We are sorry to inform you that we will be canceling the one day retreat tomorrow, due to a neighborhood blackout that was caused by a tree falling down. Yufuko will be back in August, so we hope we can plan another retreat in fall. Once the date is decided, we will inform you more details. Thank you.
I am happy to inform you that I am going to hold a one day retreat at my house in Scotts Valley this coming Sunday on May 19th from 10 am - 3 pm together with my dear friend, Yufuko at my house!
Yufuko, a teacher (sensei) of Japanese tea ceremony, an incredible pottery artist, and an instructor of yoga will lead us to a beautiful class of gentle yoga (breath, stretch, and relax for all levels), Chabana (Japanese flower arrangement for tea), and Japanese tea ceremony. Yufuko, creator of No Gate Tea in Berkely is now based in Nara Prefecture Japan to deepen her quest of pottery. She will guide us to the new world of silence to connect with our true self through all the classes she offers.
And I will prepare a healing cuisine for lunch to rejuvenate your liver, and gallbladder which connect with the season of spring according to traditional Chinese medicine. Also, while you are having lunch, I will talk about how to take care of these organs.
Here's the schedule of the retreat.
Date: May 19th, Sunday, one day after the full moon
10:00 Welcome drink - Home Remedy Soup to rejuvenate your liver & gallbladder
10:15 Breathing - Introduction to the Respiratory System
10:15-12:15 Gentle Yoga for all levels
12:30-13:30 Healing cuisine lunch (mini-talk for how to take care of your lever & gallbladder)
13:30-14:00 Meditation Walking
14:00-14:15 Chabana - Japanese flower arrangement for tea
(We will use the wildflowers found in the forest during the meditation walking.
Yufuko will bring her beautiful hand-made ceramic vases for us to use for chabana)
14:15-15:00 Japanese tea ceremony
（I will prepare healthy Japanese sweets that go well with Japanese authentic Matcha tea)
Where： private house in the midst of the redwood trees
( I will inform you the address once I receive your reservation!)
I am sure you will find Yufuko's every class profound and give you a new perspective on your daily life. And, I will prepare the meal to balance out your energy. We have limited space for 8 people, so RSVP to Shinobeau@iCloud.com if you are interested.
The photos below are from the autumn retreat we collaborated together last year.
Here's the information about Chabana.
Chabana is neither too informal, nor overly designed, but arranged with the nature of the flower in mind. Like tea, what matters most is the mind in which your arrangements stem from. When you are resting in a calm and balanced space, the arrangement of flowers for tea will reflect these qualities and inspire them in others. It is an art like any other, requiring frequent practice. And like any art to be mastered, freedom stems from the form, meaning more repetition and input in the beginning until you slowly step out of the way and let the creative process naturally work through you. It becomes less of you arranging the flowers and more of letting them arrange your state of being, as they do in Nature...
Japanese lunch box catering service to the Japanese community on a Happy Mother's Day💕 I prepared these lunch boxes thinking about my mother in Hiroshima, Japan. 🙏
It took almost 2 days for just making the preps. I hope everyone enjoyed the food.
♡ Kenchin vegetable soup
♡ lotus root & oatmeal balls
♡ potato salad with home-made chickpea mayonnaise
♡ beet salad together with beets stem and leaf prepared respectively
♡ gluten-free spring roll of bamboo shoots & vegetables
♡ squid ink style pasta using Hijiki & Nori (seaweeds)
♡ garland chrysanthemum leaves dressed with tofu and tahini paste
♡ daikon rice using 2 whole daikon radishes accompanied with boiled green top
♡ sweet azuki bean paste & Matcha mousse with fresh strawberry sauce
I used Kuzu root starch for thickening Matcha mousse. Kuzu is one of the essential ingredients of macrobiotic cooking and traditional Chinese medicine. It improves the entire body maintaining in a well-balanced manner. It has been used for more than thousands of years in Asia. Since it is not synthetically made such as any other drugs, there are no side effects, and it is safe, effective for everyone. Here are some amazing medicinal benefits of Kuzu.
- Purifying the blood - promoting excretion of waste in the blood and improving the quality of blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, etc.)
- Promoting blood circulation - smoothing blood circulation helps to enhance the function of general organs, increasing the metabolism
- Improving the immune function - improving the immune cell generation for making body tissue flexible, softening and strengthening blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, joints, etc.
