I have learned a lot since I moved to America, and the Five Elements of Macrobiotics were one of the significant lessons that changed my life. I grew up in Japan, where people live seasonally. The four seasons are commonly heard of, but traditionally people have lived by the five seasons of spring, summer, late…
Yuzu Kosho -Japanese Yuzu Seasoning/Condiment
In Japan, there are other citrus fruits besides lemons and limes. Yuzu, Sudachi, Kabosu, and Yuko and more. I love Yuzu because of its unique aroma. I have seen more Yuzu in Asian markets last ten years, but I have yet to see other citrus fruits here.
Lemon has a clearing, pungent flavor and a tangy sourness when you put it in your mouth (Meyer lemon is different). The scent of lime is slightly lighter than lemon, but when harvested before the matured stage, it has a solid tangy acidity, and the character is a light yet fresh and pleasant scent than lemon.
Yuzu has different enjoyment tastes depending on harvested time: when it is still green or yellow ripe. After ripening, the juice has a slightly sweet and refreshing flavor and somewhat neutralized acidity.
After about three years of planting a yuzu tree in my garden, I was excited when it finally produced even one fruit. We used it only zest preciously.
The following year, I harvested a small but a few more fruits. We mixed the zest of green yuzu (green yuzu season from July to August) and the yuzu fruit to make a yuzu paste. It was simple but so flavourful, and we enjoyed it so much. Since I only harvested a few yuzu fruits, we could only make a small amount of yuzu paste, so we used it for hot pot vegetables and salads, and it was gone in no time.
I wished it would be nice to make it more.
A few months later, a friend in Clovis contacted me she had harvested yuzu, more than she could use, so we went to pick them up on the way back from North Fork. She gave me so many Yuzu fruits!
Wow, somebody was listening to my wish; I was grateful.
I suggested making *Yuzu Kosho to Eric this time.
*Yuzu Kosho is a type of Japanese seasoning/condiment.
Kosho means in Japanese “pepper or peppercorn,” so usually white or black pepper. Yuzu Kosho originated in Oita, Kyushu (south island).
Since it is called “kosho” pepper, I thought it would be made with yuzu and white or black pepper, but I found out that in some parts of Kyushu, pepper is an old word that means Japanese chili pepper, not white or black pepper.
I never tasted homemade Yuzu Kosho, and the commercial Yuzu Kosho is usually made with “green yuzu.”
The yuzu fruits I got from my friend were “ripe yellow yuzu,” so I wondered how they came out as Yuzu Kosho.
I heard that ripe yellow yuzu has less bitterness, mild taste, less spiciness, and a sweet aroma, so I was excited even before I made it.
I’m not so good with spices, so I used fewer chili peppers, giving a perfect hint of spicy taste blended with a rich aroma!
Yuzu Kosho Recipe
100g Yellow Yuzu zest
25g Green Chili pepper (Japanese Green Chili is recommended, but we used Jalapeno chili)
25g Sea salt
* These ingredients are what we used – most of the recipes you find they use Yuzu and Chile pepper are the same quantity, and sea salt is one-third of the Yuzu amount. You can adjust how spicy and salty by your preference.
1. Wash yuzu fruits and green pepper with water and dry them with a kitchen towel.
2. With a knife, remove any black spots on the skin and cut yuzu fruits in half. Remove the seeds (Yuzu has so many seeds I used a tiny spoon to pick them out.) Separate yuzu fruit from the skin. Avoid the white pith under the skin’s surface between the peel and the fruit as much as possible. If you use the pith, it will make the yuzu kosho bitter. We scraped the pith with a knife carefully to take the pith as much as we could.
3. Cut yuzu skin.
4. Remove the seeds and stems of green chili peppers, which have a potent stimulant and can irritate the eyes and skin of some people, so be careful if you have sensitive skin (you might want to use kitchen gloves and don’t touch your eyes or mouth when preparing).
5. Place yuzu skins, green chili, and sea salt into a food processor. Smooth over the ingredients. Keep processing until the ingredients become well combined and smooth.
When I did not have a food processor, I used a grater.
I did not need to remove the fruit or pith when I used the grater. After washing and drying out the yuzu, grate the skin surface, but I had to remember not to include pith as much as I could.
