Remarkable Changes Add to Ambiance of Life in Japan!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

Breakthroughs in all areas of life are rapidly remaking the texture and tone of lifestyle options in Japan—breakthroughs not only in material things but in the spirit of living; in fact, in all areas of contemporary culture.

These extraordinary changes may not be so conspicuous to the average Japanese or foreign resident, but they are nevertheless profound and provide insightful previews of what the future holds not only for the Japanese but ultimately for others as well.

Just some of the technological advances in recent months include a tiny device that strips the electrons from atoms releasing ions into the air that not only cleans the air but zaps dangerous airborne germs.

These tiny PCI [plasma-cluster ion] devices are being integrated not only in air purifiers but also into lighting fixtures, in car air-conditioning units; even in toilet seats. Plans are now afoot to include them in refrigerators, washing machines and cell phones. The PCI device can breakdown and eliminate 99.9 percent of a common strain of avian flu in ten minutes.

On the wearing apparel front, clothing manufacturers have joined the magic of chemistry to produce fabrics that have integrated heat-producing elements that help keep wearers warm—and the fabrics look and feel like ordinary clothing material. The implications of this development are staggering.

Dramatic advances in the production of windshields for automobiles now make it possible to clearly project data such as speed, inside and outside temperature, etc., onto windshields—with the first such models to appear in 2009. [The windshields are also more soundproof.]

A newly developed ingredient mixed in with concrete results in the concrete absorbing carbon dioxide rather than emitting it into the air, adding to the efforts to reduce polluting and warming gases. The same technology can also be used to make paper, cosmetics and other products, further reducing industrial pollution.

And closer to the lives of individuals, the extraordinary power of aromatics is being rediscovered in Japan, with amazing results. Japanese have known for ages that incense used for religious ceremonies and other purposes results in a chemical change in the functioning of the brain, relieving stress and producing a tranquil mood.

This aroma renaissance is visible in the proliferation of shops selling aromatic oils and gels to businesspeople in high-stress jobs. Just one example: It has been found that a few drops of Roman chamomile oil on a steamed towel placed by one’s pillow helps people fall asleep quickly and more deeply—and wake up refreshed. 

The Aroma Environment Association of Japan announces that it is now graduating and certifying some 30,000 aromatherapy specialists each year.

Years ago a distressed businessman who couldn’t sleep well discovered that getting up at 4 a.m. each morning and engaging in a variety of exercises resulted in a dramatic improvement in his mental and physical health. He went on to found a “Get up Early Society” that attracted hundreds of thousands of members.

Now, there is a growing “Laugh Your Stress Away” movement, known as “laugh yoga,” that is gaining adherents nationwide. Mental health authorities have confirmed that good, solid belly laughing dramatically reduces tension and makes one feel better all around.

When these new technologies and lifestyle activities are combined with a renewed interest among a growing number of Japanese in such traditional practices as “forest bathing,” visiting hot spring spas, meditating in Buddhist temples, and strolling in the evenings, on weekends and holidays, the future of Japan is not as gloomy as some doomsayers have been forecasting.


Boye Lafayette De Mente is the author of 40-plus books on the business practices, culture and language of Japan. To see a synopses of his books go to







Published in: on October 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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