3 Japanese concepts that reshape your study style
Share your story with this collaborative writing app! Source: Takafumi Yamashita/ Unsplash

Under threat of encouraging ‘tokenism’, Japan’s international student scene has made headlines for its declining intake and accusations of being unfriendly to foreign learners.

Regardless of reports, it is still a country with boundless diversity, beautiful landscapes to learn in, and strategic study approaches to learn from.

Inspiring the daily lives of students, Japanese concepts take a unique viewpoint on the value of education, teaching learners about the beauty of little moments and the appreciation of diverse perspectives.

A few of these concepts are listed below, each with separate points to prove.

Mottainai: To have respect to the resources that are available

Have you ever heard of the the Japanese concept Mottainai? Source: Guille Alvarez/Unsplash

Bound to the Buddhist concept of regret over squandering or misusing resources or other material objects, Mottainai (もったいない) helps you to appreciate what you have.

You may not have the latest learning technologies at hand, or the newest copy of a textbook for your course, but you do have professors and peers surrounding you with knowledge.

Against the practice of wasting, Mottainai encourages you to make do with what you have. By shifting your mindset, you’ll apply positive light to any negative situation.

So, if your exam results didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to, use them as a learning curve rather than a reason to give up.

Highlighted by Conscious Magazine as “Closely associated with the conservation practices that are recognised in the West as the three R’s -reduce, reuse, recycle- with a fourth R added: respect,” Mottainai is a way to manifest your academic aspirations into reality by abiding by its practices.

Ikigai: An introduction into four viewpoints

The structure of ‘Ikigai’. Source: Shutterstock

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to “a reason for being”.

With four main components you need to check off in order to achieve Ikigai, the first component asks that you always have something that you love in your life so that you’re always present.

The second relates to providing something the world needs, the third area of Ikigai points to something that pays you well and the fourth and final component you need to achieve Ikigai is that you need to have something you’re good at.

By achieving Ikigai, not only could your study performance improve, but also your mental well-being while at university.

Teaching you to respect all four areas, this concept keeps you grounded by steering you through the different angles and reminds you to appreciate the little things in life instead of materialistic matters.

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Kakeibo: A budgeting method that works for students

Manage your finances with this Japanese concept. Source: Sean Kong/Unsplash

Using the same four-branch structure as the Ikigai system, at the start of each month, the method asks you to write down your fixed expenses and income to determine how much money you have available for the rest of the month.

Then, you estimate the savings you wish to achieve for the month and set it aside with the aim of forgetting about it and not touching it during your weekly expenses.

During the month, you track your expenses by dividing them in four different categories – Survival (food, pharmacy, transport), Culture (books, music, shows, movies), Optional (things you don’t necessarily need but choose to do, such as shopping or going out with friends), and Extra (unanticipated expenses like car repairs).

Kakeibo helps students to strategise their overall spending habits while at university, which is always a challenge!

And by combining all three methods of Mottainai, Kakeibo and Ikigai, you’ll be set up for a balanced and fruitful university experience!

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