Japan Spring 2023 Diary Day 2 Chiba to Tokyo

On the first night of my spring trip to Japan, I fell asleep to the chorus of frogs, and on the second day, I woke up early to the sound of rain.
The spring rain did not seem to stop.

Eric and I were supposed to go hiking in Ubara Utopia with Deco-chan, Yamabushi (the thirteenth generation of the 400-year-old temple lodging “Daishobo” in the Temukai area at the foot of the three mountains of Dewa), and his students; of course, no more hiking.
After breakfast, Deco invited us to a local sound bowl healer session with Mr. Hoshino Sentatsu Yamabushi and his students.

 

I forgot to tell Eric we were going to Singing Bowls Healing.
It was all in Japanese, and maybe Eric was new to Sound Bowls Healing, so I wondered how he felt.

 

After the session, all the participants shared their impressions individually, and Eric said, “The sound was soothing and connected to his heart.” What a perfect answer.
I am amazed at him once again.
I remember when he went on ten-day of Vipassana meditation; even though he first did not want to go, he came back home and said that it was challenging to sit for so many hours every day for ten days, but it was a meaningful experience to him.
Eric loves sports and is physically active, but he is not just a physical person, and still amazes me.

After the Singing Bowls Healing session, fortunate to see a tiny part of the healing work by Mr. Hoshino Sentatsu Yamabushi.

One of the joys of traveling is not knowing what to expect.

Deco took us to a bakery with a firewood kiln,” Acoustic,” open only on weekends.
There were delicious-looking bread and baked goods lined up in a cute shop.

I wanted to eat them right away when I saw them, but I bought them for a snack for a train ride later that day.
Took a photo with the baker, his wife, and son.

 

We shopped at Brown’s Field Rice Terrace Cafe, their new Brown Rice pasta, etc. We love pasta and can’t wait to try it when we get back to Santa Monica!

We ate the lunch box that we were supposed to eat on the hike while having a last fun chat with Deco-chan.
It was a short stay, but visiting Brown’s Field gave us strength and hope to come back there again.

 

Took the JR Sotobo Line Wakashio to Tokyo Station. While riding the train, I ate “Acoustic,” a cardamon roll. It was so delicious each chewed.

 

At Tokyo Station, one of Japan’s leading terminal stations, about 3,000 trains arrive and depart daily, and 400,000 people pass through the Monster station.
When we transferred to the Chuo Line, the crowds were so dizzying that I felt that I couldn’t breathe.
I had an aunt in Tokyo, and I often visited her from my parents’ house in Nagoya as a teenager. I enjoyed the visit but thought I couldn’t live in Tokyo because of too many people. The feeling got more certain.

Arriving in Shinjuku, in the rain, we went to the green Italian restaurant “Torcia” 
in the Isetan department store to meet some macrobiotic teachers and activists.

Trucha is a restaurant I went to twice when it was a Chayama Macrobiotics.
About a year and a half ago, Torcha opened as a vegan-friendly Italian restaurant where you can casually enjoy a vegan menu. The atmosphere mostly stayed the same, but everything has changed to Italian, and not only is it vegan, but the menu is abundant.

There were 7 of us, so we ordered all of the vegan menu items and tasted them. My favorites were and Strawberry Mont Blanc. It felt like 12 courses tasting menu!

 

 

 

 

I was a little nervous at first meeting everyone because there were some people I never met before, but everyone was so warm and kind. They belong to the Japanese Macrobiotic Society “Wa no Kai“: Minaka Nagai, Yuko Sakurai, Miyumi Chiba, Shugo Nanabayashi, and Nana Arisawa.


We had a good connecting time.
I was filled with gratitude for meeting them.

I felt that it would be great if we could keep in touch with everyone and hold Eric and my workshops and talks in Japan someday.

I had a good time chatting with them and felt sad to say goodbye, but after saying goodbye to everyone, Eric and I headed to Setagaya, our accommodation in Tokyo, and boarded the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station.


I have known my friend in Setagaya since I was at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.
Ringo-chan (a beagle dog) welcomed us there, and I gave her dog cookies, shampoo, etc.

 

 

After a long walk, I massaged my swollen feet in the bath and fell asleep with the excitement of connections of Japanese macrobiotics people on the second night.

