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Interview: Ikigai Bio-Hacking with Sachikai Takamiya
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Interview: Ikigai Bio-Hacking with Sachikai Takamiya

Embracing Nature’s Wisdom: A Dive into Ikigai Bio-Hacking with Sachiaki Takamiya
Transcript

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From Hino, Shiga, Japan, a conversation with biohacker, health advocate, and naturalist, Sachiaki Takamiya. Ancient wisdom echoes through Takamiya-san’s life work, coalescing with the vigor of modern scientific discovery to birth what is known as the Ikigai Bio-Hacking method.

Authoring several books and a wide ranging blog, Takamiya-san has significantly contributed to the realm of Bio-Hacking. His seminal work, "Ikigai, BioHacking," serves as a bridge between the timeless Japanese natural health philosophy and the advancement of scientific progress in the realms of wellness and longevity. Ikigai Biohacking empowers individuals to reclaim their health through a simple, practical, and multimodal method that include:

  1. Diet

  2. Exercise

  3. Mentality

  4. Spirituality

  5. Planetary Health

The nuanced, nature-centric approach that he adopts sets him apart from the other “Bio-Hackers” , in contrast offering a holistic, grounded perspective on health and wellness.

As we delved into the heart of our discussion, Takamiya-san graciously shared insights on his biography, the essence of maintaining an independent spirit amidst a world obsessed with quick fixes.

His dedication to promoting a sustainable lifestyle, not just as a means to personal health but also as a blueprint for planetary health, reflects a depth of vision that is both rare and needed in today's biohacking landscape.

Learn more about https://ikigaibiohacking.com/

Discover his Youtube Channel @https://www.youtube.com/@theikigaidiet3790

Support his books @ https://www.amazon.com/dp/4991064872

Summary Notes:

  • Introduction 
    – 00:55 How I discovered Sachiaki Takamiya

    – 04:27 Promoting Ikigai Biohacking - Blend of Japanese health practices and Western biohacking

  • Exploring and Relevancy of Biography to Current Work
    – 07:12 Background in English-speaking countries
    – 13:10 Return to Japan
    – 18:00 Exposure to Materialism in the Bubble Japan
    – 20:00 Exposure to alternative lifestyles and naturalist movements
    – 22:57 Interest in spirituality and philosophy of life
    – 27:54 Conformity and Individuality
    – 36:48 Red-pilling his teacher

  • Focus on the Ikigai Diet and biohacking practices
    – 43:55 - Summary of Philosophy– Emphasis on natural methods and avoiding commercialization– Interest and Discussion on health benefits of Natto
    – 48:28 Skepticism towards artificial biohacking and reliance on technology
    – 51:56 Concerns about privacy and data collection
    – 55:52 Importance of maintaining natural abilities and intuition / Critique of Technology– Focus on individual choice and respect for different perspectives
    – 58:23 Cult / Group Dynamics. The dangers of biohacking
    – 1:06 Non “standard practices” 

  • Other Topics
    – 1:10 Naturalist Experience of COVID 19 in Japan
    – 1:14 Japan respecting Individual Autonomy – Polarization in the West vs Japan 

    – 1:15 Discussion on Current Interests and Future Projects


Leafbox:

I had the pleasure of speaking to author Satchiki Takamiya. He's a health advocate, a naturalist who explores and combines from Japanese health practices and philosophies along with modern western biohacking and longevity practices. He's based out of Hino, Shiga, Japan. He's written several books, one of which I recently read called Ikigai Biohacking. That's one of his books that really combines and mixes and advocates for this blend of Japanese natural health philosophy, along with other scientific discoveries and practices that are practical in their advice and application. I discovered Takamiya-san and his popular YouTube series on NattoNatto is a fermented Japanese soybean product, and I was trying to develop and make my own Natto bacteria starter. Takamiya-san is one of the few people who actually has videos on this kind of esoteric process of making your own starters to make Natto anyway, discovering the breadth and scope of his writing, his research.

I had the pleasure of speaking with him this weekend on his biography, how he keeps an independent spirit, his approach, his past, what he does in his practical life. And I think Takamiya-san is particularly interesting and useful as a contact to other contemporary biohackers coming from the West who are really particularly interested in longevity and wellness. Esan offers more of a naturalist approach, something that's I think more rounded and grounded. He has a flexibility and an awareness that I think can be applicable to anyone's life. And what's nice about his model is that it can be universal, simple to implement natural, and does not rely on a commercialized model. I really enjoyed speaking with Takamiya-san . I hope you listen and enjoy and learn something. I recommend his books, his blog, his newsletter, and thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy.

Leafbox:

Well Takamiya-san know it's early in the start of the week, so I really appreciate your time and I hope one of your concepts, the Sanpo-yoshi, well, it's not your concept, but a Japanese business concept. I hope we can, yeah…

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Sanpo Yoshi- the Omi-merchants' concept. Yeah.

Yeah. I hope we can be productive today. I've really enjoyed some of your content and I've been, like I said, I first discovered you when I was making Natto at home, and then I kind of went super into a deep dive on Natto and making Natto at home Instapot, and then I started trying to make my own Natto starter, and I was buying Natto a starter and using the commercial Natto and having success with that. But you're one of the only people I could find in English with information about making Nattostarter, so that was very interesting and thank you for that, so I appreciate that.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Oh, No problem. So you mean Natto starter, like making Natto from wild plants,

Leafbox:

Correct. Yes.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Do you mean by making your own starter, using a natural source? Right. Okay.

Leafbox:

Yeah, because there's so many resources to make Natto from the commercial yeast, well, the bacteria that's available, either buying starter, but I thought it was fascinating that you share that information on how to make the actual starter from the rice plant. Don't we, again, thank you so much for your time, but for people who aren't familiar with your work...

