What is ikigai and how does Vezzarium use it?

Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that helps to find pleasure, joy and awareness

in all matters every day and promotes longevity.


Literally "ikigai" can be translated into English as the meaning of life. It consists of two words - iki (to live) and gai (reason). But Ken Mogi, author of The Little Book of Ikigai, a neuroscientist and writer, offers a clearer and more imaginative interpretation: ikigai is something for which you want to get up in the morning.

If a person has an ikigai, it may lead him to success, but success is by no means a prerequisite for an ikigai. It is available to everyone.

Perhaps, for some, ikigai is about feeling the coolness of the morning going to the market and anticipating the search for the perfect fish that will be remembered by the restaurant patrons, or a cup of coffee overlooking a quiet dawn city, or a walk in the sun through the foliage along an avenue of trees. Ikigai hides in the little things, in the individual joy of life. Ikigai, this is where no one needs to prove anything, this is where your successes and achievements do not matter.


Here are the 5 basics of Ikigai:

- start small.

- free yourself.

- harmony and stability

- to enjoy the little things.

Ability to find, recognize and appreciate those joys in life that make sense to you.

What are our sentimental values? What little things do we enjoy?

- to be here and now.


Perhaps the best example for understanding Ikigai is the Tea Ceremony Tradition. All the Five Foundations of ikigai are embodied in it. The master of the tea ceremony carefully thinks out the decor of the room, paying a lot of attention to the little things - for example, what colors the walls will be decorated with (start small). The spirit of humility is the hallmark of the tea ceremony master and guests, even if each of them has many years of experience in conducting ceremonies (free themselves). Many items that are used during the tea ceremony are more than a dozen or even hundreds of years old - they are chosen to be combined with each other, creating an unforgettable impression (harmony and stability). Despite the thoroughness of the preparation, the main goal of the tea ceremony is to relax, delightfully immerse yourself in the details of the situation (enjoy the little things) and be in a state of awareness when the human mind absorbs the inner space of the tea pavilion (to be here and now).


Tai-an, the only surviving tea pavilion, in the creation of which Sen no Rikyu (the founder of the tea ceremony who lived in the 16th century) personally participated, the hall is very small: there is barely enough space for the master of the tea ceremony and a few guests. However, this is not an accident: the atmosphere of a small room is more conducive to intimate conversation. It is also no coincidence that there is no place for weapons inside: samurai warriors, the main guests of the tea ceremony, had to leave their swords outside the door. To get inside, they had to turn sideways and bend low. In the tradition of the tea ceremony, the Japanese concept of ichigo ichie (literally meaning "once, one meeting") originates. Most likely, the author of this important concept was also Rikyu.


Ichigo ichie is the ability to appreciate the ephemeral, fickle nature of any encounter with people, things or events in life (here and now).


Precisely because the meeting is fleeting, it must be taken seriously. After all, life is filled with things and events that happen only once. Awareness of the "singularity" of life encounters and joys underlies the Japanese concept of ikigai, it is a central element of Japanese philosophy of life. If we take a closer look at the small events of life, we will see: nothing repeats itself, each opportunity is unique.


Kodawari is a quality that requires steadfastness and focus on one's business, sometimes reaching the point of uncompromising.


In Japan, there is a stereotypical image of the owner of a ramen bar, which is characteristic of kodawari - uncommunicative, grumpy, requiring visitors to be equally subtle in understanding the subject. In Dandelion, the owner of the ramen bar is happy only when the customers drink all the broth. But in fact, the ultimate and main goal of kodawari is communication between people.


The highest and most valuable reward for all the trouble and effort that comes with making the perfect bowl of ramen is the smile on the customer's face.


Fruit from Sembikia is a work of biological art, the result of Kodawari passionate farmers. And to get proof of this art, the fruit, of course, must be eaten. Suppose you are fascinated by a kanjuku (superbly ripe) mango that costs over ¥ 10,000 ($ 100) apiece. Packed in a sparkling gift box, the Sembikia mango looks more like a gem. Bearing in mind its incredibly high price, you are afraid to even touch it, let alone eat it. But if you don’t peel it off and cut it into pieces, you will not be able to experience the true beauty of an excellent ripe mango. In other words, to appreciate it, you must destroy it. What a subtle experience! You put a fragrant slice in your mouth, chew, swallow - and now it is gone. Your $ 100 delicacy is over. Perhaps the Japanese fascination with excellent fruits is one aspect of the general belief in the ephemeral (here and now).


In Japan, a large number of traditional products are still made by artisans. Far from trying to loudly declare themselves or to attract the attention of the public with their peculiar behavior, they nevertheless enjoy great respect and play an important role in Japanese society. Often their life becomes an example of ikigai - a total commitment to the creation of something, one goal, even if not at all great. The work of an artisan takes a lot of time and effort. Therefore, its results are distinguished by great sophistication and excellent quality. Japanese buyers respect the time and labor invested in making handicrafts, and value their quality, whether knives, swords, ceramics, lacquerware, washi paper, or fabrics.


