The winter solstice finally arrived on December 21st. In Japan, we call it "To-Ji" and spend this day to pray for the family's health & prosperity by specially prepared food and taking a yuzu bath.
As the season circles around, our ancestors considered To-Ji as an important turning point of the year. When the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun, we receive fewer hours of sunlight. From this day forward, the duration of the sunlight becomes longer and stronger until the day of the summer solstice comes around. Therefore, the winter solstice is the celebration day for the sun's rebirth and we have a priviledge to receive the energy of resetting our lives in confirming the rythem of the universe.
Although it is a rebirth day of the sun, our ancestors also knew it is the day of the darkness/death of the year just like a Yin & Yang energy are right next to each other. During the To-Ji season, we receive less sunlight, and many people influenced by shorter hours of sunlight become prone to illness. That is why our ancestors considered To-Ji as a precious day to celebrate so we can ward off the darkness. There are many studies of physical & mental disorders under the effect of the duration of sunlight. I think this is one of the reasons that people around the world also have traditional festive event this time of the year.
So, it was a perfect day to spend Yufuko from No Gate Tea to celeberate To-Ji at BDK America in Moraga. We were so thankful that many people participated in our special event. We practiced Chair Yoga first. Yufuko introduced us the beautiful breathing technique which we can do no matter where you are including working environment. Then, we practiced walking meditations together. This technique is also easily applied to any place as long as you have a little place to walk. We did just 20 min. of walking together around BDK backyard, and it brought a calmness and appreciation.
After the walking meditations, we had a macrobiotic To-Ji lunch box that I prepared. I made a lot of items using traditonal Japaense food. Since the new year was approching, I made tradional dishes that we often eat on the new years that is Kobu-maki. Kobu means Kelp, and maki means roll. It usually stuffed with some fish inside and rolled by kelp, but I used gobo (burdock roots and carrats) to create the celeberation color of red and white. burdock roots is also represents a long life as its root has a long length. Kobu means happiness and joy in Japanese term. I hope this Kobu-maki would bring a lot of joy to everyone who eat this bento throughout the year. Cooking is one of the form of my prayer. while I cook, I pray for the happiness and heath for those who eat my bento.
I used a lot of sun-dried vegetables such as Kiriboshi daikon (Japanese daikon radish and shiitake mushrooms. They are not only loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fibers but observed condensed energy of the sun. So we can get the vital energy of the sun from the inside of our body. ☀️
Afther the lunch, Yufuko introduced 3 kinds of tea. We just enjoyed the deep flavorful tea. Each tea tasting brought us a blissful moment. Yufuko is the master of bringing out the best from within the tea. Her love and devotion for the tea is just something else.
At the end, we concluded with simple zazen meditation led by Yufuko. It is always so nice to end with a deep relaxed asmosphere with a full of gratitude. Yufuko's zazen meditation allows us to appreciate the minor things within our busy lives. So, it was a wonderful eye opener to appreciate and celebrate all the little things we have taken for granted.
I was able to carry this energy of gratitude all the way to home and even to bedtime. What a lovey way to spend To-Ji with Yufuko and everyone who participated in this yoga get together.
Thank you, Yufuko, David and everyone who joined this final event of 2018. Wishing you lots of happiness and health all the way through the new year!
I am so happy to inform you that Yufuko from No Gate Tea and I are going to hold a special workshop together to celebrate the winter solstice on 12/22 at BDK America (https://www.bdkamerica.org) in Moraga from 11:00-2:30pm. It is a mini-retreat for you to restore your life force.
Winter solstice is the day when the North Pole tilts the furthest from the sun, bringing the shortest day and longest night of the year, In Japan, it is considered the time of the sun's rebirth. From that day forward, each day gets longer. Rooted in Chinese philosophy of yin & Yang, the winter solstice is the turning point of the life force, from the cold winter to the warm spring. By celebrating the winter solstice, we can also reset our energy to welcome the prosperity.
Yufuko, a wonderful yoga instructor who is also a well known sensei, a Japanese tea ceremony leader, chado will introduce you to a comfortable practice for your physical well-being. The workshop begins with chair-yoga and breathing exercises that you can practice at home or your work place.
After practicing chair-yoga, you will have the lunch box that I will prepare to celebrate the winter solstice to nourish your internal well-being. I make everything from scratch using local organic vegetables and whole grains. I will prepare the food using the technique of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and macrobiotic philosophy. Here's the menu.