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Well, I suppose, yeah, well, I'm a writer, but maybe Ikigai biohacking promoter now, or the Ikigai Diet Promoter. So I basically shareinformation on health and longevity, like how to stay young and healthy and increase your health span. Not so much about lifespan, but health span to stay active until you die. But this method is based on Japanese natural health. It's more oriental approach, and that involves some philosophical perception, too. So, in a way, I am a philosopher as well. I'm not established as a philosopher. I mean, I don't have an academic background in philosophy. I didn't study philosophy at university or anything like that, but I have been searching for the meaning all my life. I mean, the meaning to live and how to be happy, how to personally become happy, and how to make society happy, too. So, in that sense, yeah, I can call myself a philosopher of life or a philosopher of happiness.

Leafbox:

Maybe we can start with your biography before you started releasing your books. I'm curious, there's kind of an accent from the UK and the way you speak English. Did you study in the UK or could you give us a little bit of biography of where you were working or where you learned English and just some of your background?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Okay. Okay, sure. Yeah, so I'm Japanese and I live in Japan now. And I was born in Japan. I grew up in Japan, and in my early twenties, I spent about six years living in English speaking countries. The first country I went to was Australia. I went there when I was 19 on working holiday, actually. And then I lived in Britain for four years in my early twenties, and then, finally Canada for one year. So I spent six years in English speaking countries, but the Britain was the longest, so that's why maybe I have an influence from the British accent. Although in Japan we encounter a lot of North Americans, Canadians, and Americans, and, so, I have spent so much time with North American people, too. So, I do have a mixed influence from different English speaking cultures.

Leafbox:

What was your first, where did you grow up in Japan?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

In Tokyo.

Leafbox:

And what was your exposure to the West? I mean, what was your experience going to Australia? Maybe we can start with food. I'm just curious how you were shocked or what was your first impression of what were you like as a 20 year old man?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Oh, yeah. So one thing with the language, the language was very difficult. I didn't understand anything at that time. So it was shocking to be in a world where you don't understand the language, I felt like I lost my ability to communicate for the first time in my life. So that was very shocking. And the second thing was the culture. The culture was very different. The way people do things, the way people think, the way people communicate. For example, in Japan, we have a polite language, and we use

Different language to superior or the people who are older. But in English, basically, you don't really have that kind of polite language. You sort of speak equally to most people. And that was a very new thing for me. So I mean, that cultural aspect was very impressive to me. But also the universality, the fact that, I mean, Japan, especially around that time, we didn't have that many people coming from other countries, basically the only Japanese people. But in Australia, there were people from all over the world. There were Vietnamese, there were Europeans, and Indonesians and Chinese too. So I did meet people from all over the world, and that broadened my world view very much.

Leafbox:

While you were abroad, were you studying or working or you said you had a working visa. What kind of work were you doing?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

So do you know about working holiday? Working holiday is kind of a visa where you are allowed to work during your stay. It's sort of a, but you can stay up to one year. And then Japan has a working holiday visa agreement with Australia, Canada, and now New Zealand, and also with Britain too. So I didn't go to university or anything in Australia. I just had a holiday. But I did work sometimes during my stay, but I stayed there for about one year.

Leafbox:

Well, I'm just curious if that experience all influenced what you're doing now, because the way I read your work, you have a title in Japanese, Hyakusho Revolution, and I would consider, I would your philosophy to be under what I call maybe the lohas movement in Japan, kind of organic lifestyle, alternative lifestyle, Yeah. Lohas / Masahiro Fukuoka and kind of emerging from that kind of natural farming, regenerative farming. There's a history of that in Japan, but there's also the traditional kind of salary man lifestyle in Tokyo, the super hyperized, commercialized, processed food culture of Japan. So there's those two. So I was just wondering if your experience in the West being totally kind of shaken language-wise, maybe either liberated or Influenced your work when you went back to Japan?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, it did very much. Not so much in Australia though, because that was the first year, so I was struggling with the language, but when I went to Britain, so I was more fluent in English, so I could communicate with the people there. I could have a lot of discussion with people talking about philosophy and politics and all kinds of things. So that's when I encountered the more alternative culture of the Western world. So I went to Emerson College, which is a college of Rudolf Steiner. So are you familiar with Steiner, like Steiner school?

Leafbox:

Yes. My daughter goes to a Waldorf school, so I'm very familiar.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Oh, really? Yeah. Okay. So yeah, I encountered the philosophy of Steiner, and then many people who came to Emerson College were interested in the alternative way of living and natural way of living and spirituality and so on. So in England, I encountered what was then called the New Age movement, but not only the spiritual movement, there was a kind of strong environmental movement, too. At that time in Britain, the green politics was still not so big compared to Germany. Well then it was called West Germany, but there was a growing movement of people who are interested in organic farming and using natural medicine. So yeah, basically I encountered the whole movement of people who want to change their lifestyle to find holistic solutions to their happiness, and also social happiness, too. So the time in England influenced me a lot in my views, although since then I went through different transitions to, but eventually I have come back to that idea or a sustainable lifestyle.

Leafbox:

And then when you came back to Japan, what year was this?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

I came back to Japan in 1988. Yeah, 1988.

Leafbox:

So the bubble was still ongoing.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

It was beginning to, the bubble economy was as we're hitting the bubble economy period. So from 88 and 89, and I think in 90, yeah, I lived in Japan. I experienced the bubble economy. So that time in Japan, especially Tokyo, was completely different or almost the opposite of what I experienced in England, because I basically was immersed in this alternative culture where people are not materialistic at all. And then it came back to Tokyo where everything was materialistic. People only interested in making money or fashion, and the whole world, even the foreign people I met in Tokyo were completely different from the type of people I was familiar with back in Europe. So that was another interesting experience for me to go through that, because at that time I was a little disillusioned with a whole new age movement. And so in a way, meeting different kinds of people was stimulating in a way to just see different point of view.