By the way, Vezzarium swimsuits are sewn on a sewing machine that was created in Japan about 50 years ago, thus confirming the fact that the Japanese approach everything with the finest attention to detail, trying to make things durable and worth the time and money invested in this.


The second basis of ikigai is to free yourself. Look at the child, he is carefree and not burdened with social definitions, he is not bound by the bonds of a particular profession or social status. It would be great to keep this childlike lightness for life. Children live in the here and now, and do not rush to give any assessment to what is happening. It is believed that the main obstacle to achieving awareness is attachment to one's own self. The ability to forget about ourselves leads us to one of the key concepts of Zen Buddhism. Interestingly, in the philosophy of mindfulness, self-denial goes hand in hand with the ability to appreciate the present. The ability to free yourself is closely related to the ability to be here and now. However, this is understandable, because the modern concept of mindfulness was born precisely from the traditions of Buddhist meditation.


The Eiheiji Temple in the Fukui suburb of Japan is one of the centers for the study of Zen Buddhism. Founded in 1244 by a monk named Dogen, the Eiheiji Temple remains fully operational today, with future monks being trained and trained there. Thousands of candidates come to the temple to study, train, meditate, and receive initiation. To enter the temple and become a novice, a candidate must stand in front of the gate for several days, sometimes in the pouring rain. From a modern point of view, this may seem like a mockery, but there is a rational explanation for this humiliating introduction to the world of Zen, especially if you do not forget about the concept of self-denial. Jikisai Minami is a Buddhist monk with a rare experience of more than ten years in the Eiheiji Temple (most novices spend only a few years in the temple in order to receive initiation). According to Minami, one of the most important rules of Eiheiji Temple (and therefore of Zen Buddhism in general) is that there is no merit system. In the outside world, people usually get praise or "earn points" for doing something of value, something good. But in the Eiheiji temple, no reward or reward is provided for meritorious deeds. Once you enter this system, no matter how diligently you meditate, how conscientiously you perform your daily duties, it does not affect anything. You are treated the same as any other novice: you become an anonymous, almost invisible being - individuality loses all meaning and significance.


If you can achieve the psychological state of the flow, about which the American psychologist of Hungarian origin, Mihai Csikszentmihalyi, wrote, then you can get the most out of ikigai and even routine daily activities will become pleasant for you. You will not feel the need for your efforts to be noticed, you will not seek any reward.


The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčliving in a state of constant serenity, not seeking immediate gratification in the form of outside approval,

suddenly becomes very close to you.


Researchers have studied a phenomenon called psychological addiction. People tend to view certain things in life as necessary for happiness, when in reality they are not. The term "psychological addiction" means that you are so fixated on this or that subject that in its absence you think happiness is impossible. For example, some consider marriage to be a prerequisite for happiness. In this case, they will feel unhappy as long as they remain lonely. Others complain that they cannot be happy because they do not have enough money, and still others are sure that they cannot be happy because they do not have a suitable job. By nourishing psychological addiction, you create with your own hands a reason to feel unhappy.


Unhappiness is a vacuum that lacks the required element, and this vacuum is created by the subject's preconceived imagination.


Accepting yourself is one of the most valuable and rewarding things you can do for yourself. This is a formula for happiness that costs almost nothing and requires no further updates or technical support. The revelation here is that, paradoxically, accepting yourself often means freeing yourself, especially if you have an illusory self that you keep to yourself as a role model. To accept yourself and be happy, you need to let go of the illusory self.


The firm makes candy in the form of flowers, and according to Yamaguchi, they differ slightly in shape and color. But this does not mean at all that confectioners lack the skill to reproduce the same sample several times. In fact, confectioners deliberately give sweets a different shape, each with its own, because in nature there can be no two identical flowers.


 Ikigai Vezzarium is a morning meditation. This is a pleasant start to the day. By concentrating on the breath and sensations in the body, we tune all atoms and cells into a balanced state of mind without endless internal dialogue. He is able to easily make decisions here and now, braid swimsuits, communicate with people and implement new ideas, and most importantly, do it in harmony and stability, as well as consistently, and not simultaneously run, solve 100 problems. Before we sit down to create, we tune in. The designer looks at the photo of the girl for whom the swimsuit is intended, thinks over which weaving lines can emphasize the beauty of the curves of her body. Then she imagines how beautiful she is walking along the Cote d'Azur with a smile and how well and harmonious she is with herself, and how people compliment her and she smiles in return. Starting to weave with the harmony of positive thinking, the fingers themselves begin to weave patterns, it surrender to the flow. Our joy in the little things lies in the messages from clients with their seaside photos and grateful admiration for our handicraft. All these ingredients make up the Vezzarium ikigai formula)


This article was inspired by Ken Mogi's Little Book of Ikigai

Thank you for your attention, respectfully, Alena Vezza (designer and CEO of Vezzarium)