Bird Box: Psychological Warfare, or Dose of Truth?

Photo by: Johannes Winger-Lang

I watched the movie “Bird Box” last night, and I have to say that it was a really interesting concept for a movie. I really enjoyed it, but after sitting with it for a while, I’ve come to see that there is much more to this movie than what meets the eye (pun not intended).

If you’ve already watched the movie, you can skip to the “My thoughts” section. *Spoiler alert below!* in the movie recap section.

Movie Recap

In the movie, there is an unseen force that, when people look at it, it causes them to commit suicide. The movie never explicitly shows what this force is, whether it has some sort of demonic appearance, or whether it actually has any physical form at all. So the characters must wear blindfolds when travelling outside, in order to avoid seeing the force.

There are also a type of people in the movie that can look at this force, but rather than committing suicide, they find it beautiful, so they try to get others to look at it as well. These people are termed as crazy, and some of them described as insane patients from mental institutions.

These “crazy” individuals are portrayed as malicious, and intentionally trying to harm others by getting them to look at the force that will cause them to commit suicide.

At the end of the movie, the only survivors who are seemingly thriving and living a prosperous life are found in a school for blind people. Here, everyone is safe from the force, especially the blind, who are completely unable to see it. It is the one true safe haven in the movie where everyone is at peace and protected.

My Thoughts

After seeing the story unfold, and thinking about what the director was trying to convey with the “force”, the crazy people, and the school of the blind, I initially thought that this movie was trying to instill fears and fearful beliefs in the audience.

It seemed like the movie was giving out the message that, if you hide from your problems hard enough, and remain blind to the things that you wish to avoid, and avoid those who are trying to get you to face your fears, you’ll eventually find somewhere comfortable and peaceful where you will never have to suffer. And you’ll live happily forever.

But if you dare face your fears, or take a real look at yourself and your life, you’ll see something so horrible and terrifying that it’ll literally make you want to kill yourself. And if others try to help you face your fears, they’re really just insane people who wish to harm you, and trusting them will lead you to your own destruction.

That’s what I thought the director was trying to tell the audience. But then I stopped and thought about it for a minute.

Maybe the movie was intentionally trying to communicate this dark message. Or maybe this was just the director’s way of shedding light on our own fearful belief systems. Why do we believe that others are trying to harm us? Why are we afraid to look at the force? What could be so scary that it would cause us to commit suicide? Perhaps these are the kinds of questions that Bird Box encourages us to ask ourselves.

I think this movie has a powerful message. Do you want to live in a reality where you’re afraid of seeing the truth, and afraid that others are trying to harm you? Do you want to live in a reality where you’re so afraid that you have to blind yourself from your own fears?

Because that type of reality is possible. If you choose to hold onto certain belief systems, that’s the type of world you’ll eventually create for yourself. The point of horror movies is to give you a depiction of how life would look if your deepest fears were manifested into reality.

Bird Box is what happens when we believe that trusting others and facing our fears is dangerous. This is the reality you’ll ultimately choose for yourself if you continue to hold onto fear.

So what will you choose to believe? 😉

Is a Shame Culture worse than a Guilt Culture?

I watched a Youtube video today, by Asian Boss about a Japanese Apology Agency, and it got me thinking about shame cultures and guilt cultures, and about which one is more destructive to a society as a whole, and the individual.

Before I watched the video, I thought that the purpose of the agency was to hire someone to give an apology for you. This was only partly true. It turned out that some customers who use the agency, actually want to make a sincere apology, but were too afraid to do it themselves.

But for other customers, they weren’t looking to make an apology. Instead, they were looking to sort of “erase” their wrongdoings from existence, by using an employee from the agency as a character who acted as a scapegoat to apologize and take the blame for the situation. The agency employee essentially plays a character who apologizes to someone on behalf of the customer. The agent ends up taking the responsibility for something that the customer did wrong.

This is the problem with shame cultures, and why I think shaming is harmful to society and the individual. In shame cultures, when an individual does something wrong, the INDIVIDUAL perceives themselves as inherently wrong, as if there is something wrong with them self, that cannot be changed. The individual is afraid of being shunned by others, afraid of being considered a “bad” individual.