I ground the grated yuzu skin first, then finely chopped green chili, and sea salt at last in my Japanese mortar, ceramic Suribachi, and wooden pestle, Surikogi.
It took time for me to make it this way, so if you are going to use a pestle, be ready to have your patience and time.
6. Prepare the jars using as hot water bath canning method to preserve the yuzu kosho.
Yuzu kosho is ready to use for dishes.
I like to keep it in the fridge for at least one week, the spiciness becomes milder, and the flavor is more harmonized.
If you have juice left, you can use it for dressing or dip sauce with miso or tamari or soy sauce for steamed tofu, dumpling, and potsticker. Enjoy!
One of my cats, Tin Tin loves Yuzu aroma so he stayed in the kitchen while we were making.
Love, Sanae ❤️
Vow with the New Year Sunrise
Santa Monica (Southern California) is known that it does not rain much.
There is Albert Hammond’s 1972 hit song “It Never Rains In Southern California” (the Japanese title is “Blue skies of California”)
If you listen carefully to the lyrics in the song, you will hear, “It never rains in California. But girl, don’t they warn ya? It pours, man, it pours.”
This song might have more meaning, but as actual weather here in Southern California, it is true that we get a lot of rain in some winters.
This winter was one of those winters.
It rained a lot in December and all day long on New Year’s Eve.
I was concerned that I might not be able to go see the annual first sunrise, but the rain stopped early in the morning, and when I got up at 5:00 a.m. and went outside, the scent of my favorite petrichor was in the air.
As the pitch-black sky gradually turned indigo blue, my breath slowly exhaled on the mountain path and disappeared like white smoke, becoming one with the outside air.
The intense reddish-orange light dyed the whole horizon in a blink of an eye.
Praising the light was so comfortable, and I noticed I was not breathing.
I focused on moments of being “Alive” with the light; the realization was present without effort, then my natural breath came into my heart.
Suddenly I noticed some clouds and no more indigo blue in the sky.
As if to counteract my fears, the sun showed a golden thread of light on a wavy line, shining orange on the thick clouds over the mountains.
It seemed as if it took longer than usual for the sun to show its face, as it had been raining for a few days, and the sun felt shy.
When the sun finally rose, it did so slowly, gently, and grandly, with a light of joy like I had never seen before.
I couldn’t even speak.
I was so lost in admiration that I forgot to take the video I always take.
There was only gratitude.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, I repeatedly muttered as if I was reciting the Buddha’s prayer.
The sun seemed to be trembling with joy to see us for the first time in a long time after its whole body had risen.
The light became stronger and stronger, and rose higher and higher.
The whole sky was connected to the light.
After I came back home, I was moved again when I looked at the photo of the first sunrise while eating New Year’s Ozouni.
I was happy to see the first sunrise of the new year in such good health once again.
Seeing the New Year sunrise is very personal and connects to my soul.
Even only on New Year’s Day, I wake up really early in the morning, hike up a mountain, and formally say “thank you!” to the sun.
I can let the sun know how much I appreciate it officially.
In the afternoon, a rain started to fall again.
The sun was hesitant to say goodbye but left a promising vibe that we would see each other again.
Yes, we will see each other again!
Until then, I vowed with the first sunrise to practice getting along with the clouds and the rain.
(The weather report said it will rain continuously for at least two days!)
Looking back to 2022. . .
This year is almost over (today is December 30th), and I was eating miso soup with mochi (brown rice cake) for breakfast, looking at the cloudy sky, and thinking about this year.
The weather report says it rains heavily on New Year’s Eve!
Ummmmm…can we go see our annual first sunrise of the year?
The year 2022 was said to be the year of passion in Kyusei Kigaku (Nine Star Ki-a popular system of astrology, often used alongside Feng shui), where I stand in the highest position of “summer” in the south, illuminated by light and gathering everyone’s attention and expectations.
I can see the goal of life in the brightness, my head and feelings are clear, and I can demonstrate the power of my birth star.
Certainly, this year I was able to hold five Bach Flower Remedy classes online for the first time and three seasonal outdoor medicinal herb workshops (selecting medicinal herbs based on the five elements of Yin and Yang, how to make remedies and taste them, how to grow them)at a garden center in my neighborhood. I was also given a lecture on how to make seasonal macrobiotic diets and cooking methods.