☆ Miso soup with Chinese cabbage & fried tofu
☆ Delicious meatless black bean loaf
☆ Beets salad with cranberries and amazake dressing
☆ Tofu steak
☆ Simmered dried dikon & carrots
☆ Japanese version of rice pilaf with seasonal vegetables
☆ pumpkin stew, etc
☆ pumpkin-chesnut-mousse with sweet Azuki bean paste
While having the lunch, I will talk about a bit of TCM and macrobiotic philosophy. I will introduce you the food that nourish you in the winter time and how to stay young and heathy, so you can incorporate into your life style and diet. After that, Yufuko will concludes with Japanese tea service and meditation to balance your body and mind.
Here' the schedule.
11:00 - 12:30 – Chair yoga, breathing exercise and walking meditation
12:30 - 2:00 – Macrobiotics lunch and lectures
2:00 - 2:30 – Tea and meditation
The address of BDK America is 1675 School Street - Moraga, CA 94556
Here's the more info. about this workshop!
The fees is $60/ person & $110 for a pair.
Since space is limited, please reserve your spot early!
I have received many phone calls and emails from friends who have a lot of concerns for their children to protect their health from the pulled air due to the camp fire disaster that started 10 days ago. I am just so shocked to see all the things just happened so quickly. I am so sorry to the people who lost loved ones, houses and business. Can't imagine how painful that is. I hope everyone will rise up together to participate In any kind of program/ community to help/support the people who are suffering from this disaster. I believe even a little bit of something will make a big difference... Thank you to all those firefighters, servicemen and brave people who are working so hard to help all the lives.
Here are some recommendations for protecting your throat & lungs.
☆ Salt water gargle (simple, easy & effective)
- Ingredient: 1 cup of warm water & ½ teaspoon of sea salt
Salt has been scientifically proven to help draw water out of oral tissues and help to lock out harmful toxins. It also helps to restore oral health. As soon as your children come home from the outdoor activities, let them gargle with salt water! Use warm water, so that salt dissolve easily. If you have Umesu, you can use it instead of sea salt. Here's the info. about Umesu. → https://wanowa.weebly.com/alternative-medicine/umesu-eliminator-for-toxins
☆ Salt water nasal wash
The ingredient is the same as salt water gargle. It sounds or looks a bit painful to do it, but once you get used to do this, you will know how effective this is. When I tried this at first time, I was so amazed to see so much stuff clogged in the nose came out! You feel so clean after the wash. It helps to wash away mucous crust, dirt, toxins & pollen. It also clear up the sinus passages. Very soothing! I use nasal rinse bottle which I bought in Japan. It is very easy and simple to use. Even little children can do it. When I checked out to see if I can find something similar here, I found various nailed sinus rinse bottles at local pharmacies ranging from $13-30. I will not use any chemical that comes with the kit though. I will simply use the bottle only, and make my own nasal wash water using sea salt or baking soda.
☆ Wear appropriate Face Mask when you are in the outdoors
Here's the information about the mask we need to have!
Since we might have more fires in the future, it might be a good idea to stock some. I heard many stores in Bay Area went out of stock so quickly. You can add peppermint oil to enhance efficacy of protection. Since peppermint exhibits significant antibacterial & antioxidants activities, it might be a good thing to use it. Just make a glass jar of pepper mint water using ½ cup of water and a few drops of peppermint oil. Then, spray directly to the mask before you wear. I sometimes use this method when I am on the airplane.
I recommend to use organic peppermint oil as it goes directly to your respiratory system.
From the macrobiotic view, coughing is simply an abnormal discharge mechanism by which the body attempts to eliminate mucus, toxins, or other excessive metabolic energy that cannot be processed through normal eliminatory channels. (page287, The macrobiotic path to total health by Michio Kushi & Alex Jack) It means that your body is functioning well not to bring in any toxins by coughing out.
Having say that, however, if you or your children are suffering from too much coughing or sore throat, I would like to recommend you to make this wonderful home remedies called black bean juice. In China, black soybeans have been used for TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) for thousands years since they have a lot of medicinal properties. They are packed with full of antioxidants and antibacterial activities.
☆ Black Bean Juice (simple, easy & effective)
- Ingredient: 1/4 cup of black soy beans, 4 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt
- Direction: Pour black soybeans and water in the pot and boil with medium heat until the water goes about half amount. Add sea salt and drain. It is simple & easy♡ if you like aromatic flavor, you can roast blackens slowly in the pan for about 5 min. at first. When my son was little, he actually enjoyed roasted black beans juice since it taste almost like tea! You can use left over black beans for your salad or soup. These beans were introduced by Dr. Oz as next big health superstar!