In guilt cultures, when an individual does something wrong, it is the ACTION which is perceived as wrong. So an individual can ask for forgiveness, and intend to never make the same mistake. Forgiveness is the other person seeing that the individual has learned from their wrongdoings, and trusts that the individual has changed.

In a guilt culture, making a mistake is usually forgivable as long as you learn from it. Whereas in a shame culture, making a mistake leads to an individual perceiving themselves as “no good”, and thus why this industry exists. No one wants to be shunned and perceived as a bad person for life, so the solution here is to erase the wrongdoings from existence.

So what do you think is better for a society? An individual who makes a mistake, and then learns why their actions were wrong and apologizes (guilt)? Or an individual who makes a mistake, and hides it from others out of fear of being shunned (shame)?

This apology agency is an example of why shame is a heavier emotion than guilt. In the west, it’s common sense that we should take responsibility for our wrongdoings. It’s a part of growing up. But shame can override this because of fear of being perceived by others as “bad”. Shame restricts us and weighs us down from doing the right thing in this case.

Anyway, I’m not saying that shame culture is worse than a guilt culture, but I thought I’d share my two cents after seeing that video. I’m sure there are also ways in which a guilt culture is worse than a shame culture. But the point of this post is to simply point out a difference in culture that would create this kind of industry.

Climbing the Steep Mountain of a New Beginning


Photo by Sonny Abesamis

Have you ever started a new project, taken on a new challenge, or started anything new and then immediately after felt like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?

Maybe you have a goal to climb Mount Fuji, and you’re all excited to start, and to get to the top. Then when you arrive, and walk through to the first rest stop, you realize just how huge the mountain is, and you dread all of the work you’re going to have to do to get to the top.

After this kind of realization, it’s like this dark cloud forms above you and all of these self doubts start to come up, and you start to feel like you’re going to have to do a whole lot of work before you see any results.

This happened to me when I first started learning Japanese. It’s so completely different from English, and it seemed like it would take forever to get even some basic conversation skills going, with all of the grammar, words, and Japanese characters that I had to learn.

And it’s true that it did take a long time to get some basic conversations going. But somehow I didn’t let it phase me, and I thought that if I kept going, I’d be closer and closer to reaching my goal. Now I’m able to confidently communicate in everyday situations, and it’s a very satisfying feeling to be at this level.

But if you do feel the same way, like your goal is very far away, don’t let it stop you from pursuing what you want. When we make the decision to start something new, that resistance or anxiousness you might feel are just inner blocks coming up in your mind, such as self limiting beliefs and fears. But these blocks can be overcome if you persist at your goals.

I’m at a phase in my life where I want to overcome my shyness in approaching girls or other strangers that I feel like talking to.

I’ve been shy almost my whole life, and always had a hard time with approaching strangers. But over the years, this has felt more and more of a burden to my freedom, and I feel like I’ve been missing out on a lot of potential great experiences and new relationships. So I made the decision that I would try to overcome my fear of approaching strangers.

Today, I went out with a friend and we approached some girls. It went better than I thought, and my friend and I had a lot of fun, and it wasn’t important to us whether these approaches lead to a date or anything. But after that experience, I noticed how hesitant I was and how nervous I am about rejection.

So all of these fears surfaced, about how hard it would be to overcome all of this nervousness, and how hard it would be to just feel comfortable with talking to random strangers on the street. It seems like there’s a lot of work to be done before I can feel confident, have fun in my interactions, or even get a date with a girl I’m attracted to.

One thing to remember if you’re having a similar experience, is that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. Anytime you make a decision to start something new, it’s because you want to change something about yourself, something that is holding you back from being your best self, or stopping you from having certain experiences.

In order to be free, or to have the experiences you want, a part of you needs to die, in order for something else to be reborn. So this process of death and rebirth of self is the whole meat of the experience, and any rewards that you experience are like extras for you to enjoy.

But the thing that will give you the most satisfaction is not the destination, it’s the realization of how much you’ve changed since you started trying to accomplish your goals, and the freedom to do what you actually want to do.