In addition, I studied one year course in “Cancer Care Herbology.”
I completed training for an international education instructor who can provide the certificate to students with the Bach Flower Foundation of the UK.
I was thrilled to hear that I was the first Japanese teacher of international education in North America.
I also offered online counseling, and as the covid virus was lowered, the clients could come directly to receive the healing session at my tiny healing studio.
Physically, it’s been 21 years since the terrible accident I had a near-death experience. I was diagnosed by a doctor that I could no longer walk. For the first year, I was bedridden. After that, I was in a wheelchair for three years. I went to physical therapy to try my best to walk. Two years later, I could walk with two canes. Another year later, I could walk without one cane and no more cane inside the house.
This year, for the first time, I was able to walk outside without a cane. I now walk one mile daily and take a short hike once a month without a cane.
The other day, I blurted out, “I want to participate in a marathon on foot oneday!”
I still have a big dream! Who knows, I may run someday!!!
Indeed, I started to see what I wanted and could do, and I began making plans for the first time in a long time.
For example, I love traveling, so going to Paris and Rome with Eric was on my bucket list for a long time. Hiking up to Mt. Fuji in Japan( this is just a dream, but I would love to revisit Mt. Fuji someday.)
In 2017, I was diagnosed with stage IV diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, fast-progressive cancer, with less than one month to live.
It has been a long, challenging recovery process. Six months of EPOCH chemotherapy (Red devil chemotherapy which was 24 hours for five days every three weeks) and macrobiotic cancer healing food helped, so I got remission miraculously after one year without any complications.
While I was sick, I could not do any things at home.
After I got better, I wanted to clean my art room, which my cats share.
It became a storage room, so I felt terrible for them, but I could not have enough strength and mood to do it since clearing the space somehow took so much of my emotional state.
Finally, two days ago, I felt suddenly I was in the mood to move things, clean them up, and organize the room.
I wish you saw my cats’ surprised eyes when they saw the room had lots of space for them to enjoy, haha!
I learned from my challenging life that there is no need to hurry and do what I can. It’s only natural that I have things to worry about, but when worrying things come to mind, I just deal with them like a cloud in the sky. I pay attention a little, so I worry a bit and just say, “See you later.” Why see you later? Because I know it will come back again like clouds in the sky.
So I acknowledge it – worry a little and learn to be happy.
This process has been helping me, so you might try it.
I always wanted to be or live with many people, like a community life.
I’m envious of the people who can live and do with many others together because it looks fun with a big family, but I realized that being with more than a few people is exhausting and losing my energy is too much for me.
The way for me to feel comfortable with my true self is to have creative time alone.
It does not mean I want to live totally alone and isolated. I love living with my dogs, cats, and plants/nature and am lucky to find another human I could live and marry.
So, since 2017, I’ve spent much time alone to heal myself from stage IV diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and my heart is calm even with the coronavirus pandemic from 2020 with my husband, animal family, and a garden full of my plants’ kids.
I admit that I’m moody, and my mood changes a lot. I learned to accept my mood.
It took a long time, but I want to work a little and do a lot of art, gardening, handcrafting, and making artisan foods, which makes little happiness for me.
Yuzu Kosho-ingredients that we used:
100g Yuzu zest
30g Japanese green chile pepper
40g sea salt
I will post a full recipe in New year!
Next year Kyusei Kigaku (Nine Star Ki), I will be in the middle of winter in the north, a year of rest, a year of long-term planning while reflecting.
I want to start and finish writing the next book I’ve always wanted to write.
And just like this year, I will continue to practice living a slow life, walk every day without a cane, have the compassion to notice when I’m tired, take a break, and start the new year with a vow to take care of myself.
I hope you find truthful yourself and have a wonderful New Year!
With gratitude and love,
Homemade Orange Marmalade
My month of September was swept away by Covid.
(I wrote about it on my blog, How I Care for Myself When I Got Sick with “Covid”)
I had a fever for two weeks and could not eat much, but I was craving the comfort food I ate as a child and I had dreams about these foods!
Pancake: my father made it with instant pancake mix only once or twice a year.