I hope some of the home remedies are useful...
Ramen Workshop in a private house in Scotts Valley!
Come and join us on 11/20 at 10:30am - 1:30pm to learn how to make healthy ramen noodles and the ramen broth from scratch! This ramen broth is very delicious and can be used as base for many other dishes as well.
We will also make three different toppings for the noodles which can go well as side dishes, and daikon mochi cakes for an easy snack. The fee for the class is $40. You can pay me in cash or event.
The exact venue address will be informed once your attendance is confirmed. If you are interested, please email me at shinobeau@iCloud.com to reserve your seat.
If you are interested in my ramen workshop, you can see some photos of my ramen workshop which were held in the past.
⚠️ This workshop was postponed to December. Will update shortly! Thank you!
Wanowa’s once a month bento box catering was today. I made Gomoku Gohan (Japanese mixed rice) using seasonal organic vegetables, Daikon stew using home-made Demi-Glace sauce, vegetable croquette, sautéed lotus roots, beets salad, Konjac stake, and gluten-free apple tarts for dessert. All 100% plant-based, and it costs $20.
I decided to do bento catering in order to introduce this to the people in the Bay Area so they can experience what is like to have fully plant-based food for one meal. There is no meat, no dairy, no refined sugar, no food additives, and no chemical seasonings, just organic vegetables, grains, and fruits. I make everything from scratch using local organic vegetables, and carefully selected seasonings such as sea salt, properly fermented miso, soy source, apple cider vinegar, brown rice syrup and so on.
Since I prepare everything by myself, I only can make 10-15 bento boxes. Considering the time that I dedicate to make those bentos (usually, I stay up all night because I want to bring a fresh meal and it takes a lot of time to create healing cuisine due to lots of preps) and the cost of all the organic vegetables and condiments, there is not much profit. But, if my bento brings a bit of joy & harmony into those who have my bento, I can live with it. Although I can only do it on a once a month basis.
Since we are now in the autumn, we are influenced by metal elements according to the five elements theory. Since each element resonates with paired yin-yang organs, the lung (yin), and large intestine (yang) are influenced by metal elements. They work together as partners and share similar functions, to bring in the new and to take out the waste. The lung brings in the fresh air, help to circulate the energy, blood, and lymph in the body, and expel carbon dioxide and toxins. The large intestine eliminates solid residue after digesting the food and fluid. Also, the toxins and waste are discharged through the skin by perspiration as well. Hence, the skin is often considered as the "third lung" from TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).
I used a lot of vegetables that help to nourish the above organs. Daikon, onions, scallions, dried shiitake mushrooms are great vegetable medicines. If your lung and intestines get cleansed, your skin gets cleared up automatically. They are connected with the meridian line and corroborate together. I also used our Japanese super food, Konjac to cleanse the stomach and intestines. I tried to incorporate Konjac at least one dish for any catering for the cleaning purpose. Here's the info. about Konjac.
I also used lotus root to nourish the respiratory system. Lotus root is the root of lotus flower, it grows in the water, so it has a great drainage effect. So, by taking those lotus roots into our body, it helps to clear up the accumulated dampness, mucus in the lung. "You are what you eat" is so true...
They also have a lot of health benefits. They are very crispy, flavorful when you just sauteed lightly. You can get lotus roots at any Asian market. But, usually, they are not organic and came from China. It is very hard to find organic lotus roots in the USA. So, I soak them in the water together with sea salt, rice bran, and apple cider vinegar overnight to remove harmful chemicals. Then, rinse well before I cook them. One of the teachings that I learned from Macrobiotic philosophy is to appreciate what you have. So, I am grateful that I can still get those lotus roots at the Asian market. ♡♡♡
If you are interested in Wanowa's bento catering, please email me at Shinobeau@iCloud.com. I can inform you when will be the next catering day so you can plan ahead. I usually bring them to Mountain View near Nijiya market at the specific time so people ordered the bento can come to pick them up. You can also come to my house in Scotts Valley for a pickup.
Also, I am happy to take orders from 6 or more if I am available. The delivery fee will be added ranging from $20-50 depending on how far I need to drive.
