All posts tagged Japanese Lifestyle

Continued from the previous post

Be sure to have friends you can trust.  Have many hobbies that you like.  Enjoy and fulfill the common activities with your friends.  Lastly, do not hesitate to spend your money.  It is so sad to say but Japanese people are not good at volunteer activities.  If you are being stingy and try to save too much money, that money would rotten and destroy your mind or your family’s.  That negative power coming out of the rotten money can change you into a different personality who cannot live in a creative fun life.  Rich people in the old times were so called “the local benefactor” who willingly took care of many young poor students at their own homes and sent them to higher education forecasting them to be the next leaders in their home communities.  They had high sense of culturalism and the dignity of keeping faith.  Contrary, rich people in recent times have no purposes but to double up what they have.  Those people live in the Asura realm and are not attractive at all.   Such people may become really rich once, but soon or later will fall straight down to hell.

In western countries, children are naturally accustomed to volunteer activities.  This is one positive aspect of Christianity-related society.  Local volunteers would cook bean soup or tacos and offer to poor people in many Catholic churches in San Diego along the border of Mexico on a certain day every week.  In some parts of the world, this is a usual scene happening in a normal daily life while in Japanese schools tend to center solely around entrance examinations and students stay in a very narrow-minded environment.  Children who come out of there may avoid eye contacts when they take a glance at some poor-looking people because they cannot establish a normal, decent communication with others.  Each of us is lonely because this is a competition-based society.  We get stressed out easily and bullying the weak spreads out instantly.

In the story of Mr. Ohmae, he stated that each of us should have 20 different hobbies, but I think that’s too much.  It sounds like him as being an ADHD-type hard worker.  Go to hot spring inn with friends cheerfully instead of going alone.  Get some fresh fish at a local market and get down to the nearby camp site with a portable BBQ set.  The point is how much fun experiences you have accumulated since your childhood.
What you have experienced when you were kids can bring you back a bigger power in you senior ages.  Those who happen to lack such power will have to live in a fearful, anxious and mistrustful life by being exposed to the endless negative information coming from TV.  What I’m trying to say here is that we need to be aware that our mind impacts on our life, especially the latter half of our entire life.  90% of the tabloid shows distribute negative information.  People who are possessed with the idea that they will be broken into by a burglar will get broken into.  Life is fun and people around me are all nice.  My family is tied in a good relationship.  If you can believe so, that’s the reality you can attain.

This is where the law of attraction applies.  In the same sense that we are drawing in everything, it seems as we are living in the same realm but in fact it’s not the other world; rather we should consider that we’ve been living between heaven, Asura realm, competitive hell or other realms.  If we stay happy keeping smiles and feeling grateful, nothing bad should happen to us until we die.

It is natural that we reduce in strength, vigor and motor abilities as we age, but if we can override those negative aspects by humor and wisdom to get accustomed to a new life, that’s good enough.  This is my creed.

Playing tennis together as a family.  Climbing is the family hobby.  Skiing and playing music together and participating in Phil harmony.  Besides, never fail to recognize the loss in the wars and offer earnest prayers.  The Emperor and Empress have shown me the most ideal way of life.  I believe that we should be proud and blessed with such wonderful examples.

Getting 50-year-old kimono altered for daughters to wear at their wedding or keeping the 40-year-old baby buggy in good shape for a revival in children’s generations… things like those teach us that good life is not costly at all.

Blow off anxieties about post-retirement years and economic slump… written by Kenichi Ohmae

 Personal financial assets of people in their golden ages in Japan are said to exceed 1700 trillion yen, and most of which are of those who are over 60 years old.  However, the reality is that they cannot spend their own saving for a freewheeling life because they are worried too much about what could happen to them in the later years such as illness, injury or aging related issues like nursing cares and getting into nursing homes.  Even the NHK, Japanese national public broadcasting organization has picked out the increasing rates of solitary deaths and “Karyu-Roujin,” (a recently created slang term indicating the elderlies whose living is equivalent to the borderline of welfare), most typical Japanese citizens become antsier.

