Sunday, January 31, 2010

Toe Story

I broke my left pinkie toe on January 5th. I saw a doc about it today: Feb 1st.

Why the delay?

Because, it only hurt when I wore my shoes (size 7 and a half). I spent the last 20 something days wearing a pair of snow boots that I found at my parents house (about size 9) to walk outside, and slides (about size 9, also) at work. Which rarely caused any pain, and I decided not to see a doc just to tell me in his as-a-matter-of-fact voice, "Oh yes, it's broken, don't wear your shoes so it won't pinch it" like I'm not already doing it. So many people told me that I was crazy for not having seen a doc: so many except any of my family members including the sister who happens to be a doc, the mother who dropped bro's training machine on my toe (the reason why it's broken, we were trying to move it together), the brother whose training machine in question we (he, mom and I) were relocating because he wanted it to be in a warmer room.

24 hours after the a-huge-ass-iron-and-metal-dropped-on-my-toe happened, my poor pinkie was still swollen like something is alive inside. I asked sis if I should see a doc. "If it's going to make you feel better, sure," said the medically qualified. I asked mom if I should see a doc. "There's not much that they can do if it is in fact broken," said the injurer. I told bro that my toe is probably broken. The huge-ass-iron-and-metal owner said, "you shouldn't move around too much."

That's the kind of medical decisions we make at our household, and it suits me fine.

If doctors would actually put me out of the snow boots on my first visit to him and I could stride my way out of the clinic in my Stuart Weitzman pointed pin-heels like nothing happened, or give me something that would heal the bone at a magical speed, yes, I would go see a doc right on the spot. But I know they ain't gonna work miracles on a broken toe. What the hey, it's winter and snowing outside, the snow boots idea doesn't seem like a bad idea.

So I didn't go see a doc and I wasn't gonna. Until one night...

I woke up in the middle of the night wanting to pee, got up, took care of my business, rushed back to my boudoir to snuggle back into the warm blanket... or so I thought my plan was , if there ever was any plan for a midnight pee trip. Instead of in the warm, soft blanket feeling released and comfy, I found myself rolling on the floor swearing like I never swore before in my entire life. Apparently, I didn't walk around the bed far enough and kicked its corner with the very pinkie. I am glad my neighbors, if they heard me at all at 3 in the mo, don't understand English because what came out of my mouth wasn't very pretty for the next 2 minutes.

I knew he would still tell me nothing I didn't know before, but I felt like I should see him anyway after the same exact pain happens twice in four weeks on the same spot. But moreover, I felt that I owe it to my pinkie who hasn't done anything wrong but being her pinkie self the whole time. She was minding her own business when the hugh-ass-iron-and-metal dropped on her completely out of the left field. She was minding her own business when a wooden board of a bed corner knocked her out of conscious. I thought it would be nice to show her that I care. So I went to a doc today to hear him say nothing I didn't know already.

If anything, I actually need bigger socks now, too.

But I had a sense of relief in me as I left the clinic. Not in my pumps this time, yet. But what do you know, it was beginning to snow out.

Until next time,


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Veggie Curry

A good friend of mine, N, came over for a chat over dinner on Saturday. So I tried and made my very first vegetarian curry the night before and let it sit for a day.

jack soy-meat
olive oil
vegetable stock

I had just bought the meat-alternative solely made of soy a day ago, so it was fun to experiment with the new item. It comes out really well, I have to say. N didn't even realize it wasn't ground beef.

Served, of course, with brown rice cooked with a bit of oats.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Malay Gifts

A very good friend of mine, E, just had a half-week getaway to Malaysia (and pretty much left me to die of jealousy) and came back with a very lovely set of goodies.

Sabah tea. I first read it "Sabbath" tea when I first laid my eyes on the lettering (you mean you didn't?) and went for a second "...Sabbath tea from Malaysia????" But I read it again, and ah! it's a tea that I'm supposed to "brew (my)self a cup and enjoy the mystical taste of Borneo Rain Forest" and that sounds fabulous, wherever the Borneo Rain Forest might be.

And this is E's favorite, Seri Kaya: paste in a can that's made of egg, coconut cream, sugar and wheat flour. She told me to use it as I would peanut butter on toast because that's how she was introduced to it and ended up loving so much. Since I am practicing macrobiotics, I shall bring this back to my parents house and eat it on a very special occasion.