But again, I'm not interested in materialistic side at all now. So as an experience, it was good for me that time. But there was a natural movement in Japan too, even in the eighties. But I think compared to Europe, it was very small and the people who are leading alternative lifestyle was much more in the minority than in Britain. And then for the first maybe two or three years of my stay in Tokyo, at that time, I did not encounter any of those alternative Japanese people. But later maybe I think maybe in my forties, I encountered a lot of Japanese naturalists. And today I have many friends who are naturalists what I call, well, it is called Shizenha in Japanese.

Leafbox:

So maybe we can start going there, because I think that's one of your core concepts in your five area biohacking, I guess the natural Shizenka. Maybe you can start there. How would you describe the Shizenha or the ShinzenKa lifestyle purpose?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, shizenha people basically mean naturalist and Japanese naturalist, and many of them moved to the countryside from big cities to lead a natural lifestyle. So they have a garden, a vegetable garden, and grow vegetables organically, or they might use natural farming method, which is a little different from organic farming. You don't cultivate the land and you don't use any fertilizers, and you just do some weeding, but not too much. You just let nature take care of growing the vegetables. So some people practice either natural or organic farming, and then they grow their children naturally. And then yeah, those are ci ha people. And then for example, I live in a small rural town in Shiga prefecture, which is near Kyoto. And in our town we have a big network of Shizenha people. There are many Shizenha people living in our town, and we have a network called local network. And initially we were meeting once a month, but now we don't really meet once a month, but we still have a network. And occasionally we meet, and then we often bump into each other in our town. Some people run an organic cafe, other people run a free school, and we have a group to promote organic school lunch. We were negotiating with our town hall to introduce organic school lunch in our elementary schools. And then finally from this autumn, one of the elementary schools, the organic school lunch was introduced to one of the elementary schools, and then they serve organic rice. So

Leafbox:

Yeah, going back to the timescale, what motivated, I guess when you get back to Tokyo and your kind of being renewed by this kind of material and energy, there's kind of an energy in Tokyo, right? Yeah. What made you then leave that and go back looking for a more rural natural experience? What was that trigger?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, it was a long time ago, so have to sort of remember. So when I came back to Japan during the bubble economy period, I was in my late twenties, so I was still young, and I was interested in lots of things including the materialistic side of life too. But then as you grow older, you might look into some other things. And then it was, I think

In my thirties and forties, I wanted to become a novelist. So I was doing a lot of writing and novel writing. And then through my writing novels, I sort of became interested in spirituality again. So I became interested in the new age movement in England, and then I kind of grew out of that movement when I came back to Japan. But in my thirties, I regained interest in the spirituality again. And then so I was writing novels about based on those spiritual ideas. And then in, oh, yeah, yeah. So I remember in 1990, was it, when was it? 2008. 2008, yeah, there was a Lehman shock. So before the Lehman shock, I had many friends who are sort of psychic or they could foresee the future, and they're all telling me there's going to be a economic crash and financial crash. And then in fact, many people are saying that world will be over and so on, and then living in a city can be quite dangerous.

We all need to go self-sufficient. So I started looking into moving to the countryside, and then the meantime, I encountered a book called The One Straw Revolution by Masahiro Fukuoka. So his idea is to be self-sufficient, every person become self-sufficient, and then we can solve so many of the problems in the world because by kind of specializing our occupation, we stop being a farmer. And now we have different jobs and we're not self-sufficient. That means farmers have to produce a lot of food for other people, and that means we need machines, we need a bigger land to grow food and so on. But if everybody went back to a self-sufficient lifestyle like in the past, then you only need to grow enough food for yourself, and then with that system, you can maintain the sustainability of the world. So I became very interested in his idea, and then I moved to Tochigi, and then I started growing vegetables and started leading this natural lifestyle. So that's a time when I became interested in farming and yeah.

Leafbox:

Could you elaborate a little bit more on your spiritual journey? Were you looking into Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism, what specifically Christianity? What was attracting to you? What kind of spiritual practice were you looking at or currently have?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah. So when I say spirituality, yeah. So I have studied many kinds of spirituality throughout my life. So initial encounter, I told you that was a New Age movement in Britain, and for those of you who are not familiar with the new age movement, it is a kind of spirit. It's a effort to study different spiritual traditions throughout the world. So maybe studying Buddhism, studying Hinduism or studying Native Americans spirituality or studying the Taoism from China, or even Japanese Zen ideas and so on. But including Christianity too, Christianity, and then they not so much, it isn't institutionalized religion. There's no guru, there's no one specific like a teaching, almost like you study religion in, university type of thing. So you study different spiritual concept and then try to find common ground or try to find some answer that is suitable to you. So in some ways, everybody has different answers, not like everybody believes in one idea, people have different philosophies, but those philosophy was somewhat similar and somewhat connected.

Basically the polytheism, like the idea that you believe in many gods rather than one God, it's not monotheistic idea. So in a way, it was more influenced by spirituality such as Buddhism and Hinduism. So yeah, I encountered that first, but then I later realized that there some contradiction in the new age movement too. And then one contradiction was the commercialism. The whole thing became commercial and became sort of business the way to transform your life was packaged into big seminars and product and so on. And then when the business comes in, the essence is often lost because you have to choose between sticking to your principle or with a business, ideas. And then the whole movement shifted towards the latter became the thing was the essence was altered by the business interest type of thing. So then I realized that it doesn't really matter what the spirituality is, the humans change because that's what happened with the Christianity too.