So if you’re having some inner blocks or fears come up, just allow yourself to experience those fears and blocks, and then to let them go when you’re ready to move towards your goals again. And then get back to working towards those goals. Good luck!

Becoming an Alchemist

Picture by Paul K

Alchemy is the act of transforming something into another thing of greater value. When you confront your own “inner demons”, you are in a way transforming your emotions.

The simple act of being present with fear, sadness, anger, anxiety, or whatever heavy emotions you might be carrying, and being non-judgmental about them is the essence of alchemy. By doing this we let go of heavy emotions, and in their place, we are left with  higher vibration emotions, which are an innate part of our being.

When we think of alchemy, we usually think of gold, and other valuable physical substances. Of course emotions are not physical objects, but the emotions you carry in your subconscious mind do affect your physical experiences because your consciousness directly creates your experience of life.

Would you rather be carrying the emotion of fear, or the feeling of courage and confidence? I think most people would agree that they’d rather be courageous than fearful.

So how do you become courageous? You have to face your fears. How do you become happier? You face your sadness. How do you feel confident and good about yourself? Face you insecurities and self-limiting beliefs.

You’re the one who has the choice. You can either choose to ignore your inner demons, or you can choose to face them and challenge them. I think most people agree that it’s a good thing to face your fears. And maybe we all want to believe that we can and will face our fears. But I think a lot of people struggle to do this.

The problem is not that people don’t want to face their fears. If we use the analogy of slaying dragons, you are the knight. Maybe the problem is that you went to the wrong “Knight training academy” and all you learned was how to kill a teddy bear with a wooden stick. And you didn’t receive proper training about the real dangers of a dragon, and how to defeat one.

Imagine mainstream society being that poorly funded knight academy. They didn’t prepare you to slay dragons, they just gave you a wooden stick and a teddy bear to slay, and told you that real dragons don’t exist. They sheltered you from the dangers that are lurking, and if you ever saw a real dragon, they’d probably call you crazy and delusional or blame you for witchcraft or something.

In our modern society, there is often a stigma attached to mental illness, and western doctors often prescribe potentially dangerous drugs as ways to suppress the symptoms. We are not taught how to properly deal with our inner demons, we are not taught how to slay dragons. This is largely what causes a society that is crippled with mental illness, addiction, etc.

Essentially, we’ve lost the art of alchemy in today’s age. If we can become alchemists and transform our own emotions, we can see how powerful we really are. Because we’re more powerful than we think.

How to Be a Real Life Dragon Slayer

Just for a bit of context, I wrote an article about slaying dragons here. Read this for a bit of an intro into this topic.

Without further ado, here is how to slay dragons:

  1. Find out what things trigger your negative emotions. Search for the dragon
  2. Try to expose yourself to these triggers slowly, so you can get a sense of how the negative emotions feel (you are inching towards the dragon to get an idea of what you’re up against)
  3. When you see the dragon, don’t panic and regret that you took a look. Just accept that the dragon is there and that you are a dragon slayer whose purpose is to slay the dragon. That means don’t freak out about feeling negative emotions and freak out about why these emotions are coming up, just feel them
  4. When you accept that the dragon is there, you can examine it and see what it’s all about. This is the first step to figuring out how you can slay it. You might remember times in your childhood that created these feelings in the first place
  5. When you trigger yourself enough, you are gradually seeing more and more of the dragon. And thus you are finding it’s weaknesses. This means that you are learning more and more about where the negative emotions came from(childhood, ect).
  6. Once you’ve studied the dragon enough (i.e been triggered enough and allowed yourself sufficient time to feel the negative emotion), you can start thinking about how you’re gonna slay it. You realize that these emotions originated from childhood, and that they are not the real you. They are only a result of the limited perception you had when you were younger.
  7. Slay the motherfucker. This means doing the thing that scares you, despite your fear, because now you have the courage and the ability to transcend the thing you fear. Once you understand the dragon and where it came from, you can slay it. Once you know why certain things trigger you, you can accept that being triggered scares you and you can face that fear until you transcend it.

