about its history and doing light cardio-exercise prior to entering the spa. Enospa has an ‘Island Plan’ with personal trainers and guides if you want a more organized program.

a view from the top of Enoshima island, looking over enospa

The view from the top of Enoshima island. There are numerous walks to take depending on your mood and your sense of adventure.

Health Consciousness – Japanese people are said to pay special attention to hygiene by taking the act of showering and bathing and making it ritualistic. Look at this link that explains the bathing etiquette;

http://www.onsenjapan.net/onsenbasics.php

This culmination of factors; Japanese temperatures, humidity, religious tones of purifying from Shinto tradition, access to a lot of natural mineral water and the concept of groupism (working and living in small spaces) makes for a society aware of their bodies and the space they move within. Caring for your body will always be an on-going battle to find that balance between diet, lifestyle and health awareness in our increasingly busy schedules. But it is nevertheless possible to achieve.

Next week we will talk about the third and probably most important factor in the success to surviving a Japanese summer and being healthy. That is spirituality and wellness of our minds.

some Japanese chimes used in holistic therapy

The chimes used when taking a massage at Enospa.