The original idea was wonderful. I think the time of the Christ when people followed him was maybe great, but when it became an institution and the church was created, and then many people kind of sifted from the essence, and then maybe it wasn't, not so much a business, but protecting the church as the organization how to govern the church became the bigger priority than keeping the essence of the teaching. I noticed that it is always important to go back to the source or the essence of the spirituality and then stay true to that essence. And so that require self reflection all the time, always becoming critical to yourself or if you are in the organization, to become critical of your organization, to look at if there are any contradiction. And then if you find contradiction, you are flexible enough to change it.

Leafbox:

So Takamiya-san would you say that goes against the stereotype of Japanese conformity? I just wonder where you have that flexibility from, because I read a lot of your writing, and it seems great that you're able to self-reflect and change. You went to Australia, you picked up some things, you went to the uk, you picked up some things, come to Japan, enjoy some of the materialism, go on a spiritual path. You're always selecting, editing, choosing, taking, coming back, reforming. So I really appreciate that in your work. So I'm just wondering where you get that freedom from,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Right? Yeah, I think I'm very unique person in Japan. Very different from majority of the Japanese people. So yeah, Japan is very conformed society, as you said. Most people don't think I do. I suppose I had always been like that. Well, yeah. So I think I wrote that in my book too, Ikigai Bio-Hacking that when I was 14, I grew up in Tokyo, but when I was 14, I lived in Nagano prefecture, which is the countryside, the mountainous part of Japan, and I did a kind of home stay with a local family in a small village. So farmer's family. And this family was leading this traditional Japanese farming lifestyle. So for the first time in my life, I experienced what I call the satoyama lifestyle, this a rural lifestyle in the countryside.

And then I experienced what happiness was. I felt very happy. So at that time I felt happy, and then I started seeking for happiness, how I could maintain that happiness, and then how I could change the society to be happy. So I was 14 at that time. Then in my teens, when I was in high school from 16 to 18, I spent a lot of time thinking about social happiness and personal happiness and how to achieve it. And then I dreamed about building a utopia or ideal school, ideal town or ideal country and so on. And then I didn't really get into the typical Japanese, this we call the Juken, which is studying for the entrance examination of university, because most high school students were busy just studying for the exams. But I didn't study for the exams. And on the contrary, I refused to even take the exam. I took exams in school exams, but I didn't try to get high score. I sometimes submitted my test without writing anything on purpose because I didn't believe in the whole system of examination.

Leafbox:

How did you keep that individual kind of spirit? I mean the pressure in Japan from the Juku, and I'm just curious how you were, were you bullied or were people just kind of like, oh, this guy?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, I don't know. I didn't have any problem with any of my classmates or the teachers. For some reason I kind of got along with my friends. I also played soccer. So usually if you are doing sports or if you are in a kind of a sports club, sports, you're not really bullied because you are kind of physically strong enough to be bullied. And so I didn't get into any fight and our school was, yeah, I think all my classmates were sort of friendly, and there was no bullies in our class either. And then for the teachers, it was kind of strange, but I think teachers avoided me. They felt I was a little difficult student to deal with because I wrote an essay once in my composition class, and that was to, I basically wrote about creating this utopia type of thing. So I said I was not going to university, but I would create this utopia.

So the teacher who read it maybe gave it to my head teacher, so maybe head the teacher was afraid of me. So usually in high school, teachers speak to every student about your course, what you are going to do after high school, whether you are going to university, you're going to get a job, you're going to special school, you usually have a one-on-one session with each student and talk about your future. But he wouldn't come to me. I was the only person in class that head teacher did not speak about our future. So until I graduate, he didn't know what I was going to do. I think he just avoided talking with me because he was very afraid of me. It wasn't just like he, maybe because he thought I would convince him, I was capable of bringing the rational argument to convince that whole system was wrong, and I was right and he knew it yet being in the system, he couldn't do anything about it. But then he was very afraid of maybe confronting me to change my mind or anything. I don't know why, but

Leafbox:

No, no, I understand. It's almost like you're a mirror towards the conformity and I mean, I don't know if you've seen the movie The Matrix, but you're offering the red pill or the blue pill, he doesn't want to take it. I guess it's interesting because I keep focusing on your youth because now that I know about this, the work you're doing now is an attempt to build that utopia. It seems you're offering a lot of solutions to societal improvement. I don't know if you see those parallels.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, yeah. I suppose mean for the Utopia thing, I was still naive in my teens, and then I didn't go to Findon community in Scotland, which was a little utopia. Yet there are some problems there too. I mean there are many eco villages around the world now, which in some way, like utopia, utopian communities and some of them are really great. I think maybe moving to those places, one solution because it's kind of secluded place and you're not in the real society, I felt unless you change the society, there won't be utopia. I mean, you can create a little small utopia, yet it just only that place you need to have a sort of social impact on other area too. So in my twenties, I went to Findon home, but since then I changed my mind about creating a utopia like that. I wanted to change the society itself. But now I don't think I can change the society. I'm not that naive either. So I just do what I can do to just, I dunno, doing my part of making that small change because this is the collection of many people's work. I alone cannot change the society, but many people can, so millions people can change the society together. So I'm just doing my, my small tiny part of the transformation.

Leafbox:

That kind of brings us to where we are with your book right now, because like I said, I found you through Natto, but then I ordered your books, the Ikigai biohacking and the Diet book. Maybe you can just give us a framework for what kind of that personal project is.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

So the IkiKai Biohacking is basically a book about biohacking, which means changing yourself to stay young and healthy until you die. But the difference between Ikigai biohacking and regular biohacking is one is it is completely natural. Ikigai biohacking is also called Shizenha biohacking, therefore it is a natural biohacking. So that means we do natural methods such as fasting or changing our diet exercises or do things like a deliberate heat exposure or cold exposure such as sauna and cold shower and so on. But do not do anything artiifical such as putting implant in your body to measure your health condition and stuff like that, or doing any kind of genetic engineering things. Yeah, so 100% natural. And then another difference is that the purpose, the goal of biohacking, I think bio hacking itself is a very big term and many people do it differently. So there's no one set of goals for regular biohacking, but many people seems to want to expand their lifespan.