❤️Sanae

Japan Spring 2023 Diary Day 1 Chiba

Eric and I attended my niece’s wedding in Japan. We took this opportunity to enjoy our trip to Japan.

I share it as Japan Spring 2023 diary.

Day 1:

Eric and I arrived at Haneda Airport, Tokyo, at 4:30 am.

The flight was smooth, and the vegan meals I ordered were pretty decent, so I ate them with my brown rice onigiri.

I usually have difficulty sleeping in an airplane, so I watched two movies and started to knit my new sweater. 

We left LAX around 1 am and 11 hours and a half later, still dark outside when we arrived in Tokyo. It was a wired feeling to have the darkness for a long time, and it did not make sense to my head, but the excitement of being in Japan for the first time in four years blew away the confusion.

I was supposed to be in Japan for my niece’s wedding two years ago, but because of the Pandemic, we had to wait for two years. The long waiting gave me more excitement.

I have been using a wheelchair in the airport to rest my legs since I injured my legs from a severe car crash in 2001.  I was surprised to see a wooden wheelchair arrive for me to use. I have heard that Japan Airlines (JAL) has developed a wooden wheelchair for smooth movement within airport facilities. 

You can pass through the security checkpoint while using a wooden wheelchair. I have seen it on the NHK World News program (NHK is a Japanese public broadcaster offering local, national, and world news reports in English), but it was for the first time I used it.

I liked riding the wooden wheelchair because I felt that it was soft and connected to my body. Also, the person who assisted the wheelchair was polite, and she pushed it gently and slowly for me. I sure felt that I was in Japan.

 

Itsuko-san, who I met on the FB talk page “Body Joy” (she and Masayo are organizing the talk), was attending my class and kindly offered to pick us up at the airport. I felt this was a gift from heaven.

We did not know each other much, and it was our first meeting, but we felt we had known each other for a long time. We were talking and talking so much about Flower Remedy, Animal Communication, and more.

Eric suddenly said, “Are we going to under the water”?

Yes, we were passing Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, a rare road between the seabed and the sea. It is a toll road with a length of about 15.1 km(9.4 miles). About 10 km(6.2 miles) undersea tunnel “Aqua Tunnel” on the Kawasaki side and about 4.4 km(2.7 miles) bridge “Aqua Bridge” on the Kisarazu side. Eric got so excited for the first time going under the water/bay road.

We all felt the ride was fast after Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line went through the countryside.

 

We arrived at Brown’s Field, welcomed by our long-time friend, Deco Nakajima, who has operated her organic rice field for 20 years.

We had breakfast and visited Matinee (Deco’s daughter) ‘s first baby.  The baby, Sui, was so precious. 

I have helped 45 puppies to be born and raised, so I have no problem holding puppies but holding a human newborn was scary for me. I could not have a baby because I had ovarian cancer.

It was a breathtaking moment!

We had Deco’s delicious homemade “Cherry Azuki beans steamed bread” there. So beautiful to see pickled Cherry Blossoms.

 

Then we went to the Kujyuu Kurihama beach, where Eric planned to Foil surf with a local Foil surfer, Jun Adegawa, who owns a surf shop, “Ted.” 

The powerful windy day for foil surfing.

I heard about the Kujyuu Kurihama beach a long time ago as a child.  Most of the beach in Japan does not have long white sand beaches like here in Santa Monica, so when I heard that Kujyuu Kurihama has 41 miles of long white sand beach, I wanted to go there someday. It was like a dream that I was there now.

Eric started to Foil Surfing almost right away.

Itsuko, her dog, Chacha Maru, and I also enjoyed the beach with the wind. It was Chacha Maru’s first time on the beach, and he had so much fun.

Eric stayed at the beach for Foil Surfing, I returned to Brown’s Felid with Itusko, had lunch at the Rice Terrace Cafe, and prepared for my Spring Flower Remedy and Medicinal Tea with Macrobiotic class.

While I was having lunch, Eric met other local Foil surfers and kept surfing for over 3.5 hours. He was supposed to finish his Foil Surfing in two hours and return to Brown’s Felid to eat lunch and help me with my class, but he must enjoy surfing so much!

I could not believe Eric could Foil Surfing for so long the day we arrived in Japan. I was so impressed by Eric, who was full of stamina. 

When he returned to Brown’s Field, he was so excited that how much fun he had with local surfers and met Jun’s family.

