Jayne Dawson: It’s a fight - foreign lifestyle mania is taking on Brexit

LIFESTYLE: We are giving up Norwegian ways and turning Japanese instead.
LIFESTYLE: We are giving up Norwegian ways and turning Japanese instead.
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Seriously, I’m asking you. What’s going on? I mean with all this getting our country back.

Because I’m confused. There was a big fight, okay a referendum, and it was won by the people who thought that leaving the EU meant “getting our country back”.

I never shared that vision, just so you know. I was never of the opinion that our country had gone away. I just thought we were lucky to be part of a rich and privileged club, in which we jointly made the decisions on how to run it.

But I know some saw it differently, and they wanted the old ways back: that grim, judgemental, brutal world where men were men and 2s 6d bought you eight pints in the tap room. They wanted that again.

So it’s bewildering really - it isn’t, I’m exaggerating - but it is interesting that just as we vote to see Spitfires flying overhead and jam and Jerusalem in the streets, we go crazy for foreign lifestyle trends.

There can’t be a house in the land that doesn’t have a cosy throw on the sofa these days in faint homage to the Norwegian trend of hygge that consumed us last year.

Hygge is all about the cosy, the warm, the hunkering down for the days of winter. It is about candle light against the dark, it is cable knit socks socks, patterned wool sweaters, blankets and hot chocolate.

And it takes place against a backdrop of all that is Scandinavian; wooden floors, log stoves, sleek furniture.

You would think, under the Brexit circumstances, we would want our own version of hygge: popping on a Primark fleece, turning up the gas fire, putting a sausage dog draught excluder behind the door. And all against a backdrop of chintz, ornaments, three piece suites and patterned carpets to honour our own very British heritage, but no. We don’t.

We have fallen like new lovers into the arms of all that is Scandinavian, from their furniture to their - actually really nasty - crime dramas.

In fact there are signs all that is over. Hygge is getting a bit old hat but disconcertingly, given our desire to get our country back, we are showing no signs of wanting to live a British lifestyle.

Instead, we have begun to rummage all over the place looking for yet more foreign lifestyles to copy. Briefly we landed in Sweden and picked up their “lagom” a style of living which means “just enough”. It’s an environmentally-friendly philosophy, it’s neat, it’s nice.

It hasn’t taken off wildly, but the Scandinavians are rich in philosophies for living so we could instead choose “friluftsliv” which means the free air life - or camping as we might call it. Actually, I think it’s more of a communing with nature type of thing rather than holidaying in a tent.

Or there is the Swedish “dostadning” which means death cleansing. Yes, thought that one might bring you up short. It’s all about putting your affairs in order and, you know, you can’t start that kind of thing too early. Think, for instance, of all those photos you have never downloaded and made into albums, before we even get to the legal stuff.

But the big lifestyle trend coming up - really big so focus now - is “ikigai” and it’s Japanese.

It means having a reason for being and it’s practised on the island of Okinawa, home to the world’s largest population of centenarians.

It is not without sacrifice because islanders only eat until they are 80 per cent full, and they also never retire. But they also believe in daily exercise, being in nature, the value of friendship and smiling, so that’s not so bad.

Honestly, people are going mad for ikigai, writing books about it and everything. Soon everyone will know the phrase “hara hachi bu” ( that’s the stopping eating before you are full bit).

So there you have it. Just as we are getting our country back, we are about to turn big time Japanese. I call that contrary.