Happy Moments the Japanese Way
Giving yourself the “warm fuzzies”
Finding happiness in everyday life can sometimes be challenging. The daily hustle and bustle can take up all of your energy, making it difficult to make time for activities and people that bring you joy.
But there is no need to worry. At least mentally, it’s always possible to get into your happy headspace. Even if your day is crazy busy or going from bad to worse.
Natsukashii. It’s one of the untranslatable Japanese words. It is sometimes translated as nostalgia or nostalgic. Nostalgia, however, has a slightly negative connotation. At the very least, nostalgia is a bag of mixed emotions. When people refer to someone as nostalgic they might sometimes mean that a person is longing for their past, or dwelling on their past, a little too much.
For the Japanese however, Natsukashii is associated with positive feelings. It means thinking of moments from your past that bring back happy memories and joy. Natsukashii comes about when you relive moments from your life or think of something that gives you warm fuzzies.
For example, if you think of a place where you go for vacation every year, you feel Natsukashii. You can also picture a place which is Furusato to you. Quite literally, Furusato is your hometown. Furusato is also used figuratively to mean any place where your heart belongs. To me, my Furusato place is in Brighton, a seaside resort in southeastern England.
I recently found a cinema ticket for a movie I went to see when I lived in New York City in 1999 with a dear friend. I found it hidden in a drawer when moving. The ticket stub brought about many fond memories of my time in New York City, when the world was my oyster. I was only 19 and living in the Big Apple for the first time, having the time of my life. That ticket had me feel Natsukashii.
In addition, six years ago, during my second stay in New York City, I was able to reconnect with some of the people I knew back in 1999. Meeting up my friends after so many years gave me many warm fuzzies. Definitely a very Natsukashii moment.
You can also create objects which will help you evoke Natsukashii. For instance, create your own memory in a bottle. I have one bottle like that with a photo of one of my pet birds and her feathers in a mason jar in my living room.
It is possible to evoke Natsukashii anywhere and at any time. If you do not happen to have an object on your which might help you feel Natsukashii, you can recall a good feeling, memory or image from your life. Below are just a few examples:
- a childhood memory
- memory or thinking of your pets
- thinking of your friends and family, current and past
- recalling memories of your favourite place(s)
- listening to your favourite music
- watching your favourite movie
- reading book(s) that bring about memories of good times.
Natsukashii is, ultimately, an appreciation of your own life. Of all the good experiences you have had. Perhaps you also manage to give a positive spin to some of the bad life experiences and that can bring about Nathukashii.
Natskukashii is the mental equivalent of giving yourself a hug or a pep talk. Practising Natskukashii can have a positive effect on your calm and happy state of mind. Only you know best how to evoke your own Natsukashii. Your imagination knows no bounds. Happy Natsukashii-ing !
Read a related story: Lessons For Happiness From the Costa Rican Way of Life.
About the author
Writing about well-being, self-care and psychology. Occassional poet and fiction writer. Based in Prague. Passionate about coffee, yoga, reading and Toastmasters. Native speaker of Czech, fluent in English (as a second language).