 

Eric also thanked me for giving him the brown rice ball I made in Santa Monica before I left the beach. He was, of course, still very hungry. I was glad that I did not eat my lunch everything so I could give him.

 

My class went very well with the help of the students. I did not teach in Japan for a long time, so I was concerned about how I teach; I carefully prepared in Santa Monica, bringing pressed medicinal plant leaves and three blended medicinal plants teas I made, etc. 

I enjoyed it a lot. 

Participants were all to learn enthusiastically and asked questions mannerly and politely. This class was also successful because of the help of Keiko-san, who took my online Flower Remedy classes last year. She is a foot massage therapist and gave me a foot massage after the class. Her strength showed how she massaged my foot; it was a special treat.

 

 

All the Brown’s Field staff and volunteers made the delicious dinner with Deco. Our favorite was bamboo balls with Kuzu sauce and Ume Shio condiment. It was heart-warming to spend time with a long-time friend, Deco-chan, and a new friend, Itsuko-san, with people at Brown’s Field.

At night, when I was lying on a comfortable futon, I heard a chorus of frogs, and I went out and sat down around 3 am.


The sky was cloudy and unfortunately I could not see any stars and the rice fields were pitch black as if my eyes were closed.


Only the sound of frogs put my mind at rest.
It was my first day of Spring 2023 in Japan.

❤️Sanae

Spring is Pickles Time!  

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 summer, autumn, and winter, so it made sense to me.

It also reminded me of the *”seasonal hand-work” that my grandmother and mother used to do when I was little. *”seasonal hand-work” means making something with your hands each season.

I started to follow the seasonal rituals of Japanese tradition much later as I began to appreciate nature and season changes, even while living in Santa Monica in Southern California, where the five seasons are not as apparent. 

Winter is not harsh here, but I noticed the contractions and tightness of the energy of the air and my own body so I appreciated the vegetables and fruits that grow in the winter.

Seasonal hand-work in January is making apple jam and citrus marmalade (usually mandarin). However, this year I made yuzu marmalade with my husband for the first time, and it came out very delicious. ), I also made kumquat syrup for sore throats. 

February is miso-making. I make barley miso and rice miso in small amounts, and I feel the new year is here.

Then, spring suddenly emerges in Santa Monica and pushes winter out every year. 

In spring the energy rises up, and the taste of sourness supports liver and gallbladder functions by the Five Elements.

I prepare my nuka doko (brown rice bran pickles bed/base)for nuka pickles: start roasting the new brown rice bran and adding it to the old nuka doko to prepare my nuka pickles for March.

I like daikon radish nuka pickles and kabu) (Japanese turnipbefore the weather gets warmer. Once the weather gets warmer, I like cucumber nuka pickles. Another one is asazuke pickles (shorter-time pickles that taste more salad-like lightly pickled pickles).

In Japan, pickles (tsukemono) have been one of the staple foods, along with rice and miso soup, for a long time.

There were almost always pickles in each meal. I was not too fond of traditional Japanese pickles when I was younger because they smelled funny and were too salty and too sour. I only ate koji pickle, which had a sweet taste.

My mother always said, “Oh, you did not touch your pickles…finish your pickles. It is good for you!” She also often said, “Don’t worry you will like pickles when you grow up.”

She never told me why pickles were good for me and how much I had to grow before I like them, and I did not bother to ask.  

When I came to America to study English, still, I didn’t like any of the American pickles, but I tried relish pickles, and I liked them because they were sweet.

When I studied Macrobiotics in 1993 for the first time, I found that pickles are essential to our meals. The processing of pickling allowed for the preservation of foods throughout history, and pickles are a staple food in various regions worldwide. Fermented pickles promote lactic acid bacteria, which help our digestion, strengthen intestines, assimilate food, and fight diseases. They provide the health benefits of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and increase appetite. 

I have been loving all kinds of pickles since I have “grown up” enough to understand the benefits. I have been making homemade pickles, traditional Japanese pickles: umeboshi plum (you can see my blog for the recipe https://sanaesuzuki.com/2021/05/29/santa-monica-homemade-umeboshi-plums/), nuka pickles, and nontraditional pickles called asazuke (short-time pickling), like pressed salad in Macrobiotic recipes.

I had read in Japanese historical literature that pickles started in the Nara era (710~794) as preserved food with salt. It showed that vegetables such as eggplants and melons, as well as fruits such as peaches, were pickled in salt, mainly for temple monks as side dishes.  