Breaking News: Men Have Stopped Slaying Dragons

The oldest tale known to man is the story of the archetypal hero. It’s the knight who slays the dragon and brings back the gold to the village, it’s the superhero who defeats the supervillian and keep the world safe. It’s a story that’s been told for a very long time in human history, in many different forms across many ages and cultures.

The reason why the hero story is so deep to the human heart, is because of the meaning that the story carries. Young boys grow up, inspired by superheros and strong men who defeat the bad guys; they want to be just like that. Even as adult men, we enjoy a good tale about a guy who starts from the bottom and gains the power to overcome adversity (think Spiderman, Peter Parker is a weak guy who realizes his true power and makes it his responsibility to use his power for good).

Why is this story so deeply touching? Because these stories hint to us, what our purpose is as men. These stories are essentially telling us what the masculine energy represents, and we subconsciously feel very inspired by these tales, because they point us toward our life purpose as men.

Take the story of the dragon-slaying knight, for example. The knight represents the masculine energy. It’s the job of the knight to protect his people from the dangers of the dragon. The dragon is a symbol of chaos. Chaos comes from the feminine energy, that’s why there’s often an evil witch who summons the dragon in the first place.

The knight’s purpose is to defeat the dragon, in order to bring safety to his people, and to bring back the gold, so that his people may prosper. Fighting the dragon is dangerous, and it’s terrifying, but this is the knight’s purpose.

Now let’s relate this story to our daily life, in our modern age society. Obviously we don’t have actual dragons to slay in real life , but we do have metaphorical dragons to slay. That’s why the hero story interests us.

In today’s advanced societies of internet, abundant food/water, and other daily necessities and comforts, we are not in physical danger of dragons destroying our homes. In other words, we are (for the most part) not in any physical danger. Today’s source of danger comes more from emotional problems. Think about the rampant increase in mental disorders like depression and suicide across the globe, especially in advanced societies like America and Japan.

You can say that the modern-day dragons are our own internal emotional dragons (hence the term ‘inner demons’ to describe the negative emotions which lurk hidden within us). They usually come out when we try to step out our comfort zones, overcome some kind of fear, make a positive change in our lives, or accomplish something difficult.

The world right now is in chaos. People are depressed, feeling trapped in 9-5 jobs, and always looking for an escape from the grind of daily life. Men and women are becoming more and more disconnected, as one night stands and hook-ups replace actual relationships, and many men turn to relationship substitutes, such as pornography, prostitution, or even very soon, sex bots. Birth rates are declining, mental disorders are increasing.

What is the problem? Why are thing in such chaos right now? Because as a society, men are taught that in order to be a man, they need to be strong. The idea is that strong men don’t show their emotions. This creates a lot of men who are totally out of touch with their emotions, and instead using drugs and other addictions to cope with the emotions that they feel.

Basically, men lose their power when they choose to hide from their internal chaos. You can say that they aren’t slaying the dragons. They are refusing to even admit that the dragons (negative feelings) are there in the first place. They do whatever they can to distract themselves from acknowledging the existence of the dragons. This means drugs, porn, partying, videos games, sex, gambling and many other things. Anything that gives short term pleasure, because that pleasure masks the negative feelings.

What would happen in the hero’s story, if all the knights refused to acknowledge the existence of the dragon? Maybe they would pretend the dragon doesn’t exist, by chilling at the bar and getting wasted with their other knight buddies. Eventually the dragon would come and destroy the town. That’s the consequence of not facing the dragon. It’s destruction. Chaos takes over and all is lost. It’s tragic.

So why do you think the world is in such chaos? Men aren’t slaying the god-damn dragons, because they’re not facing their negative emotions. Once men start getting back to their dragon slaying selves, they’ll begin to discover their true power. This is when we can start bringing back order and stability back to our world.

Here’s how to slay dragons, in case you don’t know where to start.

Happy dragon slaying!

Coffee Time Thoughts: Cryptocurrency’s relation to 5D consciousness shift?

Cryptocurrencies have been getting a lot of publicity lately, especially Bitcoin. I’m not going to go into what a cryptocurrency is, so you can read an intro about it here, if you’re not familiar.

A lot of dramatic political events and world events have also been happening recently, which you’re probably aware of, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so (think Donald Trump, North Korean missiles, ISIS, etc).

