Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 1.17.09 PM

When life is going even reasonably well, we often forget to show our appreciation for that which we have. It’s easy to become complacent and fixated on more and better, and it’s only when we suddenly lose the things that have become commonplace – running water; free Wi-Fi; a Starbucks on every other corner – that we miss them.

One thing we’d probably all notice is missing even faster than 24-hour Facebook access, though, is the air we breathe.

With that in mind, assemblymen in Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture recently took a moment out of their day to pay tribute to the very air around them, throwing their arms up and taking in a tasty lungful.

Observed every June 5, Kuuki no Hi, or “Air Day”, reminds residents of Yamagata’s Asahi Town to be thankful for the abundance of lovely, clean air they have. The town itself is even home to Japan’s one-and-only “Air Shrine”, where air itself is given deity status and empty/air-filled ceramic jars are lined up to be observed.

Since last year, the area’s politicians too have opted to mark Kuuki no Hi by standing in front of beech tree saplings (the town’s official tree) during their meetings, throwing up their arms and taking a nice, deep breath as part of their “giving thanks to the air” session.

It’s really quite an unusual sight:

It’s a very nice sentiment, and it’s genuinely refreshing to see government officials taking time to think about the environment, but somehow I can’t help thinking that taking more of something than usual might not be the best way to show your appreciation for it. Perhaps instead of sucking all the oxygen out of the room, these assemblymen should instead give thanks for air by holding their breath and only taking a gasp of sweet, life-giving O2 when they start to feel dizzy?

Source: Asahi Digital
Screenshots via YouTube – Asahi Shimbun