In the Heian era (794~ 1191), pickles were introduced as side dishes: bracken, butterbur, and melons were pickled in salt in the spring. Eggplants, persimmons, and pears were pickled in salt, miso, moromi (raw unrefined sake or soy sauce mash), and sake kasu (sake lees) in the fall. 

In the Kamakura era (1180~1336) to the Muromachi era (1336~1537), because of the development of tea ceremonies and use of monkō (incense), people began to eat pickles more and more, and they learned not only to sense the taste and aroma with their senses of taste and smell, but to enjoy the atmosphere and aroma of the place with their heart. It can be said that this is related mainly to the fact that Japanese people enjoy a delicate and subtle sense of taste and smell. Pickles have the effect of renewing the sense of taste and smell, so they were served in tea ceremonies.  

In the Edo era(1600~1868), the variety of vegetables increased, and many merchants from all over the country began to gather in Edo. As a result, different methods of making pickles were devised. Until then, foods were pickled for storage purposes, but research began to allow foods to be pickled for a short time for consumption more readily.

The emergence of nukazuke has had a major impact on household pickle-making. In times like this, when food shortages and conservation of the environment are of great concern, reusable rice bran beds are critical. 

In the Meiji era(18681912), farmers in the suburbs of Tokyo and other urban areas started making takuan-zuke and narazuke (variety of Japanese pickles) as side businesses. 

In the Taisho (19121926)and Showa (1926~1989) eras, the pickle manufacturing industry started to boom.

Over the years, there have been an amazing variety of pickles that have been made in Japan, and I am not kidding.

I heard there are currently over 1,200 pickle companies in Japan, and they make at least five~ten different kinds, so you can imagine how many pickles are made all the time besides local homemade ones, which each family has prepares with various recipes. 

Most commercial pickles use instant seasoning MSG, non-natural salt, and sugar to numb consumers’ tongues and create false flavors. Making homemade pickles using quality natural ingredients is safer for our health and improves taste. 

These are the nine pickles that are the main varieties in Japan today:

1. Salt pickles (shio zuke)

  • Simplest and most common types of pickles.

2. Rice Bran (nuka zuke

  • Household pickles are fermented in a mixture of roasted rice bran (the hard outer skin of the rice that is removed when polishing the rice grain), salt, kombu, and other ingredients. 

3. Sake Lees (kasu zuke

  • Pickles are preserved in a mixture of sake lees (the yeast mash that is left over after filtering sake), salt, sugar, and sweet cooking wine (mirin).

4. Vinegar (su zuke

  • Pickles brined in vinegar are known as Su zuke. Rice vinegar is commonly used as the pickling agent and lends a crunchy texture and sweet and sour flavor to the resulting pickles.

5. Miso (miso zuke)

  • Pickles are made by covering vegetables in miso, a fermented soybean paste.

6. Soy Sauce (shoyu zuke)

  • Pickles are preserved in a soy sauce base.

7. Koji pickles (koji zuke)

  • vegetables, fish, other meat, etc., are pickled in base (toko/doko), which is made by mixing koji with sugar and salt.

8. Mustard (karashi zuke)

  • Pickled in mustard mixed with sake and rice malt after being pickled in salt.

9. Lightly pickled (asa zuke)

  • Pickled with seasoning for a short time. You can easily make it using various vegetables such as napa cabbage, radishes, and cucumber.

 

I want to share Japanese pickles recipes that I have been making for spring. 

Nuka Pickle ((Brown Rice Bran Pickles) edited from Love, Sanae cookbook

It is my favorite pickle in spring-sour, salty, and pleasantly pungent taste with a satisfyingly crunchy texture and refreshing flavor.

For the nuka bed:

1 pound nuka (brown rice bran)

2 cups purified water

2 to 4 tablespoons sea salt

2-inch square piece of kombu kelp (5cm)

one cup “starter” vegetables (carrots, cabbage, daikon, etc.), coarsely chopped

To make the nuka bed:

1. The first batch of nuka doko is very important in making nuka pickles. In a large skillet over medium-high flame., dry roast the bran (nuka) until the color changes slightly and the smell of bran intensifies. When evenly roasted, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.