About Paper Money and Stocks

Let’s think about stocks and fiat currency first. I’m no expert on economical or financial matters, so please bare with me and my layman’s knowledge on the matters.

The money that rules all of our societies in modern life, is a fiat currency. It means that it is a currency which has no intrinsic value, unlike other currencies such as gold (which is a rare and precious metal). The value of this type of currency comes from our conscious belief that it is valuable.

Paper money is a fiat currency because it has no intrinsic value; it is just paper. So why is it valuable? Because we believe it has value; we give paper money its value solely by collectively believing and agreeing that it is valuable.

It’s as if our conscious mental energy/beliefs are given a physical representation as paper money. What is that law in psychics, again? That energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. Well, with fiat currency, our conscious energy is represented in a physical form, as “valuable” paper money.

The stock market works the same way. One thing that gives a stock its value, are the investors’ beliefs that the stock/company is valuable. Investor Jimmy thinks “Oh man, this stock is a great investment because the value is gonna go up sometime in the future, and I’ll make some money”. So investor Jimmy buys the stocks, with the belief that the value will increase. If lots of investor’s are buying these stocks, the stock value increases.

Once investors think the stock is going to decrease in value, they sell, in order to get their money back before the stock value drops too low. When people sell the stock, it’s as if they are consciously choosing to believe that the stock is no longer valuable, they are opting out and putting their belief back into the fiat currency that they spent to buy the stock in the first place. The flow of fiat money to buy or sell stocks is like a metaphorical representation of our changing conscious beliefs.

Of course this is an oversimplified way of how the stock market. As I said, I’m not by any means an expert in this area.

How are cyptocurrencies and current world events related?

So back to cryptocurrencies. They don’t have any centralized bank or government, unlike our paper money, which is controlled by central banks/the government. The government has the ability print more money, and the more they print, the lower the value our paper money has.

With all the volatility happening in the world right now, I think people are starting to question their governments’ true interests and intentions. People are waking up to the lies and the state of control that the governments seem to have us locked into, and gradually, more and more people are losing their trust in the governments. Think Trump and his denying of climate change. Who’s interests does he really have in heart? The planet’s, or the rich oil companies who will lose their profits if we switch to a free/renewable energy source?

The collective’s awakening  and unhappiness in face of the grim state of our world and it’s governments, to me, is related to what is happening with cryptocurrencies. As more and more people are losing trust in their governments, they are consciously and/or subconsciously finding ways to resist the government’s lies and their attempts to keep us controlled.

By increasingly transferring fiat money into bitcoin, it’s as if the collective is symbolically choosing to misplace their trust and belief in the government, and in the value of fiat currency. And instead, putting that conscious belief into a source of money which is decentralized and not controlled by anyone. They are buying cryptocurrencies because they believe that it’s valuable, and the way of the future. Governments and centralized banks will gradually lose their influence as cryptocurrenicies gain more collective support.

How does this relate to the 5D shift?

One of my beliefs is that we are collectively, as a human race, shifting into a more interconnected, freer and heart-based consciousness (shifting into 5D consciousness). I’m not gonna go into what that means now, you can read about that elsewhere. Part of this shift is the breaking down of fear/control based institutions such as the governments, and others who are influencing and pulling the strings in our society.

I believe that the collapse of fiat currency and centralized governments is an important step toward the shift to 5D consciousness. We need to be free of the government, we need to be free of them controlling us, so we can all be empowered human beings making our own decisions, rather than blind sheep or slaves lead by the government.

I’m not saying that cryptocurrencies are the answer that will save all of humanity from the government’s control. Or that a cryptocurrency based society is better than a fiat currency based society. All I’m saying is that this recent popularity in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies is a sign of the collectives’ shift in beliefs, which may or may not eventually lead to the collapse of centralized banks, and controlling government structures.

