Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Now that I am back in the US I am surrounded by my American culture. It is a relief to be able to speak my own language whenever I want! It was hard not being able to express myself fully. Before when I would come back to Hawaii for vacations and visits, I wanted to gorge myself on all the American culture I could, so I would watch TV for about 3 days until I was too full and sick with it. Now though, I notice how I dont want to be around it at all. It seems like poison for my mind. Hope this means my condition has improved!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I have arrived!

To my lovely friends,
I just wanted to let you all know that I am here in Hawaii, and I made it safely, sort of. I overstayed my VISA accidentally by one day, and they kind of freaked in Immigration. I got sent over to this scary side room where I thought I would be interrogated or jailed unable to return to Hawaii. In the end, I paid 4,000 yen and sweated bullets that I would miss my flight. I was one of the last people on the plane, but as I ran down through the terminal was practically in tears that I might have to stay on the airport floor and not return as planned. They gave me a special one day permit so that everything is kosher with my paperwork. Oops. Glad to be back here. Didnt sleep at all on the airplane, and am still going after a short nap today. Being macrobiotic is magnificent. Any other person might be devastated by jet lag.

Be well! Love to you, Leslie

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sayonara Macrobi Garden

Originally uploaded by macro808.
On Saturday night, I went to Macrobi Garden for the last time (until who knows when). I was so happy to see Anri and Eiko. Eiko just got back from America where she was living and cooking for Michio for 3 months. It was fun to eat dinner with everyone (and Anri's mochi awa with kabocha was soooooo oishi!) I will miss you all and thank you for everything and all the great memories. Take care!

Beautiful cake, beautiful friends

Originally uploaded by macro808.
Look at this gorgeous cake that my friends surprised me with! I couldn't believe my eyes, and it was so delicious. It really touched my heart. Thank you.

Thank you friends!

Originally uploaded by macro808.
Sunday night all the girls went to dinner at ModernArk Pharm, an atmospheric cafe in Kobe that serves a delicious vegan dinner set. We had such a fun time together, and I will really miss my friends. Thank you all for the delicious dinner, your friendship, your understanding, love, help and patience. I will see you all again soon.

Inner Quality Tip

I couldn't believe when I read this in my email! Here I am, getting ready to leave Japan, and emptying my home and life of everything I don't need, and suddenly this appears, which seemed to say exactly what I have been going through. I am giving up teaching English to do macrobiotics, and already my decision has brought work into my life. The same thing happened with George. He quit working a restaurant job, and suddenly, he was offered a chance at his dream job in the surf industry. Good job George!

Spring Cleaning

Have you ever noticed that when you let go of some of the unnecessary 'stuff' in your life new, exciting, and wished for things start to show up? Consider your drawers and closets at home. When they're full, there's no room for new stuff. Not to mention that you've probably lost track of what's even in them! But as soon as you clean them out and get rid of what you no longer need or want - new things start to show up.

It's the same with ideas, beliefs, or emotional attachments. Whatever your threshold (how big is your closet?) is for holding onto old notions or behaviors, once you reach that threshold, there's no room for new stuff until you discard some of the old.

Why not take the time this spring to pick an area in your life-- work, family, social, hobby, whatever-- where you want some new vitality, where you want to attract something new or where you want to actualize a desired behavior. Use the Quick Coherence® tool* to quiet the "yeah buts," "what ifs" and "just in cases." From a coherent perspective, ask your heart what to let go.

Be patient and stay neutral until you get an answer. Don't be surprised or afraid of what comes back to you. Then empower yourself to let it go, knowing that there is now room in your life for new, fun and exciting things.
Take care, Kim Allen

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sexy Tofu Dish for Clair

My lovely friend Clair wanted this recipe. I originally got it off of but I can't locate it quickly enough, so I am going to recreate it. (On Yogen's site, it is called Tofu Gado, but I like sexy tofu better!)

