Reflections on Japan and Taiwan

I recently travelled to Japan, in particular Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, as well as Taiwan, and all I can say is that they really were some of the most phenomenal countries to which I’ve ever travelled. With the coexistence of modernity and history, science fiction-like cities and religion to match, I would recommend both countries to absolutely anyone.

But why is this relevant to you as readers of this blog on health and well-being? Because we in the Western world can learn much from the Japanese and Taiwanese as to how to live a healthier and more productive life.

Food during the snowy Japanese winter is hot, brothy and full of vegetables and little meat. On one occasion at the base of Mt. Fuji, I enjoyed a meal of sweet, clear soup packed with mushrooms, ginger and lemongrass. Digestion is facilitated by the liquid (aided by oolong or rice tea to match) and the ginger in both the soup and that which accompanies almost every meal provides heat and enzymes to flush out the immune system.

Taiwanese food is also good, but I’d like to focus more on the community-oriented spirit of the small island. Like many countries the world over, families are not limited to parents and kids. Grandparents and spouses of children, cousins and aunts all live under the one roof. Nobody is alone and importantly, the elderly are not sent off to aged care homes.

Moreover, if you take a stroll in the streets you will see an abundance of parks and witness groups of people of all ages playing mah-jong together and the blind massaging one another. The social dynamic is not nearly as well-built into everyday life in Australia as it is in Taiwan.