Donkey’s Steam bread: When I was a child, it was a popular “donkey bakery” ( a popular bakery that came to town on a donkey-drawn cart and sold various bread).
Orange marmalade: I was not too fond of jam, but I loved orange marmalade with sweet orange skin. Marmalade also sounds something special to me instead of just jam and the golden orange color of the sunshine.
Eric made a flaxseed pancake and a blackberry steamed cake to satisfy the first two. But my craving for orange marmalade still existed, and I thought of it every day.
A few days later, Eric told me the orange tree in my garden had fruits, so maybe we could make it.
I tried to make it a few years ago, but it was not like what I remember. My memory of Orange marmalade was beautiful orange transparent color, and when I tasted it, my mouth got wrapped in orange flavor, and the skin was soft but tasted crispy.
The one I made was a little bitter because I did not separate the white pith, the orange flavor was not fully there, and the skin was not crispy.
I had to think about the recipe differently this time.
Eric has made jam many times, and when I told him how I made my orange marmalade, he said it sounded like making jam, so it was not marmalade. We talked together and made a new recipe.
The new recipe I wanted to try again was more labor and time, so I asked Eric to help me make it.
How did it come out?
Well, Eric is a skillful chef, so his advice helped as we made it, and it came out perfectly!
What did I change?
The main change was to separate the white pith of skin and cook membranes and seed as pectin in cheese clothes.
Here is the recipe if you want to try it.
- 5 pounds Oranges (ripe)
- 4 cups Water
- 3~5 cups organic white Beet sugar (depending on how sweet you want)
1. Gather the ingredients.
2. Wash and dry the oranges. Using a sharp paring knife, remove only the brightly colored zest from the oranges. Please do not remove any white pith directly underneath as much as you can because it is very bitter.
3. Thin match sticks the zest. Set the zest aside.
4. Cut the ends off the zested oranges, and then, working with one orange at a time, cut off the thick white pith from around each orange. Discard the ends and white pith.
5. Hold a fully peeled orange and use a sharp knife to cut out each segment between the membranes that have the sections together.
6. Once you’ve cut out all the fruit, squeeze any juice out of the membranes into the bowl of segmented fruit. Set the membrane aside, along with any seeds (the pectin in these will help “set” the marmalade later).
7. Combine the zest, fruit, juice, water, and sugar in a large, heavy stainless pot and bring it to a boil. Stir just until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring.
8. Meanwhile, lay a double layer of cheesecloth in a medium bowl and put the membranes and seeds on top. Lift the corners and tie the cheesecloth into a bag to hold the membranes and seeds.
9. Meanwhile, bring the marmalade to 220 F simmering (which took us over 2 hours, so be patient). Then once it reaches 220 F, hold it there for 5 minutes. Do not stir.
10. Remove the pectin bag, squeezing any marmalade out and back into the pot, and discard the bag. Take the marmalade off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Set up three clean pint jars or several small jars like we did with sealable lids (if canning, they should be hot and sterilized) next to the pot.
11. Stir the marmalade to distribute the zest evenly in the mixture. Use a ladle or spoon to transfer the marmalade into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of each jar.
12. Put the lids on the jars and refrigerate, or you can proceed with canning.
Enjoy your marmalade!
How I Care for Myself When I Got Sick with “Covid”
Covid came to the world over two years ago, and many people’s guard has been down.
I was cautious with my health since I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s large B-cell lymphoma stage IV and received aggressive chemotherapy “Epoch,” which calls red devil.
Because of Covid, I saw limited people, did not go many places, and only offered classes online and outdoors.
But I got Covid three weeks ago.
I had a high fever, headache, dizziness, cough, and nausea.
The fever took about ten days, but I was too weak for another ten days.
Finally, I am getting better now.
Blood cancer directly affects making antibodies. I had low antibodies to fight Covid because I had lymphoma, one of the blood cancers.
Also, I received aggressive chemotherapy “Epoch,” I have been getting blood tests resulting in low red and white blood cells and low platelets, which has not been issued in everyday life, but not fighting Covid.
I received chemotherapy because I realized holistic medicine and macrobiotic approaches could not stop growing cancer quickly enough. I received Epoch Chemotherapy because the cancer was advanced.