1 package firm tofu
1 to 2 carrots
1 to 2 onions
2 T tahini or peanut butter
1 to 2 T miso (barley is nice)
1 to 2 T lemon juice
water (or juice from cooking vegetables)
pinch of sea salt

1. Cut the onions into crescents and the carrots into rounds or half moons.
2. Saute the onions until they smell sweet, and then add carrots on top with a pinch of sea salt. Pour about 1/2 cup water into the pan and cover. Cook until vegetables smell very sweet.
3. Meanwhile, drain the water off the tofu and press between cutting boards to squeeze out excess water (mizu kiri in Japanese).
4. Make the sauce. Put the rest of the ingredients into a suribachi and mix to make a nice sauce.
5. When the vegetables are finished cooking, place them into an oven pan. Cover with tofu slices and top with sauce.
6. Bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes.
7. Serve and enjoy your sexy tofu dish.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


My dad just sent me this message through email. I thought it was very interesting and wanted to share it with you all.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Relationship thoughts

Sometimes I think that for women, their lives revolve around their relationships. Is this just a gender stereotype? I don't know! Observing my female friends, knowing myself, and noticing how often we all talk about relationships, it seems like we all place very high value on our relationships. I just finished reading “Kaleidoscope” by Herman Aihara, and he discusses some interesting points about marriage and relationships in general. I can't resist the opportunity to reflect more on the irresistable topic of personal relationships!

In his article, Aihara compares relationships to eating brown rice. He says,

“[Marriage] is like the brown rice taste – it’s not a hot dog taste or a Chinese restaurant taste (very spicy and oily). If you take that every day, you get tired of it. If I go to a French restaurant every day, I get tired quickly. But brown rice, if cooked well, chewed well, becomes more sweet. You barely need to chew gourmet food – it’s already tasty. So your marriage should be like brown rice – you have to chew very well. If you are very flashy, pretending to be like prince and princess, it doesn't last long. Better to work hard to just make a nice home; then it lasts longer.”

I loved this idea as much as I love brown rice, a lot! It shows a lot of commitment and love.

Other important factors that he mentioned were:

--Choosing a healthy mate. Having a sick partner causes the healthy partner to carry all the burden of cooking, cleaning, childrearing and bringing income into the household. (See more in other postings for ideas of what health means.)
--Having decent income or adequate financial support.
--Having similar interests and hobbies. Aihara says, “If you are interested in macrobiotics, you had better have a partner who is interested in macrobiotics. Romance may not last long, but caring lasts long. Try to find interest in your partner’s hobbies and activities. Give up some of your own pleasure for your mate.” That means if your husband/boyfriend loves to watch loads of TV, including something like football, you should sit down with him and watch it together, even if you don't really enjoy football yourself. The important thing is to try and share the same interests. It could end up being a fun, enjoyable experience to share together.
--Having respect and humbleness towards each other. Without respect, all is lost. To respect each other, act in a respectable manner. Honor and maintain your commitment to each other (e.g., loyalty, fidelity, honesty), your good character and behavior. Work on raising your own level of consciousness.
--Attending to one’s diet. Share at least one meal together every day. Eat together peacefully. Follow a good macrobiotic diet.
--Accepting each other and being happy with what you have instead of thinking “There is something else better out there.” If you simply leave your partner, you could end up in another difficult relationship.
--Communicating and having an open and listening mind, as well as keeping no secrets from each other.
--Avoiding complaining, and instead talk things over sincerely. Speak with your whole heart, for another’s benefit.

My parents have been married for over 35 years, and though no relationship is perfect, nor without its ups and down, they continue to live happily together, with their love growing all of the time. They are not following a macrobiotic diet, but it seems they naturally do many of the things on this list.

Anyway, for me, these are wonderful ideas to think about. I hope you will leave comments if anything inspires you.

How healthy are you?

In American culture, so much emphasis is placed on body image. There seems to be a common belief that if a person is thin, then they must be healthy. It is true that obesity is becoming an epidemic in the States, causing many debilitating health effects. For a long long time, I also held this belief. As a woman, I thought that if I was thin, my problems would disappear and all would be well. Being thin seemed the key to me. Recently, in my own self growth, in addition to interactions and observations of other people, I have been thinking more deeply about the concept of health. I agree that maintaining one’s physique is an important factor, but also, health seems to go much deeper than this. A person could have a gorgeous body, but not a healthy mind and/or spirit.

George Ohsawa outlined 7 conditions for health. I wonder how many of us are able to reach the 7th??

Physical conditions
1. Never tired, never catches cold. Always ready to work.
2. Good appetite, and happy with simplest foods.
3. Good deep sleep, and falls asleep within 3 minutes after going to bed, and wakes up after 4 to 5 hours. No dreams, no movement during sleep.

Psychological conditions
4. Good memory, never forgets, can memorize fifty thousand personal names.
5. Good humor. Freedom from anger. Always cheerful and pleasant under any circumstance. Without fear and suffering. Deep gratitude and thankfulness to others.
6. Good judgment. Smartness in thinking and doing. Correct thinking, judging, and doing with promptness and smartness.

