Monthly Archives: February 2011

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy! : I’ve become a "mimic" vegetarian.


ohmori      When I felt something wrong was that morning. I noticed the inside of cheek in my right side swelling when I was washing my face. It was a little bit painful to get touched from outside. A few hours later while I was doing Tai Chi, the sole of my right foot got cramped suddenly. Something was going wrong in my body, I thought.

     Next day, my right cheek had still a swelling inside and the back of my right thigh got cramped. Two days later, the swelling in my cheek wasn’t going down and my right neck stiffened badly and it caused terrible headache, especially to my right side. Three days later, I was almost groggy with my poor physical condition, when Midori, a friend of mine, said that “Symptoms in your right side are caused by overeating of “yang” food, right?”

     That’s it! I forgot about it! The theory of Yin and Yang for food! I pulled out this book “Karada-no-shizen-chiyu-ryoku-wo-hikidasu-shokuji-to-teate” when I got home. The title means diet and treatments with health-promoting benefits. The writer is Kazue Ohmori, the expert of macrobiotics and nutritionist in Japan. She’s classified most of the foods from yin to yang, and thinks all food we eat make our body both healthier and weaker.

     According to the book, people should eat balanced middle food not to eat too much both of yin and yang food. Our bodies’ healthy balance is like a seesaw. The end of the one side is yin and another end is yang on the seesaw. If you ate only yin food, you would go down to the yin side. It means you might get sick. Interestingly, if you had a physical disorder on the left side of your body, you might have eaten too much yin food; while you had a problem on the right, you might have had too much yang food. In my case, all disorders were on the right side of my body this time. That is, I must have eaten too much yang food.

     What are yin foods and yang foods, then? According to the writer, yin foods are potassium-rich: tropical fruits, spices, summer vegetables, fat and processed food; on the contrary, yang foods are sodium-rich: salty things, meats, poultries, and fish. You see that most of yin foods are green things in hot countries. So, cake and coffee are also yin food because sugar is made from sugarcanes and coffee is seeds of coffee beans which also grow in hot areas. In the meantime, yang foods are animal products and salt. TS3N1059

     Now, all of my symptoms were on the right side of my body. It seemed I had eaten animal proteins too much. The book suggests stopping or avoiding having yang food for a while and some remedies for egesting extra proteins. I made shitake mushroom soup as soon as I found the recipe in the book and had it once. Oh! I couldn’t believe it. A few hours later having the soup, the swellings in my cheek and right soul started going down and my headache had gone.

     I’ve become a “mimic” vegetarian and tried having “middle” food since then because I still have problems on my both knees and a pollen allergy. According to the book, allergies are triggered by eating both extreme yin and yang food too muc: Having sweet rolls with coffee in the morning, hamburgers with coke for lunch, steak for dinner, ice cream and cake for dessert and ramen for late-evening snack…I wrote “mimic” vegetarian above because it’s difficult to avoid animal food if you eat out here in Japan. Japanese basic seasoning is made from dried bonitoes (fish), and if you ordered green salad in the restaurant, you’d find bacon chips sprinkled atop.

     That’s why I’m now trying to be a vegetarian at least home. Look at the photo! I made these! Rice (I should eat brown rice), miso soup with tofu and Japanese radish, fried tofu with sweet miso dip, boiled dried tofu and wheat gluten, fried various of mushrooms with shiso mint leaves, boiled hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu, vinegared wakame seaweed, and boiled field mustard with sesame dressing. They look healthy, don’t they? But it’s really hard for me to be a “real” vegetarian. I had a big bowl of loco moco – white rice topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg with gravy sauce - for lunch yesterday…Hmm…That was delicious…


The 18th M&P’s Tea Concert: I’ll Miss You and Your Cucumber Sandwiches!


TS3N1042      “Yes, we’re going back soon but I’ll be returning to Japan for more Tea Concerts quite often, so no panic there.” His email said that, but I was very surprised and a kind of panicked.