I post some blogs during my treatments. Here is one.
One year after I received the chemotherapy, I got in remission and had been able to live my life comfortably.
The following year will be the five-year mark which is a big goal.
My oncologist Dr. Mead told me that my blood tests showed minor issues: low platelets etc., which have been a little low after Epoch chemotherapy, and she also said it is not an issue for me to worry, so rest when I am tired and keep up what I have been doing to nurture myself.
Dr. Mead does not understand macrobiotics or holistic medicine and modalities, but she has always been supportive and never judged what I practice.
I consult with her if there is concern about what I am doing with my diet, medicinal herbs, or supplements.
I heard that blood cancer, like lymphoma, has no or low antibodies to fight Covid even after vaccinations.
I was extra careful, but unfortunately, my husband got Covid at work on September 3rd, and I got it on September 5th.
He had a fever, nasal mucus, stuffed nose, sore throat, joint pain, and cough, but it improved after five days. I had a fever for about ten days, a cough, headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and joint pain. I could not eat much for two weeks, so I lost weight and became too weak. I could not even speak much, could not write and read.
Even watching TV/Movies were not fun because of headache.
Usually, when I get sick, I write, but I could not even write till now.
The three weeks had been so challenging, discouraging, and lonely.
It was time for me to be my best friend once again.
I acknowledge my feeling sucked, down, discouraged, frustrated, setback, and disappointed.
I noticed that I wanted to blame someone or something.
I was so careful and did not see many people for a long time.
I did not like myself and anybody.
Only what helped me was my cats and dogs, who just lay next to me. They were quiet and looked at me. “Mommy, just rest; we are here with you till you get better!”
When my fever went down after ten days, I could go to the outside garden to see how my trees, plants, and flowers were doing.
They were happy to see me and told me they had been waiting for me.
I planted some of the trees 37 years ago when I moved here.
They looked strong, smiled at me, and said, ” We are here for you like you are here for us!”
I remember when I came back to life after three days of coma when I had a near-death car crash, the first thing I wanted to see was the sky, sun, and trees/plants.
There is power great than me is there with nature.
I appreciate my husband, Eric, for caring about me when I get sick, but this time he got Covid too.
His fever went down for five days, but he did not feel better for at least seven days.
I did my best to care for him for the first two days very carefully before I got sick. But I think I was already exposed to Covid before his symptoms came out.
I found out later he was not wearing his mask at work; I was shocked and upset with him, but I could not tell him.
I was too fatigue to speak. I also did not know what/how to tell him. I know he did not mean to get Covid and gave it to me.
I kept that feeling for two weeks and contacted my therapist. It was good to tell how I was feeling to someone. I also shared my feeling with Cancer Support Community meeting on Zoom.
I was able to share my feeling with my husband. He promised to wear his mask at work no matter what, and now he is also taking a shower when he comes home.
After communicating with my husband, my negative feelings are lifted. I felt much better and could eat more, and I started noticing that I was recovering from Covid.
Today was the first day I felt so much better and had almost no headache, so here I am writing.
Writing always helps me sort out my feelings and release/detox unwanted emotions during a crisis.
I went to my garden and saw birds (doves, hummingbirds, and many little birds), butterflies, caterpillars, spiders, grasshoppers, squirrels, and ants.
I am grateful for recovering from Covid, another health challenge, and for writing my blog.
Here is the list of how I care myself:
- Rest, rest, and sleep
- Cuddle dogs/cats family and communicate with them
- Miso scallion remedy and Daikon ginger for fever
- Tofu plaster and Cabbage leaves for forehead to reduce fever
- Loquat leaves body scrub and cool towel compress
- Lotus root tea for cough
- Echinacea tea
- Lemon, ginger, turmeric, and sea salt remedy
- Elderberry tea
- Mullen, Mashmallow, Astragalus, and Nettle tea
- Foot bath, massage my feet and hands
- Homeopathic medicine
- Acknowledge my feelings, especially not to denial of my negative emotions: sad, lonely, fear of not getting better, overwhelmed, and anger
- Bach Flower remedies
- No socialization to talk to most of people ( I was too fatigued to speak)
- Meditation (mostly laying down)
- Be a best friend to me
- Laydown outside to receive a little Sun Vitamin D
- Talk to my therapist
- Share at self-support group (Cancer Support Community)
- Let my husband know my feelings
- I did not have an appetite, so I ate comfort foods(rice cream with nori tsukudani condiment, pancakes, melon, berries, steamed cake etc.)