Understanding of faith and justice
7. Absolute faith in justice, thinking and doing things with the following mentality:

-Never angry
-Never afraid
-Never says ‘I am tired’ or ‘I am lost’
-Appreciates any foods, even distasteful cooking
-Sleeps deeply, without dreams
-Never forgets, especially debts and kindness received
-Does not lie in order to protect himself/herself
-Accurate and punctual
-Likes everyone
-Never doubts what others say
-Lives to find the highest eternal value of life
-Happiest when finding the order of the universe in daily life and in unnoticeable small things
-Spends life only for what he/she really wants to do instead of just for earning money
-Spends whole life teaching the miracle of life – the order of the universe

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Why I don't eat ...

Since I am leaving Japan soon, many people have been inviting me for lunch or dinner to enjoy being together before I leave. Recently, a teacher from the English Department invited me over to her home, a rare treat in Japan. Several people from my department know that I have a diet different from their own, but they don't really know what this is exactly. She kindly and conscientiously asked me several times about the foods that I could eat and couldn't eat to find a suitable menu plan for everyone (including her seminar students). Her cousin, a dietician, was also very interested in my being macrobiotic and she decided to come to lunch too!

I decided to take some daifuku dessert (strawberry covered with sweet azuki bean paste and mochi rice). The teacher’s 91-year-old mother with a very frail appetite really loved them and wanted to eat more.

My colleague made very delicious chirashi zushi with homemade lotus and ginger pickles, as well as kiriboshi daikon, and her cousin made a clear broth soup with sea bass. They put eel and egg on the side for the students. That was really kind of them to do for me.

I wondered if perhaps I might end up in the hot seat, answering questions about why I don't eat meat, fish, egg, sugar, etc., so I prepared the night before. Fortunately, I wasn't grilled! This is what I would have told them, if they had asked.

1.) Why don’t you eat meat, fish, or poultry?

Eating meat in the polar regions gives a lot of energy and warmth to endure the extreme cold. However, for those of us in temperate climates, eating meat is too difficult for us to digest, taking twice as long as for vegetables and grains. While the meat travels though our intestines, it begins to putrefy, creating harmful bacteria in our intestines. The toxins begin to accumulate in our liver, large intestine, and kidneys, and destroy the villi in our small intestines. Fat begins to accumulate around these organs, our arteries harden, and we develop cysts, tumor, fibroids, and high cholesterol. We can eventually develop cancer.

With more oxygen needed to digest the meat, we have a lot of oxygen traveling through our blood and into our brains. This makes it hard for us to keep a calm mind, and can lead to aggressive behavior. We become fixed and rigid in our mentality.

2.) Where do you get your protein?

There is ample protein in the grains, nuts, seeds, seitan, tempeh, tofu, natto, and other beans, in addition to the occasional fish that I eat. These foods are very easy to digest compared to meat and dairy. Too much protein, such as in the standard American diet, can lead to osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease.

The standard American diet, with meat and dairy, is very high in fat. A high fat diet leads to heart attacks, stroke, an overstressed liver and other main organs, and can eventually lead to cancer.

3.) Why don't you eat sugar?

Sugar, too much fruit, honey, and milk all leach minerals from the body. Our bones become brittle as the sugar leaches minerals away, and we develop osteoperosis. These sugary foods clog our intestines, cause weight gain, and lethargy. Simple sugars make our insulin levels (blood sugar) unstable, first soaring and then crashing, leading to hypoglycemia, diabetes, and even drug addictions. Our pancreas and liver are unable to cope with the overwork and stress, and they become fatty, leading to cancer. Furthermore, sugar causes an acid condition in the body, making us susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. We are also susceptible to nervousness, worry, passivity, introversion, spaced-out behavior, lack of concentration, lack of memory, and slow decision-making.

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates (in grains, grain malts, and amazake) burn slow and steady keeping our insulin levels, thoughts, concentration, decision-making, and emotions balanced and harmonized.

4.) Why don't you eat cheese and eggs, or drink milk?

In addition to meat, dairy products are very difficult for our bodies to digest. The toxins get stuck in our upper intestine, leading to more putrefaction, which weakens our organs. Dairy causes mucus to develop in our bodies, especially in the reproductive organs. We develop sinus problems, kidney stones, fat, tumors, cancer, hay fever, and infertility. Because dairy takes a long time to digest, it also leads to a dulled mind. Other problems such as allergies develop, in addition to antisocial and dependent behaviors.

I am so happy to be macrobiotic. I am so thankful that coming to Japan led me to such a wonderful way to see the world and to live my life. Thank you Japan! Thank you Kobe Women's University!