- Stabilizing autonomic nervous system - enhancing endocrine function - the hormones secreted from endocrine glands are well-balanced
- Improving digestive function such as the stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, etc.
- Stabilizing the blood sugar - an increase of pancreatic activity to regulate sugar metabolism, so high blood sugar drops, and low blood sugar rises.
- Enhancing the liver function - liver, one of the essential organs with the largest size and ability of the human body responsible for over 500 duties, help to enhance blood quality together with functions of whole-body organs.
- Improving the functions of the kidneys - eliminating waste products and other harmful substances from the body to the outside.
- Enhancing the functions of the adrenal glands - Improving the allergies and autoimmune diseases, and help to prevent infections and cancer
- Improving cardiovascular function - strengthening blood vessels and heart tissue by regulating blood quality and circulation.
- Natural pain relief - the pain will be alleviated by sending oxygen while the flow of blood was promoted, and it will help to eliminate stagnant degradation components in the bloodstream.
Please join us for the special event on Saturday, 5/4 at 4:30-7:30 pm at a private house in Scotts Valley! Beautiful LIVE music will be performed by Izumi & Doug in the midst of tall redwood trees♬ The fee is $40 including dinner and one drink!
Izumi Hayakawa, a talented jazz singer has been performing based in the Bay Area and Tokyo. You can visit her website and listen to her music on her website.
Doug McKeehan, a first call jazz pianist in the San Francisco Bay Area, will be performing with Izumi! Here's the info. about Doug.
The dinner starts at around 5 pm before music. I will serve you 100% plant-based healthy Indian food including Japanese style of curry! I will make everything from scratch using local organic vegetables! You can check out the blog to see our previous concert which was held a few 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.
As of today, The reservation for this event is full now. Thank you so much for having an interest in attending our spring jazz night. We are planning to hold an another jazz & dinner session in the summer again. Hope many of you can join us. Thank you! (5/3, 2019)
I worked as a holistic chef for David Cho's spring yoga retreat at Hidden Villa in Los Altos last weekend. This is my 3rd year in a row, and it has been always a great learning experience for me.
This beautiful retreat center has a wonderful commercial kitchen that every chef has dreamed of. There are 6 huge gas stove tops and 2 large ovens, a huge flat-top grill, and an entire cutting board table. On top of that, there is another fully equipped gas stove and a sink in the corner just for the vegan use... I still remember when I first had set foot in the kitchen, I was totally speechless. So excited and thankful for giving me the opportunity of being a conductor of this lovely kitchen. I felt like I got wings that I could do anything. And it was true. We were able to create so many magic on the plates.
Since it was a spring detox retreat, I used a lot of vegetables and grains that help to detox and nourish the body. According to TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), Spring corresponds with liver and gallbladder. The liver is one of the most critical organs which plays like the role of a chemical refinery plant for the body. All the toxic food including food additives, pesticide residue, and unwasted oil we happen to eat daily get detoxified by our liver so our purified blood can circulate in the body.
When spring comes, our liver and gallbladder are at full blast because all the fat that stored in the winter to protect from the cold is no longer needed, so our life force energy tries to get rid of it just like we no longer need our coats and boots. So, we are ready for the warm season. With upward energy of spring, our organs inside of the body start to prepare for the summer.
Our mother earth prepares the perfect spring vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, leeks, arugula, bok choy, beets that help to nourish our liver and gallbladder. So, I use them all to create the food for the hungry yogis. I also used a lot of naturally fermented food such as chickpea miso, homemade amazake, soy source to promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria for improving immune function as well as digestive and heart health.
I also prepared the pile of sliced oranges every morning. The taste of sour associate with spring according to TCM. Those citric & amino acids in the fruits help to support the liver function. So, I used a lot of sour condiments such as organic apple cider vinegar and Umesu for the salad dressings.
Our eyes and tendons/muscles are connected by the meridian of the liver. Hence, if you have eye problems such as dry eyes or blurry vision, or muscles problem such as having a cramp in the middle of the night could be a sign of stagnation of your liver. So, if you have any sign on the above, it is time to take good care of your liver. Eat lots of spring vegetables, and avoid oily food until all the symptoms are gone.