2. In a small saucepan, boil the water. Add the sea salt and stir to combine. Add kombu, turn off the heat and let it cool.

3. Transfer cooled-off nuka to a ceramic crock, wooden barrel or enamel container. Add the kombu water mixture. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients to form the nuka doko, or basis of the brown rice bran pickle bed.

4. Add chopped starter vegetables (dry them with a kitchen towel to take moisture out) which help to stimulate the fermentation process. Cover the crock with a clean cotton cloth and allow it to sit overnight.

5. Mix the nuka by hand once daily for the next 3 to 5 days. After this time, remove and discard the starter vegetables (I put them in the compost). The nuka doko is ready to make your delicious pickles.

6. Make sure vegetables (dry them with a kitchen towel to take moisture out) are ready to eat in a day, a couple of days to one week, depending on the kind of vegetables. Root vegetables and bigger sized vegetables take longer, and leafy vegetables and smaller sized vegetables take a shorter time.—For example, carrot- 2~3 days, red radish- 1 day, and small whole cucumber- 1 day.

7. Once you add vegetables, leave the crock in a cool dark area and mix vegetables daily. 

If you cannot mix them daily, you can leave them in the refrigerator for a few days to a week. If you have kept it too long, the vegetables get more sour and salty, so make sure you rinse them with water.

If you are going out of town for a while, keep nuka in the refrigerator without vegetables. You can usually use the nuka bed to re-start making nuka pickles by adding a new roasted nuka to the old nuka bed to refresh.

 

Asazuke Napa Cabbage Pickle

Popular pickle with a refreshing taste for someone who loves crispy and light vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 500 g napa cabbage (about half of whole)
  • 80 g red radish (option)
  • 20 g carrots (option)

Seasonings

  • 10~20g sea salt 2~4% of the total weight of the vegetables
  • 1 sheet kombu kelp 5cmx8cm/2”x 3.2″(Approximately 0.5 to 1% of the weight of the vegetables)
  • 5 g ginger root shredded (optional)
  • 2~4 dried red chili pepper without seeds sliced into rings to taste (optional)
  • water (1/3 of the container)
  • weight – Approximately 1.5 ~ 2 x of the weight of the vegetables

1. Gather all the ingredients.

2. *Cut napa cabbage: Make an incision about 5 cm (2 “) deep from the base of the napa cabbage and tear it into two pieces. It will make them not come apart. Furthermore, insert a kitchen knife in the same way, tear it apart, and divide it into four pieces. If the nap cabbage is large, you can split it into 6 to 8 pieces.

3. Add water to about 1/3 of the capacity of the pickle’s container and add salt to dissolve.

4. Arrange the cabbage in the same direction. If you need to layer the second ones, put half the salt on the first layer and sprinkle red chili pepper and kombu. Place the remaining napa cabbage in the opposite direction, place them in the second row, and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Press it firmly with your palm while applying it, which helps water rise easily.

5. Put a drop lid on it and use weight (I use big river rocks) to press. 

Cover with a thin cotton cloth and leave it for 12 ~ 24 hours (in colder times, leave it for 24~48 hours)

6. When you’re ready to eat, take out just the portion you’re going to eat, squeeze out the juice, rinse with water and squeeze it again.

7. Cut into bite-sized pieces before serving, and add **condiments if you like.

Note: 

  • Cut napa cabbage: if you want the cabbage to pickle faster, cut it into small pieces, but you may lose the crispiness.
  • * Condiments: If you like, add roasted sesame seeds and citrus juice, such as yuzu or lemon or zest, and grated ginger to make it even more delicious!

 

Soy Beans Sprout Quick Pressed Salad Style Pickle

It is not like your usual pickles – My mother made this more to my liking, crispy like a salad and less salty, so I could enjoy it as a child, and I still love it as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of soybean sprouts, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1~2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1~2 garlic clove, minced (option for people who eat meat/fish)
  1. Place soybean sprouts in a pot. Add the salt and ½ cup of water and cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Put the cooked soybean sprouts in a mixing bowl. Add green onion, sesame seeds, and toasted sesame oil and mix well by hand.
  3. Put a lightweight plate as a lid over it to press for one hour. 
  4. Transfer to a serving plate.
  5. Serve as a side dish to rice.

My pickles class on March 5th.

Enjoy your spring pickles!

Love, Sanae❤️

I wrote this article for “Macrobiotic Today” March 15th, 2023 Issue.

