10 Health Safeguards

I’ve lived in Japan several times over the past 20 years; 8 years total. In addition to learning the language I also learned many things from my Japanese friends family and acquaintances.

One day while at a neighbor’s house, I noticed a traditional ceramic tea cup, something that you might see at a sushi shop. Unlike other similar cups, this one didn’t contain the names of popular fish, it contained 10 four character phrases—all in Chinese characters (or kanji 漢字). Each phrase was in a pattern of “little ___ more ___”. After each of those was one sentence extended versions of the same thing explaining what the more compact phrase meant. With a little further explanation from our friend, I soon learned what pearls of wisdom they were. Very short but significant things we can change in our daily habits to make ourselves healthy. I since have forgotten what most of them were, but I always wanted that cup!

Today after a little googleing I found the same thing on a Japanese site selling hand towels:

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As a note of interest, at first I got many more  websites in Chinese, so my suspicion is that this originate in China; it feels like Confucius as it’s a lifestyle suggestion.

Here’s my rough translation:

健康は素晴らしい 一番の宝物

働き

やっぱり健康が一番

Good health is wonderful, the number one treasure.

Working

健康十守

10 Health Safeguards

一 少肉多菜

1. Less meat more vegetables

二 少塩多酢

2. Less salt more vinegar

三 少糖多果

3. Less sugar more fruit

四 少食多噛

4. Less food more chew

五 少衣多浴

5. Less clothing more bath

六 少言多行

6. Less talk more action

七 少欲多施

7. Less wants more deeds

八 少憂多眼

8. Less worry more seeing

九 少車多歩

9. Less wheels more walk

十 少憤多笑

10. Less anger more laughter

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