Through its philosophy of ikigai, food and drinks, and craft, the airline reminded guests about the different aspects of Japan at the Tatler House

Tough times make many people re-evaluate their life and work, thinking harder about the things that would offer one career satisfaction and more meaning to one's life. This is when the Japanese concept of ikigai comes into play and plays an even more significant role during difficult periods. 

While ikigai is difficult to directly translate in English, the word itself is a portmanteau of two Japanese words “iki”, meaning life and “gai”, value. At its core is finding one’s purpose in life as well as the reason for existence and motivation to thrive. It is also a philosophy that Japan Airlines is actively introducing to its global community of curious travellers.

Last year, Japan Airlines started a lively conversation about ikigai led by neuroscientist Ken Mogi, in a bid to inspire people to discover this empowering philosophy and use it in their daily lives. Author of the book Awakening Your Ikigai, Mogi posits that finding your ikigai is said to lead to a more fulfilling and happier existence

In Singapore, Japan Airlines created ikigai immersions to help showcase this concept to Tatler Singapore’s community of travel lovers. “The ikigai of Japan Airlines is to technically connect the world to Japan because not only do we want you to taste and touch Japan," said Jonathan Wan, director of Global Customer Experience and Marketing at Japan Airlines. "We want you to understand Japan a little bit better." 

Related: What Is the Meaning of Ikigai? Japan Airlines Shares The Secret Of Achieving A Fuller Life

The ikigai of Japan Airlines is to technically connect the world to Japan because not only do we want you to taste and touch Japan, we want you to understand Japan a little bit better

— Jonathan Wan, director of Global Customer Experience and Marketing at Japan Airlines

Tatler Asia

The Journey of Ikigai began with a trip to Japan through curated bites such as Kurobuta pork belly rouleaux and strawberry mochi with strawberry cream and red bean paste. Tatler Bar also served, to the delight of the guests, interesting Japanese sakes such as the Hakugakusen Tokusen Junmai Daiginjo and Yokoyama Goju Junmai Daiginjo White. 

The small group then proceeded to the hands-on workshop, carefully chosen to help demonstrate the principles of ikigai. This session was anchored on “finding joy in small things” and was done through a terrazzo tray-making workshop led by Colin Chen of Grams & Co.

Before the workshop, Chen first talked about kintsugi, which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending it with with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. "There is always a value in everything that we own. It's how we choose to look at it and how we can restore value to it," he said. With this in mind, the group mindfully created their own terrazzo tray as they inched closer to discovering their own take on ikigai.