This, I'm very curious about. Coconut white coffee. First of all, I love coconuts: the smell, the taste, the texture, all of it. Macrobiotically speaking, though, I should not be eating a lot of things tropical since the tropical-ity is not in my gene of a pure Japanadian. But I think I shall enjoy this when the occasion calls for it.

Thank you, E!

Until next time,


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blueberry Oatmeal

Pancakes are my favorite breakfast in the world. But I've been saving that for some occasions less ordinary than a regular Monday, say, since I started my macrobiotic journey. On my birthday, maybe.

So, for now, my breakfast evolves around something oat-y and berry-ful.

blueberries (I put a lot)
soy milk
cinnamon powder (to your liking)

Super easy to make (you just put everything in a pot and heat till cooked), very digestive and kind to your morning stomach, nice and warm for a winter morning.

Until next time,


Roses Aren't Red

I realize that I have just blogged about tulips, but let me have an affair with another floral delight and bring home, this time, roses.

I went grocery shopping this morning. ( It was such a nice day, very warm for a winter day, that it was hard not to be in a good mood, and I couldn't possibly pass up on the yellow petals, which happens to be my favorite color on roses, that I saw at the store.

Bringing brightness of simple beauty in my boudoir.

Until next time,


Cambio -My New Grocery Store

I was twice recommended by someone to check this place out, and I finally did today. I do 90% of my shopping for organic, macrobiotic items on line because of the convenience, and the points I can earn. But knowing that there is a store like this, a whole-food grocery market Cambio, near enough my house to go before work is nice. (

They have a lot of organic vegetables and fruit, tofu, bread, and pretty much everything, really. My personal favorite, though, is their herb tea collections. I spent a good 10 minutes going through the tea bags one by one.

My friend is visiting this Saturday. I shall be back here for the Indian curry I plan on making for my dear one.

Until next time,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Red Bean & Chestnut Compote

I had a bag of red beans and roasted chestnuts, so I made a compote.

red beans
roasted chestnuts
100% maple syrup

You basically boil everything until the beans are soft and broken. Simple. Easy. Tasty.

Red beans are supposed to be very good for your body, and cleanse your spleen. I had a little craving for something sweet, so I made a little desert with the compote.

You put the beans-and-nuts concoction in a bowl, and put some ama-zake and warmed soy milk. That's it. Nicely sweet and warm, perfect for a winter night.

Ama-zake, by the way, is one of the most essential ingredients in the kitchen of someone who believes in macrobiotics. You can drink it, of course, and it also works as a sweetener (it's sugarless but naturally sweet because of the rice that they are made of).

Bon appetite!

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spring in the Kitchen

I love tulips. I defy all women not to love tulips. Next to gerbera, they happen to be my favorite flowers.

I think I've loved them since I was a little girl and saw a very pretty picture of Thumbrella taking a nap in a red tulip in one of my fairy-tale picture books. I remember wanting that tulip-bed that the little princess had for herself. Really, really badly, too. How cozy it must be, I imagined, to be harbored in the petals as I lay sleeping. Even as a child, for me, a-girlhood-fantasy has never been of Sleeping Beauty or of Snow White. All they do is sing and die, and they have no control over their resurrection. They just frigging wait, sleeping as they do. What a bunch of lazy-assed princesses are they? They were powerless and dumb, then-me thought, and didn't contribute any thing to the whole story, really. For me, it was all about the little Thumbrella and her tulip bed. I still dream of a canopy bed partially because of this childhood fantasy.

Aside from the prologue I just ran you through, though, there is something very enduring about their shape. So, as I stepped into a grocery store after work for some veggies and fruit tonight, and saw some colorful bunches at the entrance, I just couldn't pass by them without picking the budding flowers of early spring.

Canary yellow was very cute, but tonight I took home two stalks of reddish pink with yellow tips. Amazing what a little color can do to one's kitchen, isn't it?

Until next time,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Lunch Out I

I had another monthly meeting in Shinjuku yesterday.

Eating out might be the hardest part of a macrobiotic life. You just never know what is in the dish they serve. But, if you are going to be this impossible customer at a non-whole-food restaurant who is inquisitive about every ingredients in the dish you want and demand the waiter that they replace the chicken with bean-curd and couscous with chick-pea, you should just never eat out in the first place. People like this lack both etiquette and respect, and will lose both friends and social life. I have waited tables at a restaurant for three years during college, and, trust me, they come off more disrespectful and immature than health-conscious and, dare I say it, organic.