So meaning they want to live to 140 or 150, but I'm not interested in expanding our lifespan. I'm very happy to die at the age of 100 or age of 120. I think so far humans are capable of living close to 120 because there are people who have lived to that age when even now there are people who've lived over 110. Some Ians are 115, so maybe that is capable. So I would like to stay young and healthy until that age, until our health lifespan, but I don't want to necessarily expand that lifespan. This is because why do you want to do it? Why do you want to live to 150, for example? If there is a specific reason, then it's okay, but if there is no specific purpose, then there's no point. And then one thing is missing or one thing is not talked about is what happens after you die.

One thing is not talked about in biohacking is what happens after you die. Yeah, people talk about they want to expand their lifespan and live long, live longer yet. So what happens when you die eventually because you will die, even though if you extended your lifespan to 150, you'll die. Then what happens? So whether you believe in life after death makes a big difference. So it doesn't mean you need to believe in life after death, but if you believed in life after death, then you also want to prepare for that too. So you don't want to only think about staying young and healthy until you die. You also want to, I don't know, feel happier in afterlife. So that means when you do biohacking practices, you want to work on your body of course to stay healthy, but also you want to work on your spirituality too. You want to, you work on your soul to be in good shape so that you can die beautifully and then lead your next life appropriately.

But this, I'm not saying it's a kind of reincarnation that Buddhist said. I mean, people have different spirituality. So even if you're Christian, you believe that you might go to heaven, but also how you live in this lifetime is very important. As a Christian, you want to practice unconditional love and grow yourself spiritually too, too. So if that is a case, then you want to spend the latter part of your life focusing on that spirituality too. You don't want to just focus on your body only, but also a spirit. So the body, mind, spirit, and the planet are four important elements in Ikigai biohacking. So we try to optimize those four area as much as possible to stay young, healthy and meaningfully, young, healthy and spiritual to lead meaningful remaining life because ikigai means a kind of life purpose or something to motivate your life. But Ikigai really means iki is a life and a Gai is a value or worth. So life that is worth leading to is ikigai so at the time of your dying at the end of your life, I want to feel that this life was worth living. This life was valuable. That's how I would like to die. So I want to spend the rest of my life to fulfill that. So living meaningfully, living with Ikigai is as critical as staying young and healthy.

Leafbox:

Could you summarize maybe just a quick point or two, like the diet, the exercise, spiritual practice, and then the community planet. What do you do for each one? Just a quick overview for people who don't have time to read the book,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, sure. So you can, to stay healthy, you can change your diet, you can practice fasting, exercise and so on. So there's no one specific method. I mean, you can choose whatever you basically, whatever you feel most comfortable and whatever is the optimal for you. But what I do, for example, so I practice what I call the Ikigai diet, which is based on natural Japanese dietary practice. So mostly plant-based, but not 100%. We eat a lot of fish, for example, but it's a fiber rich diet. We eat a lot of vegetables and beans, mushrooms and so on. So it's very fiber rich diet. And also it is very balanced. So we're not eliminating one type of nutrient such as eliminating carbs and stuff like that. So it's not low carb, it's not low protein. Basically a mixture of everything. A carb protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, everything's important. But having a good balance is critical.

But then ikigai diet isn't necessarily a Japanese diet. You can practice the Ikigai diet in any country's dietary culture. So you can use your own food ingredients to practice the Ikigai diet, having a balanced diet. And then I practice what I call hare andkeintermittent fasting, which I do about 17 hours fast, but only during the week, just five days a week. And on the weekend I don't fast. So I have three meals. So hare andkein Japanese means hare is a festival period, and K is a usual period. Sokeis more kind of a disciplined time when you lead more frugal simple lifestyle. But hareyou enjoy your life and you celebrate, you have a feast. So I divide the week betweenkeand hare. So during the week iskeperiod and the weekend is hare, therefore I only practice intermittent fasting during the week and don't on the weekend. And then during the week I try to stay on plant-based diet as much as possible. I mean, I do eat fish too, but not meat. But on the weekend including some animal based food to just take a break from the discipline period. And then for the exercises, you can do both aerobic exercises and strength training, but it is better if you can

Do it in nature like outdoor, so go Nordic walking or go jogging outside and then to do a strength training, maybe it's better to do a body weight training rather than lifting weight and so on. Because in oriental martial art, it is important to relax your muscles too. Muscle needs to be flexible, so you don't want to tense up your muscles too much. Yeah. So there's some other, but mostly fasting diet and some exercises

Leafbox:

Are you measuring, there's the famous biohacker, what's his name? Brian Kaplan (Correction: Brian Johnson). I don't know if you're familiar with him with the Blueprint Diet,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Brian Kaplan (Correction: Brian Johnson)? No, no, I am not familiar with that.