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Nine Star Ki, Bach Flower and Medicinal Tea Class

Setsubun ((節分) is February 3, the day before the beginning of spring/the new year in the old calendar in Japan is over, and Nine Star Ki’s new year has started. (it starts the day after Setsubun).

This year’s my first class was held last weekend. 

I taught Nine Star Ki, Bach Flowers, and Medicinal Tea (support winter organs, kidneys, and bladders).

See what kind of year you will be in 2023 at Nine Star Ki, and get help to spend this year mentally (emotionally) meaningfully at Batch Flower. 

Traditionally, the Kyoko area has new year’s tea Obukucha (Kombu kelp and Umeboshi plum tea with green tea), but I chose the medicinal tea of Nettle instead of green tea with Kombucha kelp and Umeboshi plum for the class. 

The hour-and-a-half class ended in no time.

First, I asked everyone to write down their goals from this year (and three years and ten years), what is preventing them from progressing toward that goal, and what they are doing to reach it.

After that, I explained briefly by checking everyone’s Nine Star Ki number.

Many people who participated in the class were with Three Tree. Other people were Two Soil, Four Tree, and Seven Metal.

This year’s Nine Star Ki is “Four Tree” in the center (above is Nine Star Ki Basic “Five Soil” is in the center). Four Tree is growing and prosperous in Nine Star Ki. 

To thrive this year, we all need to be in shape.  What does mean “need to be in shape”?  It is not a physical shape the case.

In the class, I explained to everyone that after planting seeds of what you want to do and it sprouts, then thinning is sorting out/shaping up the things that have sprouted and grown and focusing on only the things you want to grow. 

It also means that you must clean up what you have been procrastinating or not connecting with your feelings, so you also need to mentally and emotionally organize yourself.

For example, those who attended the class, especially for people with Three Tree are in the position of growing up more this year, so they need to be thinned out.

The person with the Two Soil was in the position of sowing seeds last year, so it is necessary to water and give the sunshine so the seeds will sprout and spend every day regularly.

People with Four Tree‘s nature is growing in Nine Star Kinninth, but this year they are in the center position. They might feel the energy from the left, right, up, and down (it means from everywhere or everybody)will come in, so they might support other people’s prosperity more than themselves. Remembering to support yourself to grow more this year is important. 

Seven Metal person is the year of sowing this year. It’s the year to start new things.

 

It’s different from Nine Star Ki, but this year’s Chinese zodiac is Water Rabbit year.

The Rabbit represents peaceful and patient energyThe Rabbit is a gentle creature known for thinking things through before actingThis energy will encourage us to approach challenges and opportunities calmly and rationally. In addition to the Rabbit’s peaceful energy, the Water element brings intuition and inner peace. Water is all about tapping into our inner wisdom and trusting our instincts. It encourages us to be more in tune with our emotions and sensitive to those around us.

As the Year of the Rabbit 2023 has come, it’s time to tap into its energy and make the most of it. Let’s focus on building strong connections with loved ones, colleagues, and anyone else in our lives.  After all, the Rabbit is known for its ability to create and maintain harmonious relationships.

Next, let’s turn our attention to our careers. 2023 is the perfect time to focus on professional development and advancement. Take advantage of networking opportunities, build relationships with colleagues, and even consider taking on new projects or additional responsibilities.

Of course, the Rabbit represents wealth and prosperity, so according to the Chinese horoscope 2023, it’s a great time to focus on our finances and work towards increasing our income. Whether it’s investing in stocks, property, or other types of savings plans, now is the time to make smart financial moves.

But let’s remember the importance of being cautious. The Rabbit is also associated with trustfulness and an easygoing attitude, but it’s essential to be vigilant regarding potential scams or frauds. Trust, but verify.

On a more creative note, the Rabbit is also associated with creativity and artistic talents. So, let’s tap into our inner artists and explore our creative side. The possibilities are endless, whether it’s taking up a new hobby, trying your hand at painting, writing, or any other form of art that you’re interested in.

Lastly, the Rabbit is also associated with taking care of oneself, so let’s prioritize self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep will help us stay balanced and take advantage of the positive energy of the year. By following these tips, we can make the most of the Year of the Rabbit 2023 and take advantage of the positive energy and opportunities it brings.