So to me, this trend is step in the right direction for our own freedom from the government. I don’t know much about cryptocurrencies, how they were created, where the idea came from, or the intention behind them. I’ve even heard that some people believe cryptocurrencies were created by AI to control humanity, that it came from aliens, and lots of other wild theories, but I honestly don’t know the truth. So I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

The Dark Side of Japan: Why Japanese people aren’t really ‘Genki’

Japan is a great country, with a rich culture, kind and truly thoughtful people, beautiful nature and the list can go on forever. But, as all countries do, Japan also has a dark side. There is no perfect country, because if there was, every country would follow in that example.

So this post is not intended to criticize, or hate on Japan. I love this country and it’s people, and that’s why I choose to live here. I empathize with the Japanese people deeply in regards to the topic of this post, and I only wish for the best for the people living in this country, of whom I’ve come to love and admire greatly.

Japan is a collectivist society, and a shame culture. A collectivist society is one which emphasizes group harmony and goals over individual desires or needs. Western cultures operate more on individualism, which emphasizes the self, and the self’s goals, desires and happiness. The important thing to note is that neither of these is better than the other, neither is right nor wrong. They are just different sides of the same coin.

A shame culture is one where shame is inflicted upon those who behave in a culturally unacceptable way in order to control and maintain social structure. The combination of the collectivist culture, and the shame culture can create a dangerous combination, leading to consequences in the emotional well-being of the individual.

In Japan, there is a famous saying “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”. This phrase really reveals and sums up the harmful essence of the combination of the collectivist society and the shame culture. It means that you must fit in and do as everyone else (as in collectivism), or you will be punished (with shame).

Let me get into some specific observations I’ve made about the collectivist/shame culture, and how it affects Japanese society.

Here in Japan, people seem to be very conscious and concerned about what others may be thinking about them. This is because of the huge pressure to blend in, conform and be the same. It is a large source of discomfort for Japanese people to be behaving differently than other people, especially in public. This is because it triggers a shame response. This constant preoccupation – of how one is being perceived but others – in itself is a huge source of anxiety, which I won’t even get into in this post.

When I’m in public here in Japan, I get a feeling that I need to restrict my public behavior to match everyone else’s behavior. When I’m doing something out of place, I feel this sort of uncomfortable vibe, like everyone is silently watching me and judging me for acting differently.

I notice that this perceived judging triggers a shame response in me, which immediately causes me to want to correct my behavior. I’m pretty sensitive to these kinds of vibes (read about clairsentience here), so I learned very quickly that I need to really pay attention to how others are acting when I’m out in public.

Shame is also connected to the “uchi” (内, inside)  and “soto” (外, outside) culture in Japan, but I won’t get into these in detail here. Japanese people act very differently when they are in public, versus in a more private setting, such as the home. Because of the shame culture, many Japanese people hold a lot of repressed shame about who they are individually, so naturally, they will normally only show those closest to them who they really are.

This is one reason why a lot of Japanese people are hesitant to invite others into their home. Someone inviting you into their home is like an act of vulnerability, because the home is where someone is most free to be themselves. A home can tell you a lot about the kind of person who is living there. Someone with a lot of shame isn’t comfortable in showing people who they really are. It’s more comfortable for them to put on a ‘mask’ to show others in public that they are an acceptable member of society.

How does this collectivist/shame culture really affect people on an individual level?

The true damage is really done in the individual’s childhood years. We are most vulnerable and open to everything around us in these years. Children are like sponges which absorb everything around them, and the subconscious mind records and remembers all that has ever been experienced. Painful childhood experiences and the messages we receive about ourselves are what teach us to close off and protect ourselves emotionally as adolescents and adults.

Imagine a young boy who feels different from others, for whatever reason. Maybe the other boys like to play with trucks, and they talk a lot, while this boy is quiet and likes to dance, and play with more ‘feminine’ toys. *Note: This is just an arbitrary example, not something that specifically happens in Japan.

The message that the collectivist/shame culture might send to this boy, is that they are not okay to be the way they are, that they have to change themselves in order to gain love and acceptance of those around them. If this boy does not change and behave like the other boys, he is faced with the threat of ostracism. None of this will be directly said to him, most likely. No one is going to tell the young boy that he isn’t normal and that he has to change (perhaps other than other boys his age). But this is the subconscious message that he will pick up from the cues given by the his family, school or peers.