We also rent out our guest room on Airbnb in Scotts Valley, CA, and I make vegan breakfast for the guests. If you like to have a little retreat, please come and stay at our guest room. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12127917
My son and I drove all the way to join Kazuko-san’s Beiju birthday party at Mume farm in Chico last weekend. In Japanese culture, reaching the age of eighty-eight is considered a big milestone. This celebration is commonly known among Japanese as Beiju. Bei means rice. In Chinese the character for rice is 米. It looks like the character of eight(八) on top and ten(十) in the middle, and an another eight(八 )at the bottom. So, when you reach at 88
(八十八), you are officially reaching at the rice(米) age!!! 🎉🎈🎊
In Japan, rice is not only the staple diet, it is the sacred food. Rice, sake (made by rice), salt and water has been offered to the foot of shrines together with branches of Sakaki (clever Japonica/holly greens) since ancient times.
Kazuko-san and her deceased husband, Junsei Yagi helped introduce the macrobiotic diet in the US together with the father of modern macrobiotics, George Ohsawa, Michio Kushi, Herman Aihara and many other teachers. It was so wonderful to see the leaders from the French Meadow camp, and all the friends who adore Kazuko-san. Hope we all work together to continue to pass on your legacy to the next generation. Thank you Ron & Kiyoko for hosting the beautiful event💕Kazuko-san, 祝米寿 Beiju Omedeto Gozaimasu❣️ We all love you❣️
Ron & Kiyoko who took over Kazuko's organic Ume (Japanese plum) farm a few years ago. They are working so hard to continue to produce wonderful Ume products such as Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums), Umesu (Ume vinegar), activated Ume charcoal and so on.
Mume Farm (organic Japanese plum farm)
4192 County Road S, Orland, CA 95963
Orland, CA 95963
Here's the info. about Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums)
The oldest Japanese record of pickled plums being used as a medicine is in a medical text written about one thousand years ago. Umeboshi were used to prevent fatigue, purify water, rid the body of toxins, and cure specific diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, and food poisoning. Slowly, extensive folklore developed about umeboshi's ability to prevent and cure certain diseases. You can check the website for more info. → https://www.macrobiotics.nl/library/UME1.html
I am so happy to hold Tomoko Amano’s cooking class this coming Wednesday. Tomoko is a holistic healing cooking instructor in Japan. She will teach us how to cook Jerusalem artichokes in many different ways such as potage soup, spring rolls, chocolate muffins and more.
Jerusalem artichokes, also know as sunchokes, sunroots or earth apples, are tuber vegetable that look like a ginger root. Jerusalem artichokes is a powerful food that prevents the growth of many kinds of cancers, controls high blood pressure, stops obesity, improves the conditions of diabetes and pre-diabetes and its related complications. Here's the recipe how to make Kimpira (stir-fried) Jerusalem artichoke. Sorry it is in Japanese, but since it is so simple to make, I think it is easy to follow! (^.^)
Here’s the info about Tao school where she teaches the way of macrobiotic cooking. I am interested in Tao’s work & study program (for free).
Today, my hometown, Hiroshima, marked the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bomb. Ever since I can remember as little girl, every August 6 starts with sirens wailing throughout the city at exactly 8:15am when the bomb was dropped. Then, followed with a solemn moment of silence in remembrance. Remembering the 140,000 irreplaceable human lives that were lost, either on the day of the bombing or in the ensuing months, and the numerous atomic bomb survivors who still suffer from the aftermath even to this day, 73 years has already passed since. And we now have 54 nuclear reactors in Japan, and about 450 nuclear reactors are in operation around the world.
To honor this day, I would like to share the Nobel peace prize acceptance speech by Setsuko Thurlow 0n December 10, 2017. Thank you all for taking time to read her speech.
Your Majesties, Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. My fellow campaigners. Here and throughout the world. Ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great privilege to accept this award, together with Beatrice. On behalf of all the remarkable human beings who form the ICAN movement. You each give me such tremendous hope that we can - and will - bring the ear of nuclear weapons to an end.
I speak as a member of the family of hibakusha - those of us who, by some miraculous chance, survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For more than seven decades. We have worked for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
We have stood in solidarity with those harmed by the production and testing of these horrific weapons around the world. People from places with long forgotten names like Moruroa, Ekker, Semipalatinsk, Maralinga, Bikini. People whose lands and seas were irradiated, whose bodies were experimented upon, whose cultures were forever disrupted.
We were not content to be victims. We refused to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refused to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers took us past nuclear dusk and brought us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.
Today, I want you to feel in this hall the presence of all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I want you to feel, above and around us, a great cloud of a quarter million souls. Each person had a name. Each person was loved by someone. Let us ensure that their deaths were not in vain.