- Contact my doctor and took blood tests
- Took supplements of Chlorophyll, Vitamin C, D, and Standard Process of Echinacea Premium, Epimune Complex, and Andrographis Complex
- Stay in my garden to connect with nature
- Walk outside little bit with dogs when I felt I could walk
Late Summer Medicinal Plants Workshop: Support Spleen and Stomach
I started “Medicinal Plants” outdoor workshop at Merrihew’s Sunset Garden in Santa Monica near my house last June!
In the last workshop, I introduced at least five medicinal plants you can grow in your garden, infused tea and taste them.
The link from the last workshop.
This month’s workshop will be this coming Sunday August 28th.
Learn how to make three different herbal infusions.
1. Oil for skin (moisturize)
2. Toner for skin (refresh and hydrate)
3. Tea for supporting stomach/spleen/pancreas (late summer organs in Chinese medicine)
I will introduce at least seven different medicinal plants to support Late Summer Five Elements organs: Spleen, stomach, etc., and how to make organic plant-based skin remedies: infusion oil for moisturizer and infusion toner for refreshing and hydrating skin.
During summertime, our skin receives hot intense sunlight and needs care and nurturing.
Skin is the largest organ and often shows the first signs of your health and inflammation.
The skin may not like vital organs compared to internal organs like the liver, kidney, heart, lungs, or brain. After all, the skin is with us always, and we can see, touch, and feel the skin. In this workshop, I want people to realize how much skin is working hard to protect us, and the skin deserves the best care from us.
Commercial skin care products are so harsh; many have unhealthy ingredients and are not sustainable for the environment.
Even natural skin care products are not the best for our skin. Even if they use organic ingredients to make the products, they have to use activation materials, so the production can be done in a short time, so they sell quickly. And they have to add preservatives to last a long time.
Homemade botanical skincare takes time (6~8 weeks) to make. It needs to be patient to make and let natural power add organically to infusion. Gentle and nourished—one of the best ways to care for and nurture the skin.
Skin organs are autumn: Lung and large intestine, but I recommend starting late summer organs: spleen/pancreas and stomach; that is a more proactive way to take care of the skin.
My favorite herbs to infuse oil and toner for skin care are calendula, lavender, helichrysum, chamomile, rose, and more. In this workshop, I will use calendula to infuse oil and helichrysum to infuse toner.
I will also introduce six different ingredients to make blending medicinal tea for late summer.
These are ingredients and their actions (REFERENCES from Five Elements with Western Herbs- Kate August at California School of Herbal Studies)
Sunday, August 28th, 3~4:30pm
1526 Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405
– outside classroom next to the chicken coop
Here is the link to join the workshop.
This workshop medicinal plants energies and actions:
1. Bee Balm –
Energetics: aromatic, acrid, bitter, warm
Meridians/Organs: spleen, stomach, urinary bladder
Herbal Actions: diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic
Energetics: sweet, neutral- often used as a harmonizing herb
Meridians/ Organs: heart, lung, spleen, stomach – enters all 12 channels
Part used: the root
Herbal Actions: qi tonic, expectorant, demulcent, mild sedative
3. Tangerine Peel –
Energetics: acrid, bitter, warm, aromatic
Meridians/ Organs: Lung, Spleen, Stomach
Herbal Actions: carminative, aromatic, expectorant, tonic
4. Fennel Seed-
Warm the Interior- expel Cold
Energetics: spicy, sweet, warm
Meridians/ Organs: spleen, stomach, liver, kidney
Actions: stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, expectorant
Warm Acrid Release Exterior
Energetics: Spicy, hot
Meridians/ organs: heart, lung, spleen, stomach, kidney
Herbal Actions: stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue, diaphoretic
Energetics: acrid, warm, aromatic
Meridians/ Organs: Lung, Spleen, Stomach
Herbal Actions: carminative, expectorant
Here is the link to join the workshop.
Love, Sanae ❤️