If you could skip dinner, that would be even better! It is said that about 80% of your enzyme in your body is used up for digesting of the food you eat, and only 20% is used for restoring your health on a daily basis. But if you go on fasting, 100% of your enzyme is used for restoring and detoxification for your body. In the natural kingdom, wounded animals usually go on fasting so they get healed faster. Children under 7 also still have natural instincts to protect themselves. So, when they get sick, they usually lose appetite which is a natural way of healing. When we get older, many of us tend to lose or weaken our instincts somehow. If you get sick or not feeling well next time, try to skip the dinner or eat a small amount and see how you feel the next morning. A lot of my friends told me that they felt much better and see their skin more clear even though it was painful for them to sleep their stomach growling so hard...
Thank you, David Cho, for trusting me to cook meals for your precious yoga family members! Thank you all the yogis who ate all my creations with a big smile! And last but not at least, thank you Nao, Rieko and Seiya who assist me all the way through to complete the mission. I love you all!
Fabulous field trip just for adults! On this special day the Vernal Equinox and a full moon overlapped for the first time in 19 years. My friends and I visited Land of Medicine Buddha (LMB) retreat center in a sacred forest in Santa Cruz to celebrate by hiking.
There is a popular trail in LMB which is open to the public, called "The Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail" - a short meditative loop designed to help hikers calm their minds and contemplate Buddhist teachings. While you walk among the big redwood trees and plants, you will find the eight verses written in script on signs posted every 15 or 20 minutes along the trail. They are the thought transformation by Langri Tangpa, and each verse is accompanied by an explanation of its meaning by Dalai Lama. It's a very peaceful meditative trail.
A lot of Japanese like to visit temples, shrines or places that are believed to have some powerful vortex energy during special occasions for purification. So, it was a perfect day for us to hike, to meditate, and to have an experience of "Shinrin -Yoku" all at once. The word of "Shinrin-Yoku" means "forest bath" in English. It means soaking yourself into the forest air while you walk in the mountains.
It is a therapy that was developed in Japan during the 1980s, becoming a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. The Japanese researchers suggest that we can get beneficial substances called phytoncide when we breathe forest air.
Phytoncide is the natural aroma of the forest which is emitted by plants & trees to counter from harmful odorous substances such as carcasses and excrement of animals. Japanese researchers found this pytoncide has also the power to counter illnesses including cancer, strokes, gastric ulcers, depression, anxiety, and stress. It also boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure and aids sleep. Here's the more information about a research study on "Shinrin-Yoku". .
After we enjoyed meditative walk & "Shinrin-Yoku" at LMB, I took them to a natural foods store in Santa Cruz and introduced them to a few items that I use for my macrobiotic cooking. Then, we had special vegan lunch boxes (OBENTO) that I prepared early in the morning to celebrate the full moon & Equinox. It was such a beautiful day, and I'm so grateful for all the ladies who cherished this special day together with me. 🙏
I catered Japanese sweets - traditional sticky rice cakes called BOTAMOCHI to the Japanese community in Scotts Valley & San Jose.
Today is the first day of the spring equinox week. It is a seasonal week-long event in Japan. Spring equinox is the day when the length of day and night become almost equal. It means that the energy of Yin & Yang reaches the highest point of the year. It is the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. As it is a turning point of the season, our lives are also going to shift accordingly.
During the week of HARU-HIGAN (the spring equinox week), we have the custom to visit our ancestor's grave and offer BOTAMOCHI and flowers. It is a week to respect and honor all our ancestors who paved our ways and celebrate all the livings together.
Since I currently live in California, I can not physically visit our ancestors' graves in Japan. However, I have my sacred space in my house where I can pray every morning and night just to thank and celebrate the ancestors, friends, family and mother earth.
Also, cooking is another form of prayer for me, so the kitchen is one of my favorite places to be. I think while you are doing something you love and enjoy, you have the moments of connecting to the power of something great. For me, it is cooking. While I cook, I forget everything, and so often lose track of time.
So many people are saying that the flow is changing dramatically in so many ways from this year forward. And I have to admit that I see the sign everywhere even my small world. But, I believe as long as I eat good quality of food, my compass inside of me will not blur and lead me to the journey where I want to go. It is simple but so true... The food guide your destiny! I hope everyone has a great week of the spring equinox. Eat well and chew well!