I was just 13 years old when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, on my city Hiroshima. I still vividly remember that morning. At 8:15, I saw a blinding bluish-white flash from the window. I remember having the sensation of floating in the air.
As I regained consciousness in the silence and darkness, I found myself pinned by the collapsed building. I began to hear my classmates faint cries: “Mother, help me. God, help me.”
Then, suddenly, I felt hands touching my left shoulder, and hard a man saying. “Don’t give up! Keep pushing! I am trying to free you. See the light coming through that opening? Crawl towards it as quickly as you can.” As I crawled out, the ruins were on fire. Most of my classmates in hat building were burned to death alive. I saw all around me utter, unimaginable devastation.
Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by. Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen. Parts of their bodies were missing. Flesh and skin hung from their hands. Some with their bellies burst open, their intestines hanging out. The foul stench of burnt human flesh filled the air.
Thus, with one bomb my beloved city was obliterated. Most of ts residents were civilians who were incinerated, vaporized, carbonized - among them, members of my own family and 351 of my schoolmates.
In the weeks, months and years that followed, many thousands more would die, often in random and mysterious ways, from the delayed effects of radians. Still to this day, radiation is killing survivours.
Whenever I remember Hiroshima, the first image that comes to mind is of my four - year - old nephew, Eiji - his little body transformed into an unrecognizable melted chunk of flesh. He kept begging for water in a faint voice until his death released him from agony.
To me, he came to represent all the innocent children of the world, threatened as they are at this very moment by nuclear weapons. Every second of every day, unclear weapons endanger everyone we love and everything we hold dear. We must not tolerate this insanity any longer.
Through our agony and the sheer struggle to survive - and to rebuild our lives from the ashes - we hibakusha became convinced that we must warn the world about these apocalyptic weapons. Time and again, we shared our testimonies.
But still some refused to see Hiroshima and Nagasaki as atrocities - as war crimes. They accepted the propaganda that these were “good bombs” that had ended a “just war”. It was this myth that led to the disastrous nuclear arms race - a race that continues to this day.
Nine nations still threaten to incinerate entire cities, to destroy life on earth, to make our beautiful world uninhabitable for future generations. The development of nuclear weapons signifies not a country’s elevation to greatness, but its descent to the darkest depths of depravity. These weapons are not a necessary evil; they are the ultimate evil.
On the seventh of July this year, I was overwhelmed with joy when a great majority of the world’s nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Having witnessed humanity at its worst, I witnessed, that day, humanity at its best. We hibakusha had been waiting for the ban for seventy -two years. Let this be the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.
All responsible leaders will sign this treaty. And history will judge harshly those who reject it. No longer shall their abstract theories mask the genocidal reality of their practices. No longer shall “deterrence” be viewed as anything but a deterrent to disarmament. No longer shall we live under a mushroom cloud of fear.
To the officials of nuclear - armed nations - and to their accomplices under the so-called “nuclear umbrella” - I say this: Listen to our testimony. Heed our warning. And know that your actions are consequential. You are each an integral part of a system of violence that is endangering humankind. Let us all be alert to the banality of evil.
To every president and prime minister of every nation of the world. I beseech you: Join this treaty; forever eradicate the threat of nuclear annihilation.
When I was a 13-year-old girl, trapped in the smoldering rubble. I kept pushing. I kept moving toward the light. And I survived. Our light now is the ban treaty. To all in this hall and all listening around the world. I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: “Don’t give up! Keep pushing! See the light? Crawl towards it.”
Tonight, as we march through the streets of Oslo with torches aflame, let us follow each other out of the dark night of nuclear terror. No matter what obstacles we face. We will keep moving and keep pushing and keep sharing this light with others. This is our passion and commitment for our one precious world to survive.
Here is the video clip that you can watch..
Please join us for the special event on Friday, 6/22 at 6-8:30pm at a private house in Scotts Valley! Beautiful LIVE music will be performed by Izumi Hayakawa in a midst of tall redwood trees♬ Izumi, a talented jazz singer has been performing based in Bay Area and Tokyo. You can visit her website and listen to her music from this site.
The dinner starts at 6pm before the music, I will serve you 100% plant based healthy Indian food! I will make everything from the scratch using local organic vegetables! You can check out the blog to see our previous concert which was held 2 years ago.
If you have time, you can come much earlier, and walk around the woods or just sit around the porch in front of the house with your friends and enjoy the fresh air of the mountain! The exact venue will be informed after receiving your reservation.