Leafbox:

He's famous. He's spending two or 3 million a year biohacking, and he tracks every metric and he has doctors measuring his blood and basically tracking everything he can, measuring the density of his bones and cholesterol level, hundreds of medical metric markers and proving them all. And it's an interesting approach. I'm just curious what you are measuring, how do you know what you're doing is working? What's not working? How do you self-reflect from a body or spiritual practice? I mean, do you sleep analysis or what are you measuring?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, I don't measure so much personally. I'm not against measuring either, but I don't need to measure because I can feel if it is, I mean of course I have a regular checkup in the hospital. We have a medical checkup at the hospital once a year, so I do take that. And then so far I have not had any problems in the medical checkup. I'm 61 years old now and I have not had any problems at medical checkups. And then they give you a kind of detailed analysis of different elements and then everything was okay. So I don't do any extra checkup to do a more thorough checkup, which is done in some of those blood test type of thing. And I don't do a D N A check and stuff like that partly because I don't feel I need to do that because you can feel, you can also look at your, just like your general health, I mean if you feel bad, you would notice it.

And then the problem with some of those checkup is number one, when you give a blood sample and do a DNA checkup, that means that company will have information about your D N A too. I'm not saying the company will use it wrongly, but you never know. You never know. But now it may be safe, but this company can be changed, the owner of the company can be changed, and then bigger corporation start doing that, which I think they are getting into this field. So you'll be letting those big companies have your personal medical data and nobody knows if it's protected safely or not because in a way it's possible to make you sick if you have the information about your D N A, because by just feeding this particular type of nutrients in your food, then you can maybe make someone sick by having that kind of data

Leafbox:

Takamiya-san that was going to link to originally. You said one of the differences between your biohacking and other forms of biohacking is that it's a hundred percent natural. Maybe you can elaborate. I see there's some concern about DNA privacy or health privacy. What is your skepticism towards artificial biohacking using new chemicals or using a lot of people take Nattokase supplements instead of eating Natto. I'm curious what you think about those differences and where that concern comes from.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

So yeah, before going into supplement about this testing, let's say if it's safe, if those company won't do anything wrong still, you'll be relying on the data all the time. And then in the oriental medicine, we had ways to measure ourselves such as taking your pulse or checking, touching your belly, or even looking at someone's face and you can tell the different sort of symptoms in your body. And also in acupuncture or shiatsu, we have meridians which are line of energy. And then by feeling the meridians, you could tell the condition of your internal organs too. So we had all those abilities, and we just have a personal gut feeling of yourself too. But once we start using those devices to constantly measure using medical data from the kind of Western medical point of view, you might lose that natural sense you have because if we don't practice anything, we lose the ability, the ability can deteriorate, can degenerate if we don't use it.

So one danger of constantly immersing yourself with that is that you might lose your natural ability to feel your condition. And then for the supplement, I mean if you need to take supplement, yeah, sure, you can take it. And especially for people who have a certain condition, certain medical condition, and then you have a deficiency in certain nutrient, then you do need to have additional amount of that particular nutrient, which you may not be able to acquire from food, so you don't need to take supplement. But for most people, food is enough, food contains enough nutrient, and then the advantage of absorbing nutrient from food is that food contain many other type of nutrients. So you're not taking one nutrient alone, you are taking one nutrient with many other nutrients and they have a synergetic effect. So even though the amount may be small, that is sufficient, I mean that is sufficient or that is natural. That's what we have been absorbing throughout our life. And then no animals take supplement, and then even centenarians don't take supplement. They just eat only food and they lived long without taking supplement. So my question is why do we need to take supplement? Maybe it is more optimal, but we don't need,

Leafbox:

Well, I think the counter would be that people are concerned about the nutrient density in food. There's been a degradation of the nutrient density in soil. So some people, the worsening environmental conditions require almost supplementation because it's been ruined through fertilizer use or whatnot.

Takamiya-san, I was going to keep on your criticism of the technological. I'm curious what you think. I read one of your blog posts where you're writing about the Singularity. I'm curious what many biohackers are I agree with you kind of obsessed with longevity, trying to reach the Singularity. What are your thoughts on that?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, number one, I don't have a technological background, so I don't know much about singularity and the AI and the whole, not in a kind of technical sense. I don't understand the mechanism of it yet. Yeah, I feel there is a corporate interest interest toward the shifting our society to singularity, the more AI kind of centered world or what they call the smart city or smart society. And I think health and longevity is kind of packaged into that whole realm by including let's say everything can be measured through the technology and technical devices. And we, so more and more we have a risk of being controlled by a few corporations to have all the data. And then it could be controlled by AI too. We don't know. I don't think many biohackers are doing a deliberatively, but by joining this whole culture, you might in directory support the growth of that side, which can be dangerous. Therefore, in some ways it is critical to stay natural and going to be independent from that framework of biohacking.

Leafbox:

No, I think that's an important point, which connects to my next question. Do you ever think these movements or biohacking have kind of cult like behavior? And how do you keep away from that kind of danger? What are the dangers in these kind of movements? The group?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Well, I suppose a cult-like, yeah, I suppose any kind of movement, it can become a cult once, I don't know, once you like a flock with one another and then with a camp or a group, and then you get influenced by others very much so. The other thing about taking blood tests, doing a blood test sort of thing. If one person start doing it and then maybe two or three people follow that, and then soon after everybody start doing it. And if it's the fashionable thing, well, this is a new thing. And then people don't question so much about the drawback of that because some influential figures are doing it, they feel maybe it's the way to go. But so because of this kind of trend sort of thing, in some ways that has not been tested, if that is safe or not, has not been tested because it becomes a fashion and many people just jump into this new lifestyle and then start doing it without asking to many questions. So I think that is a danger of a movement like this, but it can happen in any other movement too. It isn't unique to biohacking movement.