     The sender is Mr. Paul Lewis, the president of M&P’s Tea. Who taught me the loveliness of a cup of tea was him… He not only sells tea leaves but also has concerts. I didn’t know that he was going back to the U.K soon until he sent me the information of the 18th M&P’s Tea Concert. Actually, I seldom see him unless he has a concert or a tea seminar. So, whether he is here in Japan or not, chances to meet him for me is not so different. But it’s sad to know that you can’t see someone anytime.  TS3N1048

     The 18th M&P’s Tea Concert, as the final one before Paul’s return, was excellent. It was held at Yama-no-Hall in Nisshin as usual. The hall is located by a quiet pond with trees. It looked more beautiful that day than usual because of the snow in the morning. I enjoyed the music played by three women (flute, cello and piano). The trio played: Hungarian Dances No.2 by Brahms, Minuet “The Girl from Aries” Suite No.2 by Bizet, Sicilienne and Burlesque by Casella, The Swan by Saint-Saens, Sonata III Movement by Rachmaninoff, Dreams of Love by Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsodies No.10 by Liszt, and Trio by Kapustin.  TS3N1037

     I also enjoyed the afternoon tea party after the concert. The participants had lots of M&P’s tea and cake, scones, and Paul’s special cucumber sandwiches. I really like his sandwiches! I’ve tried to make cucumber sandwiches once, but they were totally different from Paul’s…TS3N1045

    The day, January 30th, was Michael’s birthday. So, there was a surprise for him. Suddenly someone started playing “Happy Birthday to You” on the piano amid the party and then all of the participants sang the song for him. That was heartwarming. Michael looked a little bit embarrassed, though. TS3N1046

     Paul mentioned the next Tea Concert and he was going to have it in November. I can’t see him and eat his cucumber sandwiches until then, but I can get M&P’s tea anytime on line. Of course, so can you! Their tea is the finest I know. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next Tea Concert this fall!

M&P’s Tea:


A Middle Class Samurai Warrier’s Diary in Edo Period


4121007409      How much do you think I paid for this book? I bought it for only one yen through Amazon! It’s Genroku Otatami Bugyo No Nikki, written by Jiro Kosaka in 1984. This book is based on a diary written by a samurai warrier in the middle management position in Edo period. I bought this book because the lecturer had mentioned it in a lecture about Shirakabe area in Higashi-ku, the eastern place from Nagoya Castle, the other day.

     It was snowing so hard that day that I hesitated to go outside. But I went to the lecture and had a wonderful time. The lecturer talked about many interesting things, especially, about people who used to live in Shirakabe area, such as Sakichi Toyota, the founder of Toyota Motor, and Akio Morita, the founder of Sony. But who I got interested in the best was the writer of the diary: Bunzaemon Asahi. TS3N0012

     Bunzaemon was a samurai warrier in the middle class and a kind of facilities department chief in Owari, now Nagoya, in Edo period. He loved going to the theater, gambling, and poems, indulged sex and alcohol, and suffered from hysterical his wife and lover. He was interested in martial arts and became a disciple of many of them, but he had no physical and mental power and no sense for them.

     Such a worthless samurai had written journals for 26 years and eight months until he died! They’re 37 books and called Omu Rochuki. He was an ordinary samurai. He didn’t do anything special in his time, except for writing his own diary. He recorded the social situation, prices of commodities, the weather, astronomical observation, from small to big affairs, theater criticism, gambling info, even indictment against the government and the lord.

     After the lecture, I ordered this book at Amazon. There are many interesting descriptions in it as follows: TS3N10310001

“July third. I went shooting. I fired 13 shots, but no hit.”

“At the wedding, many people drank too much and threw up at the table.”

“I drank too much last night. I have a stomachache and feel sick. I threw up twice this morning. I shouldn’t drink too much from now on.”

“It’s fine today. I drank too much and threw up terribly last night. I really feel sick. I mustn’t drink much from now on. I’ll stop drink for a while from tonight.”

     He ended up dying from liver ailment.

     What I’m surprised at his diaries is how much people committed suicide. Japan is notorious for large numbers of suicide and I’d thought it was just a present problem. But it seems a kind of tradition and habit for Japanese. There are lots of descriptions of variety of suicide in Bunzaemon’s diaries.