I made 100% plant-based, gluten-free Japanese lunch boxes to celebrate women's lunar new year last weekends. Here's the menu of the lunch box.
- Root vegetable chowder
- Stuffed cabbage roll with sweet vegetable soup
- Azuki and pumpkin stew
- Steamed broccoli salad with roasted sesame seeds
- Red cabbage salad
- Kiriboshi daikon (dried radish)
- potato salad with hand made chickpea mayo
- Sautéed spiral Konjac with savory soy sauce
- Steamed half polished brown rice with lotus seeds (colored by beets juice & Umesu)
Here's the info. about Umesu → https://wanowa.weebly.com/alternative-medicine/umesu-eliminator-for-toxin
- Sake kasu cheesecake (sake kasu is the lees left over from the refining process of Sake production. it is probiotic, and highly nutritious and has robust, aromatic flavor. )
I made the steamed rice with lotus seeds. Lotus seeds have been used as an herbal medicine since ancient times. They contain vitamins, calcium, potassium, and fibers. They are a stabilizer for your nervous system, female balance hormones to help menstrual disorders or menopausal disorders, slowing down the aging process, managing diabetes and many other symptoms.
It is very simple to cook lotus seeds. You can prewash them first, and soak them in the cold water for 6-8 hours prior to the cooking. Then, you can cook together with rice. I try to eat them a few times a month. They have a nutty, sweet flavor and very delicious. I buy them at a store called Heartland organic natural food in San Jose, but you can buy any local Chinese market about $10 or so.
Here's the information that I buy my lotus seed if you are interested.
I catered the traditional Japanese dessert, called OHAGI to the Japanese community in the Bay Area on Valentine's day. OHAGI is very popular sweets among Japanese. The typical OHAGI is usually made with glutinous (sweet sticky) rice, filled with sweet red bean (AZUKI) paste, and covered by flavourful roasted soybean (KINAKO) powder. You can buy regular OHAGI at any Japanese markets, But they are store-made and using a lot of white sugar, food additives and chemicals.
Since it was a sweet Valentin's day, I created five different kinds of Wanowa's versions of OHAGI (chocolate, matcha, strawberry, sweet potato & pumpkin, and sweet azuki bean ).
They are all 100% plant-based & gluten-free, using organic grains, beans, vegetables. For sweeter, I only used dates, raisins, brown rice syrup and maple syrup. So, they are all kind to our well-being💕 They all came out wonderfully, and I was so happy to bring them to the people who love Japanese sweets.
I don't use white refined sugar in my cooking including sweet deserts for many reasons. If you google, there are many studies about the danger of sugar. Above all, I would like to introduce you a fascinating experiment about sugar intake at Tokyo University. When you intake sugar, both of your stomach and intestines suddenly stop functioning. Usually, when you eat food, your stomach automatically starts to digest, but if you take any kind of sugar, the motion of the stomach suddenly stops for about 30 minutes. This phenomenon was named "sugar reflex." So, if you eat sweet food before a meal, the food you ate later will remain in the stomach as it is undigested before this sugar reflex cannot be solved. This is a scary result!
Not so long ago, there was a popular diet called "chocolate diet" in Japan. It was said that if you eat a few chocolates prior to the meal, you don't go crazy about eating too much food because you don't feel hunger. Hence you can control your appetite. And I think that is because your stomach gets relaxed and stop functioning after eating chocolates according to the above experiment. So, it is true that you lose your appetite, but it is sort of dangerous diet since all the food you ate after having chocolates remains in your stomach without digesting...
Any course menu of cuisine such as French, Italian or Japanese, the deserts comes always at the end, and it makes a lot of sense now. After all the food you eat, your stomach gets relaxed by finishing your deserts at the end. But if you or your child have any trouble digesting, I would definitely recommend you to skip the desert. You could probably eat dessert alone at a different time. Also, it is a wise choice to avoid having any kind of sweet drinks during the meal. I see so many children having sodas while they are eating meals. It is very scary when you think about what is happening inside their stomach. The eating habits of this daily accumulation will eventually stagnate the gastrointestinal tract, and they are more likely developing any sort of health disorder later on. Since our stomach plays the role of the powerhouse in the body, it is very important to keep it healthy. By avoiding sugar intake will benefit a healthy stomach for sure.👍
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!
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