 About a decade ago, bank account of senior generation was believed to sum up to 1300 trillion yen but expected to decrease as “dankai generation” (the baby boomers) retires and starts to withdraw such savings.  But media has sensationalized and urged the public to prepare for the worst scenario by keeping their savings for rainy days.  What I see behind this sensationalism is that not many elderly in over 70s are likely to spend happy, merrily, brisk life.  Those who are able to do so may be limited to those who have lived and known lifestyles in overseas.  Others, unfortunately, seemed to have been taught only to save money but not how to spend.  That is why there are some married couples who instantly decide to go on a cruise trip paying 10 million yen, not knowing they would argue all the time and usually men would end up in staying in a large common room.  This is not funny but happening in reality.  The fact is that we need long term trainings to acquire tips how to spend money for ourselves, our family and to amuse people around us.  Just having a lot of money would not enable us to spend it wisely.  (This point is mentioned in Mr. Ohmae’s book.)

How about having fun at the Bridge Pot Luck Party, which is sort of music concert and birthday celebration at the same time.  Home parties are not very common in Japan.  It is so sad that Japanese do not hold inexpensive BBQ parties that ask participants just to show up and pay 1000 yen per person.  Exceptionally in Okinawa where BBQ parties are popular and actively taken place, people tend to spend happier life than those in mainland Japan.

 There are some old rich people who don’t trust people.  One of my friends has a pity, old but rich family member who pays big bills to his family for preparing and carrying every meal in the morning, afternoon and evening.  The old man would roam around the neighborhood when she has to look for him for hours.  I suggest that she find a luxury nursing home for him, but she prefers to take care of him at home for the sake of 30 thousand yen per day.

 This is so miserable but Japanese way of thinking.  The latter half of our life goes along as we image.  If we have a happy life with many friends, we can go on a trip with them, enjoy dancing, singing, drawing paints, showing photos each other at parties, and so on.  Those who can organize their life with fun events can stay being happy until the moment they die.  Such people are filled with love as they age and they would not have any troubles.

 One of my neighbor said, “I’m going to have myself checked up at a hospital,” and he did but then died of a terminal cancer within a week.  He had a good life.  His wife and he had a good relationship and went out for bowling together three times a week.  Their scores were always over 200 on the average.  They grow vegetables on the roof garden even in a metropolitan, Tokyo.  He was the president of a small local factory.

 Meanwhile, those who do not trust anyone even their own family and who believe all that matters is money, (as depicted in the latest publication of Mr. Fukushima) may end up in getting robbed 15 million yen because money is all they care.  People based on inhuman, money-minded can build up relationships that would break up in arguments at the end.  This stays even after the marriage which ties a couple only with money.  What a pity, hellish post-retirement life they have with a malicious relationship!  The elderly should consider two extremes heaven or hell, but not normal in between.

Alcohol, skin beauty, and you


There have been a lot of articles in the news recently about alcohol and its health benefits (or not). Here’s an article that offers a pretty comprehensive overview, with an Asian twist.

Discover how alcohol can be used to achieve beautiful skin.

Is red wine really good for your skin?

Red wine is known not only for its benefits to the skin, but also in preventing heart diseases. This is due to the polyphenol contained in red wine.

Polyphenol is an antioxidant which reduces large amounts of active oxygen from being produced in the body. The process of antioxidation prevents the skin from ageing and increases its resistance to it.

Red wine is high in polyphenols such as anthocyanin, tannin, catechin, and resveratrol. When the skins and seeds of grapes are crushed together and fermented, it produces a greater antioxidation effect than white wine.

Furthermore, apart from polyphenol, red wine is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is packed with many nutrients which are beneficial to the skin. Red wine also includes Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) which is used for exfoliating, so if you add red wine to your bath, it can help to remove dead skin cells.

Is Japanese sake in your bath good for your skin?

Adding Japanese sake to your bath is also good for your skin as it improves blood circulation, promotes metabolism, moisturizes the skin, and warms the body. This is due to the amino acids present in Japanese sake. In addition, Japanese sake also contains andenosine, a type of nucleic acid, which helps the body to stay warmer for longer.

The rice malt in the culture of fermentation liquor used in the brewing of Japanese sake contains kojic acid which helps to activate cells. Furthermore, it is effective in anti-ageing as it is high in ferulic acid which is antioxidizing.

Makkoli (Korean rice wine) is also good for constipation!

(Fixing constipation, that is .ed) Makkoli is full of properties which is good for the skin, such as protein and vitamin B. It also contains various acids such as lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid which prevents wrinkles and freckles and protects the skin from drying out.

As makkoli is also full of lactobacillus, it improves the condition of the intestines and relieves constipation. It is also rich in dietary fibre. One of the reasons for rough, dry skin is caused by constipation, so if you are able to overcome this, you can be one step closer to clearer skin.

A downside of alcohol for the skin.