The boy is effectively programmed into following this message through the use of shame, whenever he acts in a way that is not socially desirable. As the boy grows up, there is a lot of repressed shame about who he really is. There is a lack of self love and acceptance because the shame taught him that he is not okay as he is, and must act differently in order to be loved and accepted.

Thus, shame taught the child to seek love and acceptance externally by acting in this socially accepted way. This poor child will most likely grow up with a lot of emotional discomfort caused by the repressed shame. This can manifest addictions (sexual addictions are very common in Japan) and/or emotional and mental problems, as a way to cover up and cope with the emotional pain.

This boy grows up with significant emotional baggage, and is no longer the same vibrant, happy child he once was, when he was able to express himself freely. He is no longer ‘genki’ (read about the meaning of ‘Genki’ here).

I admire that Japan values group harmony, over individual happiness, and I see nothing wrong with that in itself. But the problem I see, is with its manipulation (whether intentionally or not) with shame upon vulnerable Japanese children. Is there a way that we can live in harmony, whilst also accepting individual differences and loving others unconditionally?

I understand that this is a difficult topic, and finding a practical solution is very difficult. But hopefully by understanding a bit of the root of the Japanese society’s suffering can we begin to rethink ways of how we can all treat each other in a kinder and more loving way. So that we can truly live together in harmony both inside the home and outside in public, rather than just appearing to live in harmony on the surface.

The core of this issue is that Japanese society has focused too much on public/external harmony, without giving enough consideration to the internal well-being/individual harmony, or peace of the individual. They did this by controlling others with the use of shame, in order to maintain social order. And while things appear very smooth, happy and polished on the surface in Japan, a deeper look will reveal a real darkness which lies behind the public facade.

As I mentioned before, neither the collectivist society, nor the individualistic society is totally correct. They are like two sides of the same coin. You can say that the Ying and Yang is out of balance, and maybe the Japanese can integrate and learn from Western Individualism to balance out the two sides. And of course, the West can also learn a thing or two from the Eastern collectivism.

Claircognizance in Everyday Japanese Life

In a previous post, I briefly wrote about claircognizance, which is an extrasensory, or psychic ability, to be able to intuitively understand or read energy (read about it here). In this post, I want to talk about a very common example of how Japanese people deliberately use this psychic ability everyday.

In Japan, there is a concept called “空気を読む” (Kuuki wo yomu), which is usually translated as “read the air”. This is a concept that describes how Japanese people interact with each other in social settings.

First, let’s break down the word “空気” (Kuuki), which means “air”, or “atmosphere”, so we can get a deeper meaning of this Japanese concept. The first character means “sky”, and the second character means “energy” or “spirit”. So the word “空気” is essentially referring to the energy, or vibes in the ‘air’.

So what “空気を読む” is referring to, is the idea of reading the vibes or energy of other people during a social interaction. This is essentially the same concept as claircognizance, as applied to a social setting. Japanese people are using claircognizance on a daily basis to facilitate their social interactions.

In social situations in Japan, it’s very important to be sensitive to, and to be able to read what other people are trying to communicate. This is because Japanese culture is very indirect, and Japanese people will usually not say things directly, as it may come across as rude, or too straightforward and aggressive. Instead, Japanese people rely on their intuition as they ‘read the air’ of the other person’s vibes, so that they can indirectly infer what is trying to be communicated.

As a common example, there are many times when I’m at the supermarket and I’m looking for something which I can’t find on my own. Sometimes I’ll ask a staff “Do you have ‘x’?”, and if they have what I’m looking for, they will gladly lead me to it. If they don’t have it, this is where things can become kind of amusing to someone who isn’t used to Japanese culture. The staff will usually have an exaggerated apologetic, nervous look on their face while saying something like “Uhhhhh, that’s a little… sorry”.

The point is that Japanese people want to avoid being direct by giving you a straight “no”. This is why the Japanese staff will have a very amusing apologetic look of exaggerated nervousness, especially when talking to a foreigner. They want you to take the hint that they are trying to say “no”, but they are worried about making you uncomfortable from a direct “no”.