Leafbox:

Focusing on the positive then Takamiya, do you have any case studies of people who have been following some of your books or you have your naturalist group you meet with once a month? I'm just curious, you have any case studies of people who have changed their life that you want to share?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

I have not actually followed so much of different cases, or at least haven't done any test on how they've changed. But I have had a lot of responses to my book and also my YouTube videos that people have applied Nattointo their diet and they've applied some fermented brown rice into their diet and so on. And then they changed their health. I mean they feel much better now and so on. But I don't have a specific sort of a case that for example, someone who had this disease cured this disease and that kind of thing. No, but general anecdotal sharing, the people have expressed that they do feel better after start practicing the Ikigai diet and ikigai biohacking. Many people say it's easy to practice because of this flexibility. For example, hare andkeintermittent fasting. You don't need to do that every single day. You can take a break on the weekend and many people expressed that is very a doable approach.

Leafbox:

And then one of your main proponents is Natto, obviously in Japan, Natto's well known for people who aren't familiar with Natto, what is Natto? Why is it so important? Why do you advocate for it? I obviously am a big fan, but curious on your thoughts on that,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Right? Yeah. So Natto is fermented soybeans. Yeah. So basically you ferment soy beans, but it has so many health benefit. In fact, Natto was selected to be the healthiest food among the top 10 healthiest food by 300 Japanese doctors. And they picked Natto because Natto can help prevent you from cancer, diabetes, and different kind of heart diseases and so on. And generally Natto has several components. One is Natto kin, that is Natto bacteria, the official name is Bacillus subtilis. Yeah, you use this bacteria to ferment soybeans to make Natto, yes. But this Bacillus subtilis is a very strong bacteria and it can survive extreme heat and cold, and therefore it's said to survive the gastric acid when you go through your digestive course and then can reach the intestine and it is a probiotic. So this probiotic can reach the gut and then can coordinate the composition of the gut microbiome.

So Natto is wonderful for your gut health. And also Natto has a component called Nattokinase, which helps your blood flow and blood circulation and also prevent blood clots. Yes, therefore, Nattokinase is good for, it kind of prevents you from heart disease, so it's good for your heart health and blood flow. And then also contains something called vitamin k2. Vitamin K2 is good for your bone and bone density. And then when you get old, avoiding all those diseases are critical, but also you want to protect yourself from getting injured and falling is often a big cause of injury and that can lead to bedridden situation and that can eventually develop other diseases and you might die. So falling the injury from falling is one of the biggest causes of death among the senior citizens. And then having strong bone and strong muscles can protect you from falling.

Therefore, Natto can help you develop your bone density. And Natto is a protein powerhouse too. It contain one of the highest amount of protein among the plant-based protein sources. So if you are vegan, Nattodefinitely is a go-to food for your protein. And also Natto is generally considered to be good for the skin, so to stay young and remain the smooth skin and Natto is definitely good. So Natto has just so many benefit. And then I don't know mean there are lots of super food out there, but I don't know any other food that has so many benefit in just one food. Yeah.

Leafbox:

Takamiya-san, are there any practices that you engage that you don't share in your books or writing that maybe you consider esoteric or strange or I'm just curious if there's anything you're practicing that you don't share?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

The practices that I do that I haven't shared in my books, in the books, maybe because there was a limited space in the book and I didn't write everything. I do some kind of Qigong practice, which called a standing meditation. So I do it usually when I practice 36 hours fast, I do different kind of fasting practice. I kind of change once every three months. And then at the moment I'm doing 36 hours fast once a week and then the 17 hours fast the rest of the five days. And then when I come out of the 36 hours fast, I always do this standing meditation because when you have a long break in your gut, you are working a lot to your gut microbiome. And then the standing meditation is very helpful for your gut health and then your sort of belly area, and then you can kind of focus on your belly area as you practice standing meditation, that sort of feel the key energy. So that's something I do once a week. There are many things that I have not necessarily expressed in my book, but you get the basic idea of the principle of the Ikigai biohacking about this balance among the four area, the physical health, mental health, spiritual health and planetary health and staying committed to the natural method and also having the mentality.

And I also talked about it in the book too, but one thing maybe ikigai bio hacking is different from other biohacking is the mentality that we try to not necessarily optimize everything because we have a saying called hara hachibunme, which means finish eating. When you're 80% full, you don't need to fill up, you just leave a little space. But that can be said for anything, for any kind of activity, not only just eating. So you don't want to optimize everything. You want to leave a little space like 20%, so that 20% can be optional for you to play around. While if you make everything perfect, then there is no place to play around. And then sometimes you cannot have four all areas perfectly. If you make your physical biohacking optimal, let's say you find the best aerobic exercise, the best diet, the best fasting method, maybe you burn out your energy working on the physical side, you have no time and energy left for mental growth, spiritual growth, and planetary growth. So having this a little less than the perfect sort of 80%, you try to achieve 80% best in all area, you have a more balance and you can work holistically. You can work on all four areas.

Leafbox:

Takamiya-san, my last two questions are one of the things I never really saw you write about in any of your blog posts, or I'm just curious how as a naturalist and as a biohacker, how was the covid experience for you in Japan?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Oh yeah. So the naturalist usually, yeah, they're anti regular covid measures, which means they're not into vaccines and they're not into wearing masks and so on. Although the one thing about Japanese people, Japanese people don't like to argue and fight. So we didn't see a lot of confrontation that I see in the west between the anti-vaccine people and the pro-vaccine people. And also that was to do with our national policy too. The vaccine was not compulsory. So you had a choice not to be vaccinated. Well, in some other countries it was a compulsory, so you didn't have a choice. So the people maybe had a much stronger opinion about it. Where in Japan it was, you still had a choice. So people who are against vaccine, they just choose not to take one, but it doesn't mean they have to criticize the one who do.

So I think the vast majority of people were open to both ideas. I mean, it's like people felt that is an individual decision to make. So if you don't want to take a vaccine, then yeah, that's sure, but if you want to take vaccine, then it's also okay. So people sort of respected each other's decisions. I mean, of course there are people who are absolutely against the vaccine and they criticize the people who supported the whole thing. And then the vice versa, the pro-vaccine people really criticize people who didn't take vaccine and so on compared to the west. I think that's a fewer people and the majority of the people respected each other's decision.

