What's in a name?

What’s a mottainai? Who’s mottainai? What does mottainai mean? Until June of this year, I would have asked those same questions. My mom, recently in Tokyo, feverishly typed message after message to me on g.chat one morning to tell me about mottainai. She had been traipsing around the city and happened upon this store - Blue and White. And this is what she told me: “I was talking to this woman in a little shop called Blue and White. And we were talking about recycling, I said I had a bag ... they make their bags. I'll show you and then she said let me show you something else and she told me about mottainai. I was very excited. I think we should use that word.” The concept behind the store was built on the meaning of this word.

Mottainai is a Japanese term meaning "a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized." The expression "Mottainai!" can be uttered alone as an exclamation when something useful, such as food or time, is wasted. In addition to its primary sense of "wasteful," the word is also used to mean "impious; irreverent" or "more than one deserves” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mottainai]. On the opposite side of the globe, my mom found it - the name for this site. An idea born so many months ago finally had a name.

You may find value in this site. You may not. Visit it once. Visit it daily. The choice is yours. Either way I hope you walk away from the site knowing something new; inspired to make something; or willing to change from the old way of doing something to a new way of doing something.


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