This is why foreigners in this country will often notice a look of nervousness or fear in a Japanese person’s eyes, right before an interaction. One thing that Japanese people are afraid of is offending others, being seen as rude, or breaking social harmony. This is why they don’t want to communicate in a direct way. It’s much more comfortable for them if they can be indirect, and they feel at ease if the other person is sensitive enough to pick up or read what they want to communicate.

Japanese people are aware that most Westerners have a very direct form of communication, and this is why Japanese people get nervous about interacting with Westerners. They are not used to the different flow of communication, and may be worried that they won’t be understood, or that they might be seen as rude if they try to communicate directly as well. One thing Japanese people often say about foreigners, is “空気を読めない” (Kuuki wo Yomenai), which means “Can’t read the air”. Westerners are just not accustomed to using claircognizance in social situations on a daily basis.

But to get back to the point of this post, Japanese people are very adept at using claircognizance in social settings. They are able to intuitively infer what other people are trying to say by ‘reading the air’, or reading the other person’s vibes. This is why Japanese people can be so indirect in their communication. In other words, Japanese people communicate in a much more psychic way than Westerners do. Instead of solely using words to communicate and interact, Japanese people read body language and other sub-communication on a daily basis in a very effective and harmonious way.

This is one of the things I actually admire a lot about Japanese culture. They are very sensitive and considerate of other people’s feelings and intentions, in an attempt to keep social interactions harmonious and respectful. This is one of the things that Western cultures could learn more about and improve from.

The thing to note is that whether a culture uses a direct or indirect form of communication, neither one is better than the other. They are two sides of the same pole, and it would be ideal if cultures around the world embraced both forms, and could use either one in the appropriate situations.

The Real Meaning of ‘Genki’ (元気)

Having lived in Japan for almost 2 years, and having studied the language for about 6 years, I’ve come to understand a bit about Japan’s rich culture and its fascinating language.

In Japanese, there is a very commonly used word, known as ‘Genki’ (元気). Anyone who’s studied Japanese surely knows this word, as it’s used in the Japanese equivalent of “how are you?”, which is “元気ですか?”, or “Genki desu ka?” (literally, are you ‘Genki’?).

The word is commonly translated as ‘fine’, but I feel that this translation doesn’t do the word justice. The word has a much deeper meaning. Thankfully, Japanese script includes the use of ‘Kanji’ (漢字), which are Chinese characters, and because each character has it’s own meaning, we can get a feel for what this word really means.

Let’s break this word down into its two components. The first character is ‘元’, pronounced as ‘gen’ which means ‘origin’. The second character ‘気’, pronounced ‘ki’ means ‘energy’, or ‘spirit’. So if we look at these two together, we get ‘original energy’, or ‘original spirit’.

So what does it mean? “Are you ‘original energy’?” doesn’t really make to sense to the average person.

Think about how you were as a child, compared to now. Are you the same person now, as you were as a child? If you’ve ever spent time around young children, you might have noticed that they have a lot of enthusiasm, energy and natural curiosity about the world. Young children seem so happy and full of life, and they are so unburdened by stress and expectations of modern society.

When you compare this to the average adult, you see that most adults are usually very busy with many responsibilities, such as work, paying bills, supporting a family, ect. A lot of adults live very stressful lives in today’s society.

Compare these adults to children. What’s the difference? It’s as if the responsibilities and expectations of society have burdened adults so much, to the point of taking away that ‘original energy’, or ‘original spirit’ that they once had as a young child. This kind of adult is no longer ‘Genki’.

The energy and enthusiasm we all had as children is our natural, or original state of being. It’s the restrictions placed on us by societal norms, and the burdens placed on us by our modern adult lives that dim the light of our original energy.

Those who are truly ‘Genki’ are those who follow their heart’s desire, who live their lives to the fullest, without worrying about what others will think of them. They are the ones who are bold enough to be themselves, to let their true selves shine, in spite of any negativity they may receive from others. This is how we all lived as children, before we were ‘programmed’ to act and think a certain way by family, peers, and society.

As you can see, saying “元気です” (I’m Genki) carries a lot more meaning than it’s translated English counterpart “I’m fine”. So are you ‘Genki’? If not, it’s time to start returning to your inner child 😉