An exciting part about learning a new language is discovering unique and sometimes prolific words and phrases that don’t exist in our native languages. The Germans have Innerer Schweinehund (lit: inner pig-dog; def: one’s “weaker self”) and the French have Tu me manques (lit: You are missing from me; def: I miss you). When I came across 生き甲斐 [ikigai] while studying Japanese, I was immediately intrigued. How could a simple four-character word hold the answer to life’s existence?
What is 生き甲斐 [ikigai]?
Literally, 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i] means 生き (living) 甲斐 (worth). Its simplest translation would be reason for being. This word is both simple and complex. According to the Japanese, everyone has an 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i], but for most people, it requires deep soul searching. However once we discover it, it will bring satisfaction and meaning to our lives. Without it, we may feel lost or empty.
What does an 生き甲斐 [ikigai] look like?
I found this wonderful diagram that explains the idiosyncrasies of an 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i].
As we can see, an 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i] is an intricate combination of:
- What we love
- What the world needs
- What we can be paid for
- What we’re good at
And together, these values influence our:
If all of these principles come together, we will finally realize our reason for being.
What is 帰る [ka·e·ru] Domicile’s 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i]?
帰る [ka·e·ru] Domicile’s reason for being is simple: bring people together; people from around the world; people from different walks of life; people searching for a home away from home. For now, 帰る [ka·e·ru] Domicile is an ideological sanctuary for the traveling soul, but if the stars align, this virtual cafe will become a reality. And so, the return home continues.
What is your 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i]?
As always, thank you for reading and joining me on this #internationalcoffeejourney
Our differences set us apart, yet with empathy, they bring us together.