Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bradcat's Japanese Culture Focus... Mottainai

With natural resources drying up fast, recycling has become common practice. In Japan, this is no different, as in 2001 laws were put in place to encourage Japanese people to actively recycle. Since the new systems have been introduced, roughly 50% of all Japanese waste is recycled (in comparison, the USA only recycles 30%) However Japanese recycling dates further back than 2001...

Mottainai (もったいない) is a Japanese term used to express when something is being wasted. In English we might say "Waste not, want not". It's a word which comes from the ancient Buddhist ideology that all objects have a soul. For example when making a fish dish, no part of the fish is wasted as parts of the fish can be used for dashi (which is a popular fish broth used in many Japanese dishes)

Mottainai has been popularised in various media forms, including the loveable Grandma Mottainai who teaches children about waste...

Mottainai was also brought into the spot light by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai, who has coined the word as a slogan for environmental protection! She says Mottainai perfectly encompasses the "four Rs" which are: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repair"

Today's culture focus was suggested by Sunou Top san from Twitcasting. You can view his channel by clicking here.

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