Leafbox:

No, I agree with you. It's just when I went to Japan this summer, it felt much more relaxed in terms of individual choice, which I thought was ironic based on Japan usually having kind of a groupthink. And then the west actually felt more oppressive in the groupthink as an individualistic society. So maybe it just comes back what you said people don't want to fight, so they just kind of respected each other's private decisions,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Right? Yeah, yeah, I think so. Yeah, I was very surprised with the western phenomenon really, because especially in America, America was very individualistic and then people were tolerant of diverse ideas and lifestyles. So all of a sudden during the Covid it changed, kind divided into sort two world and then became very passionate about each other's point of view as if there was a mass hysteria or something. And I was very, very surprised that probably happened everywhere in the world, including Japan too. There was some sort of mass hysteria for a certain degree too.

Leafbox:

Well, I think your experience always being, don't take this, I take this as a compliment. You seem like an outsider, so maybe you were able to resist some of that masses area when you went to Australia, you could look at the lens or the west and you came back. You're always kind of viewing things from inside and outside, which I respect. And that seems like a positive trait. Some people who don't have that ability to acknowledge that they're in a group think possibly.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, yeah. In that sense, I was lucky. And also I was lucky that I don't work for a company or anything like that, so I could still choose my lifestyle. If you worked for a company thing, then you have to comply to what they say a lot more. Yeah,

Leafbox:

Very interesting. What is your current really interest right now? You've written the books, are you writing a new book? Is there anything particularly new fiction? What are you working on?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, I'm not working on any particular book at the moment, but I might do some writing later on. But I think my focus now is to spread this message, meaning ikigai diet, ikigai biohacking and Natto as well to get out to the world as much as possible. So I'm kind of focusing on my YouTube at the moment. I'm kind of uploading three videos a week. Before I was only uploading one video a week. So it does take a all time to actually make one video three times a week. So through YouTube and the opportunity like this, I mean, thank you very much for having this opportunity. This is wonderful for me. I mean, I'd like to reach as many people as possible to talk about those things. So this is exactly the kind of opportunity I would like to have. So through YouTube, through appearing people's podcast and go through the publication of my books I'd like to spread is not a good idea, but I'd like to share this information and maybe exchange with other people to think together how we can help ourselves to stay young, healthy, and happy, and how we can help our society stay healthy, and happy too.

Leafbox:

And then Takamiya-san, how can people find you? What's the best way? YouTube channel or what's the best way? Yeah,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

YouTube channel is one which is called the Ikigai Diet Channel. So I upload video three times a week, usually American time. It's Monday night, Wednesday night, and Friday night. And then you can also find my website, the ikigai, ikigai diet com. So I write some blogs there, but more recently, YouTube is more frequent than the blog posts in the ikigai diet.com. Yeah. I also have a newsletter, and in the ikigai diet.com website, there is a icon saying, get the superfood list. Get the superfood list, and then it will take you to the site of my newsletter. And if you sign up with my newsletter, you can receive the superfood list and also receive my newsletter, which is sent about three times a week.

Leafbox:

Great. Well, I'll link to all of those in the show notes.

And then my last question, do you have anything else you'd like to shareor any other wisdom or points of clarity?

Sachiaki Takamiya:

No, that's okay. But I'd like to ask you a question too about Hawaii and Natto. So you eat Natto yourself and you make Natto from natural starter, but you said rice is not available. So how do you make Natto? What plant do you use?

Leafbox:

Oh, I don't make my own starter. I buy the commercial available starter.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

I see, right.

Leafbox:

No, I was doing research on how to try to make my own starter, but it is just, I haven't had success with that yet.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Right. And then is Natto sold a lot in Hawaii?

Leafbox:

Yeah, there's a huge Japanese and Japanese American community here. You can get Natto at any supermarket, but there's a local Natto company here making, there's Hawaii, a few Hawaii, but I still prefer to make my own because either they use preservatives or I try to get the highest quality soybean possible. And especially, there's a lot of preservatives in the cost and hard to trust some of the production, especially in Japan. The Japanese companies, even if it's says organic, it might be G M O soybean, and it's very hard to know the sourcing.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah, I see. Okay. That's good that you can get hold of not easily in Hawaii, so it's not like some other part of the United States.

Leafbox:

No, here. I dunno if you've been to Hawaii, but I mean literally something like 20% of the population is Japanese descent. There's many philosophies in the food. Hawaii is Japanese, people come to Hawaii because they're basically, it's America, but Japan. Right. It's very similar.

So they like that.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

And you were involved in food industry before?

Leafbox:

Yeah, I mean, I'm an entrepreneur. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. And then it's ironic because my family has a business making commercial rennet. I don't know if you know what that is, but it is basically bacterial products and yeast products for making cheese.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Oh, yeah.

Leafbox:

Yeah. We've been dealing with Japanese suppliers almost 80 years now.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah.

Leafbox:

So my family has a history with these natural food products as well. Oh,

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah.

Leafbox:

Yeah.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Not Natto

Leafbox:

Though. Natto, I've been eating for 20 years, but just getting experience and wisdom from things all over the world we try to find.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah. Oh, great.

Leafbox:

Great. I really appreciate your time. Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to your next video, and I'll be in contact.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Yeah. Thank you very much. Yeah, thank you. Thank you very much for this opportunity. I really appreciate it. Yeah.

Leafbox:

Okay, great, Arigatou gozaimasu. Thank you. Bye-Bye.

Sachiaki Takamiya:

Domo.

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