My theory is, if I stick to the macrobiotics on a regular basis, occasional cheats are not hard to make up for later. So, eating out should never be omitted from my life, especially with friends and family. And the meat and fish, sugar and animal fat that you may have had during the social life can easily made up by going back to the whole-food basis the next day.

So for lunch in Shinjuku, I went to a casual French restaurant and had a big bowl of salad with steamed vegetables and stewed white fish and tomatoes on top (I did ask for the dressing on the side, though. But I have been doing this anyway all my life.) Yes, I had a little fish, and savored every bite of it.

Sorry about the poor quality of the picture.

And on the way home on the bullet train, I had myself some treats, too. After all, an 8-hour meeting on a 16th floor in a suit can take a lot out of you. And going on a two-hour ride on a bullet train, still in a suit, at 9 o'clock, isn't very helpful either.

And a berry smoothie and berry cookies seemed just about perfect.

Until next time,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

My New Weekly Friend

My new thing this year is to read more. And I am starting that habit with a "weekly" paper that I have been meaning to subscribe (and too lazy to actually do anything about).

It's not like I have a lot of options when it comes to subscribing an English paper in Japan, so I just went with the first one I found when I googled, which is probably the most popular kind (out of three, if not two): The Japan Times Weekly.

Why am I subscribing an English paper and not a Japanese one? Hahahahaha, as if I would actually even attempt to read a paper written in Japanese!! Have you ever seen a Japanese paper? It's so kanji-packed, everything looks Chinese to me! I might as well be looking at a mountain map.

(Japan Air Line isn't doing so hot, it says. I used to work for the company in LA. I hope my then-supervisor Ms. Kaminsky is doing well...)

The reason why I am opting for the weeklies instead of the dailies is simply that the dailies come above my budget, and they don't even give you the big fat paper-waste of a Sunday specials with coupons OR comics like the papers in the states. Besides which, I actually don't enjoy reading newspapers so much as to want to read one every day. Catching up with the world weekly makes me feel updated enough to live in this world and be a citizen of moral excellence.

By the way, my first subscription delivered happened to be "The Japan Times Weekly 50th anniversary special." Now how do you like that? getting your very first order from the mailbox and unfolding it to see the top page that says in bold, "celebrating 50 years of The Weekly" thanking all the readers for their support for all these years? I felt what someone who just got hired and on her first day at work gets to eat a piece of cake that was bought for a retiring "colleague" that worked for the company for the last 40 years must feel. A very tangible example of a thank-you-that-you-don't-deserve, it was.

Until next time,


Dandelion Coffee

It's Saturday night. I am in my PJ (just about my favorite thing to be in), unwinding from the week's stress (I work Saturdays) with The Japan Times Weekly on couch, warm in my apartment living room. Nora Jones on. Easily my favorite time of the week.

Not so long ago, I would have likely poured myself a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardney to highlight my evening like this, but tonight, I am opting for a big cup of dandelion coffee.

Yes, it's dandelion. More specifically, it's roasted dandelion roots in a form of powder. It looks and smells, and actually tastes a lot like coffee, thus the name. You also make it just like you do coffee, with a drippier.

It smells very...roasted, is the word I'm looking for, to a point where you expect it to taste really bitter that you have to squint, but it's actually really mild and almost sweet on its own.

It makes your body really warm. It's also supposed to cleanse your liver and it's highly recommended for a nursing mother (not that I am). And since the caffeine is 100% absent unlike regular coffee, you can have it late at night without the insomnia effect.

Have a lovely weekend, world!

Until next time,


Friday, January 15, 2010

An Aunt I Am

On Wednesday 13th January 2010 around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I became an aunt. My nephew was born.

I haven't met the little one yet, but I am already a big chub of love right now.

I'm so glad I have a nephew because I can buy him stuffed dinosaurs and books about dinosaurs and make him wear dinosaur PJs without making my sis-in-low feel standoffish (I am a big dinosaur nerd). Now if it was a niece I had, I would probably have to consider a little more girlie option, I would imagine.

Meeting the baby boy this Sunday. Can't simply wait!

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life Macrobiotic

And so it begins.

The whole concept of macrobiotics has always been in my head but I never thought of actually practicing it because, one, I didn't have it in me to cook all the time for myself, and two, it costs a lot. So why do it?