Alcohol can be bad for the skin if not consumed moderately. It contains a property called ethanol which when broken down, produces acetaldehyde, a substance which damages the DNA in the skin cells, leading to disruptions in the skin’s metabolism.

In addition, excessive use of alcohol can hinder the functions of vitamin C and E from working in the body, where alcohol consumption can even destroy vitamin B1. As such, alcohol can result in the loss of irreplaceable nutrients essential for beautiful skin.

Not only that, drinking at parties and so on means sleeping late, and a lack of sleep can also be bad for the skin. This can easily lead to skin problems such as pimples.

Alcohol improves blood circulation, and depending on the type of alcohol, contains lots of properties beneficial to the skin. Therefore, in order to for the skin to absorb these nutrients and reap the benefits, it is important to not drink excessively.

Tips on how to not drink too much.

Moderate consumption of alcohol is the best for healthy skin and body. Even so, trying to limit the amount of alcohol can lead to stress, which is bad for the skin. To regulate the amount of alcohol consumption without going overboard, try to keep the following in mind.

Avoid drinking cold alcoholic drinks as it will not only cool your body but you will end up drinking more. Before drinking alcohol, drink water. If you mix drinks, you will end up drinking more. Therefore, try to enjoy drinking alcohol that is good for your skin, and decide beforehand how much and for how long you will drink for, so that you don’t keep on drinking continuously.

Original Article (Japanese)

Japanese matcha has health benefits


From Green tea benefits include:

High ORAC value
Oxygen radical absorbence capacity or ORAC is a method of measuring antioxidant capabilities. The ORAC value of matcha tea is one of the highest in the super-food realm, at about 1348 units per gram (or serving).
One of the antioxidants that matcha is especially high in is Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Matcha has up to 137 times the amount of EGCG as other infused green teas. This particular antioxidant has shown promising results in helping fight against HIV, cancer and many other disorders and diseases.
EGCG potential HIV-1 therapy: A study demonstrated that EGCG had an anti-HIV-1 effect by preventing the binding of HIV-1 glycoprotein to T cells. This effect holds promise for its use in HIV therapies.
EGCG and cancer: EGCG holds promise for preventing or treating cancer as well. For example, some studies found that fewer at-risk individuals got cancer when they took EGCG daily.
EGCG may help with bad breath: It is also associated with suppressing oral pathogens, which could be helpful in treating halitosis (bad breath). Your bad breath may be only a cup of tea away from being gone!
Matcha a good source of L-theanine
Matcha is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. One small study found that it had an anti-stress effect. Another found that it has a relaxing effect without causing drowsiness. This may be partly because theanine is involved in the formation of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which influences the level dopamine and serotonin.
May help with fat loss
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that matcha helped with metabolism rate, which holds promise for faster fat loss.
Read the entire article HERE.
photo by flickr user steenburgs

Delicous soba recipe

Like sushi, ninjas, and kaiju (big monsters), soba is another wonderful export from Japan to the world. So many ways to eat it.

Green Tea Soba With Edamame & Vegetables

Serves 3-4

This is one of those dishes with endless permutations. It works with whatever vegetables you happen to have lying around. You can grind the dried tomato in a blender or an electric coffee grinder, or substitute tomato paste. Green tea soba is available in most Asian markets and many well-stocked supermarkets.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup cooked edamame
1 cup thinly sliced cauliflower florets
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers (multicolors are nice), about 4 ounces
1/2 cup roughly chopped shallots, about 2-3 large
1 tablespoon ground dried tomato or tomato paste
6 ounces (or so) green tea soba (cha soba, or matcha soba)
— Sea salt and freshly ground black peppercorns
1/4 cup (or more if you like) chopped pickled ginger
— Drizzle of apple (or other) vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons roughly chopped Thai basil or other herb

Read more:

10 Reasons Why Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat – Part II


6) Rice Is The Main

Different from the West, Japan’s main food is rice.
Rice is low calorie and chewy, which means that you feel full

7) Excellent Breakfasts

The traditional Japanese breakfast includes miso soup, eggs, fish,
and a variety of sea vegetables all packed with nutrients to get you up and out the door.

8) Desserts Are Small

Different from the large portions of the traditional western dessert,
desserts in Japan tend to stay on the small side. Smaller amount =
less calories.

9) Abundant Types of Food

Japanese see their food not as something that just replenishes nutrients,
but also as an experience. Wider variety of foods means a greater supply
of nutrients.

10) Japanese Culture Is More Active

Exercise is an essential part of the Japanese culture. A great many people
enjoy cycling, walking, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

phot by flickr user mrhayata