“May 31. Juzaemon Arakawa died. He had opened a gambling house in secret for many years because he was very poor. This time, because many of his customers had been arrested, he killed himself by eating lots of cold noodles and jellies and 500 plums. He had a lover and a 13-year-old boy.”

“A wife in Dekimachi took a part time job at a liqueur shop. The wife and the brewer had a love affair. The wife’s husband noticed it and killed the wife and brewer, and then killed himself by the sword today.”

“Gohei Tori’s wife died on August 29. During Gohei’s absence on business in Edo (now Tokyo), she had a love affair. She killed herself at the toilet before her husband’s return.”

“An old woman cut her throat with a razor in the daytime. She was very poor. She had no relatives and places to go.”

“A farmer in Nozaki, killed himself because he had no rice for tax. He went out of his house, became naked, sit on a straw mat, and cut his neck with a knife.”TS3N10330001

     Most of the suicide people chose their death because of poverty in the era. Couldn’t they live truly? They didn’t die from starvation. They killed themselves. Many of them did for fear of revelation of their secrets. Did they really need to die? Why did they choose to try to solve their problems without killing themselves? Japanese people tend to choose suicide easily. Nothing has changed on people’s life and thinking way, I thought when I was reading the book. It’s not only about suicide but also many things.

     Why don’t you read the book? You can buy a second handed one for only one yen through Amazon!


A Class Party: I don’t wanna wake up!


TS3N1022      “Are there no delicious desserts, tea, and even my friends here? Am I now sleeping somewhere outside and having a wonderful dream? If so, I don’t wanna wake up! I understand Cipher’s feelings!” I shouted when I was enjoying having wonderful ice-cream, cake, jellies with tea and chattering with the participants at a party the other day.

     I take an English class at a university, but the course this academic year was over last month. Some of my classmates and our teacher had a party after the final class. Jin, a friend of mine, invited all of us to his house this time. TS3N1021

     Jin’s residence is so spacious that I always joke, “I’ve heard that people are sometimes found as mummies in his house,” or “There’re bus stops in the corridor at his house and you have to take a bus to go to the bathroom.” In fact, one of the rooms has more than nine dining tables and looks like a restaurant or a banquet hall. 

     Incredibly, the participants at the party moved to table to table for tea, dinner, and dessert. That is, we sat at a table and had some tea when we arrived at his house, after having some small talks we moved to another table for dinner, and then we went to another table for dessert! Jin’s wife had prepared for tea, dinner, and dessert on each table before we arrived. In doing so, she didn’t need to walk around in the big room during the party. TS3N1017

     By the way, at the English class of the university, we used The Matrix as learning material this time. Yes, it’s a film released about 10 years ago. Actually, what I wrote at the beginning above is derived from a line in the movie, “There is no spoon.”

     “There is no spoon.” is what Neo, played by Keanu Reeves in the film, says to himself at the scene when he is going to rescue one of his fellows to overcome fear. Actually, the line appears before the scene in the movie. Neo sees a boy sitting on the floor holding a spoon. The boy stares at the spoon. Then the spoon starts bend over and quickly springs back to its original shape. The child looks up at Neo and hands him the spoon.

Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Boy: Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. TS3N1029

     In the film, The Matrix, people believe that they have normal daily lives, but the truth is that they are sleeping in each capsule and having dreams. The world is no longer human-beings’. The computer controls everything, and it uses humans’ bio-energy as its batteries.

     But our teacher at the class tells us that it’s not only in the film, but also all of us are just having a dream. According to him, nothing you see means anything, and everything has no meaning. So, one day I asked him, “Is this class also meaningless?” during the class. He replied, “Yes!” with a big smile. I think I understand his theory, but, yeah, it has no meaning.TS3N1014

     I had a wonderful time at the party. I really enjoyed talking to my friends over delicious food, and even listening to our teacher play the piano and some flutes. But the teacher said, “This is just a dream.” Do you believe you’re just sleeping? Yeah, we seldom realize we’re dreaming….There’s no blog here. There’s no PC before you….



The Matrix Complete Trilogy