I'm doing this because, upon turning 30 in March, I feel the need to start, really start, taking better care of myself. I have always been naturally allergic to many things: sun, some nuts, fabrics, certain liquids, etc,. My stomach and intestines are naturally weak, and in the recent years especially, I have had some gastritis and other stomach-related "conditions" that were enormously inconvenient for a working girl. I don't want t let my "biological" inconvenience be a factor to fail the things I chose to do in life.

And, the most fundamental thing in one's biological life has to be the food, wouldn't you agree? If food that I eat everyday make the person that I am or will be, why wouldn't I gladly pay a little extra to get what's best for me? It's like a fail-proof investment. The money I pay three times more for the grocery and condiments in the kitchen will one day make a three times better version of myself.

With that self belief in heart, I am going on this macrobiotic journey.

Until next time,


Monday, January 11, 2010

Whole Food Enlightenment

I've been reading a lot of macrobiotics books lately. It's my new thing.

...actually, it's not a completely new thing, come to think of it. I once practiced vegetarianism in college. But right about the same time I thought I was a lesbian, too. So, thinking that I was just confused and thus having a distorted judgment on self, I kind of dismissed it as just a phase.

I have to say I am semi-converted, since my commitment isn't yet the whole nine macrobiotic yard. Besides, I am not giving up my baking on my days off, and I will not, WILL NOT, bake with soy milk and tofu butter as long as I can sift and whip. But I did order 300 bucks worth of organic, micro-sized and macro-priced whole food goodies on line. Ready to cook those vegetables up and whole-grain myself!

I never really eat fish or meat anyway simply because I don't really care for it. So the concept of living on all things non-animal on a regular basis seems easy for the most part. Besides, as I read on, there is more to this macrobiotic way of living than just plain I-am-a-vegan craziness. Well, that's really the reason why I'm turning to the concept anyway. Being a vegan for the reason that killing an animal is brutal, to me, is just plain stupid. But I respect all opinions of every one and definitely not going to judge the vegans for both their choice and reason. Let them be, I gracefully will.

And I am sure there are readers out there who gracefully will let me be with my choice of macrobiotic semi-conversion, so I will not dwell on explaining what I think is good in the whole-food concept. After all, it is a personal preference that can be seen a bit like a religion, I find. And I know that I don't like it when people get hyped up talking about the god or goblin or gargoyle or whatever they believe in and what they do to practice the belief, so I am not going to bore my precious readers with the concept of macrobiotics and what I believe in. If you are interested, you will look into it yourself. You are already on line and that shouldn't be too hard.

I just believe in doing what makes me happy.

Until next time,


Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Let bygones be bygones...

This year, I am becoming a lot of things that I wasn't before. One, an aunt (any day now). Two, 30 (in two and a half months). And three, macrobiotic.

My feelings about all these three things: yay me!

Until next time,


Cadeaux de Noël: du Canada

I know Christmas has long passed, but I must show the world what made the holiday more special for me than it was already becoming since my best friend E's arrival. I had a very lovely reunion with my friend K from Toronto over the holiday in a very special place, Kyoto. And he brought with him a whole bunch of goodies for me!

Everything is actually from K himself and T, another friend of mine in Toronto that I admire and respect for his cooking skills. He is the first male being that is not a chef in northern America that I have ever come across that knew what "shallots" were.

Pringles Salt & Vinegar!

How did he know it's my favorite flavor for chips? And how did he know we don't have the flavor in Japan?

Skippy Crunchy peanut butter!

This, I actually requested from K. We don't have peanut butter in Japan, let alone the crunchy kind. How do they expect me to make my PB&B sandwich (peanut butter & banana) to snack on the way I want it? We do have so-called "peanut butter" but it does not bloody deserve either peanut OR butter in its name if you ask me.

Magnets from Canada!
I requested one from Montreal, actually. I collect magnets from places I visit, and I somehow managed to forget to find one when I went there last summer. K was nice enough to top it with the cute "the Canadian white house" one that I absolutely adore. Both on my fridge door right now.

Chocolate cooking/baking book!

This might be my favorite of all. It's the most perfect gift K and T could have possibly given me because K is a serious chocolate addict, and T is into cooking/baking, AND I love receiving books. I love it next to receiving flowers and handwritten cards. (

T baked a bunch of cookies but we ate it all in Kyoto at the hotel. I should have taken a picture!

Thank you, K and T!

Until next time,