Home is where the heart is


Vaibhavi Bafna


All of us visualize different things when There is a concept in Japan, called furusato (foo-roo-sah-toh) which is not only the place where we’re from but also the place our heart longs for. It is also connected with feelings of nostalgia. This means that if a person’s hometown or birthplace does not generate warm, fuzzy feelings, that person might feel reluctant to call that place his or her furusato. It also means places that evoke feelings of nostalgia, even if they are not one’s hometown, can be called furusato.

The word ‘home’ in the English language denotes an individual’s residence in the past, present and the future, whereas furusato denotes a place from the past or an 'old village'.

Furusato is a highly emotional concept in Japan. There is an odd typical phrase in the Japanese language, ‘Kokoro no furusato’ which means home of the heart, implying that places called furusato evoke feelings in our heart. This phrase also implies that furusato evokes the feelings of nostalgia, love, dependence, warmth and protection. It is often linked to a healing oasis, a paradise away from the crowded city.

Furusato is both the starting point and the end of a person’s life. Home is not necessarily our residential house. In English, we refer to furusato as our home, the place where we have been residing since our birth. Sometimes, during our walk of life, we misunderstand where we belong in this world. We believe whatever our heart expresses is the true representation of who we are, whatever our heart lays is the true place of where we belong. Our heart is a spiritual source that connects to all things that are most beneficial for us. It always believes in things that are good for us.

In the concept of furusato, there is a sorrow of separation but also ‘the soothing promise of the return’ (Berque, Nature 178-9). In the Japanese language, there are several well-known idioms that showcase the emotional concept of furusato. Some of them are:

‘Hito wa Kokyo wo hanarete tattoshi’: implying that people cherish their home even after they have left it
’Furusato wa tooki ni arite omou mono’: implies that home is something that one yearns for even from a far-off land
’Kokyo boji gatashi’: says that home is something that is difficult to forget. These idioms show that furusato is not just an individual’s home, it is rather a representation of all the feelings that accompany the idea of a home.

Furusato, when translated to the English language, means that a home is defined by what and whom an individual loves i.e. what an individual loves can be called as their home.

Home is not just wherever we grew up, it is where we feel the most. Home is where the heart is- it’s a comforting feeling that surrounds us with our loved ones, i.e., the people whom we love from the bottom of our hearts. Home is not only the physical place where we reside. It also focuses on the feeling of being at home or the comfort we get when we are at home.

Summarising Furusato:

1. Celebrating Family: The warmth and love we receive from the people closest to us. The ones with whom we tend to share everything important in our lives. The people who are aware of our highs and lows and are still there to support us no matter what.

2. Equality: This means that home for every individual may have a different understanding, but the underlying meaning is the same. We also see that some houses are bigger and better than others, some are rich, some are poor. But furusato doesn’t differentiate between the rich and the poor. It shows that every individual knows the importance of a home, and the ones who believe in a loving home are the ones who are truly home.

3. Knowing what a real home is: We now know that furusato is more of an emotional concept than a physical one. It is where we build stronger relationships with people who love, cherish and support us.

4. Capturing the adaptability of a home: Home can be considered a house even when one is living with their friends or cousins. It can also be called a home when people say they have grown up in a place or the people they currently reside with.

One can have varied definitions for a home but like the Japanese believe, furusato is the desire to reunite with one’s origins and the return to one’s original state, thus making the worldly circle complete, which is why it is called the home of the heart.

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Rohit Jain
Amazing concept underlining the emotional attachment to the concept of 'home' rather than just a building of bricks 🤩😃