Japan

Spirit of the Samurai

Tradition still runs strong in Japan.

Despite being at the forefront of technological advancement for decades, all across the neon lit, modern city of Tokyo, people are keeping the old ways alive. They haven't forgotten their heritage.

People like Kazuhisa, who I met early one rainy Tokyo morning, practicing his traditional sword play in the park. I asked him why he still practiced the long outdated skills of the Samurai. "Because I am Japanese" was his simple answer.

The glory days of the Samurai may have long passed into the history books. In the 21st century, there is no place for people walking the streets with killing swords in their hands. And yet their memory lives on through those who keep their traditions alive, ensuring their spirit remains an every day part of the identity of modern Japan.

We are all products of our past. And yet so often we forget where we have come from, ignoring our personal heritage as we race towards the future. After all, how can we know where we are going if we don't know where we have been?

The traditional ways may not always have an obvious place in our modern day lives, but it is worth considering whether the best way to know who we want to be in the future, is by understanding of who we were in the past.

For that, perhaps we could all benefit from searching for our own sprit of the Samurai.

Cooperation

Space is a valuable asset in Tokyo.

With billboards and brightly lit signs occupying every available inch of the buildings above, and people jostling for room as they bustle along the crowded streets below, the entire city can prove a serious shock to the system.

And yet there is a sense of order within the chaos.

In such a densely populated city, people have had to learn to work together to bring order to every day life. Japanese society has practically been built on complex social rules with which govern virtually every aspect of everyday life. Whether is it knowing when to walk and when to stop, or who goes first and who gives way, everyone just seems to understand what to do. Where elsewhere in the world, we are so caught up in our own lives and thoughts, completely unaware of the people around us, in Tokyo co-operation has become a way of life. They have understand the simple truth, that by thinking about others, everyone can benefit.

Perhaps it is a lesson we all benefit from learning.