[Source:  The Chinese Zodiac]


Bach Flower Remedy.

I asked people what they were going through emotionally and mentally.

These are examples of people who attended classes that they needed for Bach Flower Remedy recommendations:

Person in transition – Walnut

People who can’t see the future – Wild Oat

Anxious people – Mimulus

Those who feel resentment for what happened – Willow

Setback –  Gentian

People who are taking care of their families all the time and are overwhelmed by responsibility – Elm

Overthinking – White Chestnut

Everyone got their remedies to take home. They will take 2 drops of Bach Flower Remedy at least 4 times a day for 1-2 weeks. I look forward to seeing how all students progress with their remedies.

 

 

For the Medicinal Tea, I chose Nettle, which is rich in minerals and suitable for the New Year.

 

For the New Year, Kombu kelp (I get it from The Seaweed Man)and Umeboshi plum (Check my blog: Santa Monica Homemade Umeboshi plums)with green tea is a traditional drink in the Kyoko area in Japan. 

Nettle instead of green tea, which supports the kidneys and bladder and is also beneficial for the liver and lungs.

Kelp benefits the kidneys, bladder, liver, and stomach.

Umeboshi is an alkaline food that aids intestinal function and relieves fatigue, detoxifies, sore throat, fatty liver, and cholesterol, and purifies water.

Herbal tea is easy to make at home, and you can drink it and take care of yourself.

Please give it a try.

Love,

Sanae❤️

Please email me if you are interested in Bach Flower online classes or individual consultations.

Also, if you are interested in Medicinal Tea consultation, please let me know by email.

sanaehealing@gmail.com

Lumi, the Golden Retriever Reincarnation

As Lumi’s birthday of 13 years came. 

Golden retrievers have a life expectancy of 10-12 years. I see Lumi lives her life her best every day, so I decided to write a blog with my gratitude and love for her.

Lumi was born on Jan. 19th, 2010.  

Some people may not believe in reincarnation, but she came back to live with me four times in the last 55 years.

She had a short life previously, so I promised to help her to manifest her lifespan and fulfill her life this time.

I learned about animal reincarnation when I studied Animal Communication.

After I learned about animal reincarnation, grieving losing my animal family (either because of their age or sick or accident)got eased. I started communicating with them even after they passed and look forward to seeing them later, and many times I know when they are coming back.

Lumi was one of the dogs that clearly communicated when she was coming back.

I did not have the confidence to understand Animal Communication in the beginning, so I did not notice that she came back to live with me as a reincarnation first time as Lolo. 

Lolo died when I had a near-death car crash in 2001. 

She came back to me as Dore then, I knew it was Lolo immediately.

Curious Dore looking at something while her mother, Kin and her two sisters Kula and Oro were looking at the camera

Dore was a curious dog and wanted to be a mother, and she got pregnant with the next-door neighbor’s dog in North Fork. She was so happy when she got puppies.

Dore with Kona who became a service dog

We donated one of her puppies to a service dog foundation, graduated from service dog training, and helped Patrick (a 16 years old disabled boy)all his life. We kept Dore’s favorite puppy (we named her “Chibi-Gumu”). Dore was delighted being a mother, but when Chibi-Gumu got poisoned for some reason when she was only five months old. 

It was a very shocking and sad time, and even remembering it brings me so much sadness, so I am not going to write about it this time.

Dore, too, almost died from cleaning Chibi-Gumu’s vomit.

She survived but could not accept Chibi-Gumu’s death and endured so much grieving.

Dore started to escape from her secret place to look for her Chibi-Gumu.

She always came back home, but we checked our yard everywhere but could not find her secret escape location. 

One day, she escaped again. A pick-up truck driver hit her in the alley and ran away near our house. A neighbor saw it and phoned me, so I went to Dore immediately. 

She was waiting for me, but when I touched her, she stretched her legs to the light and said, “I am sorry, Mommy, I did not know the track was going to hit me. I want to come back!”

I told her, ” I understand. I love you so much. You can come anytime. I am here for you!”

I realized Lolo and Dore died after being hit by a car, and I remember my dog, Oliver, who was with me for a short time when I was in junior high school. My mother told me that Oliver died because he ran out of my parent’s house, and a car hit him. 

I was too shocked to hear this sad news when I came home from school. I think I kept the shock/trauma feeling deep, deep inside of me, but after Dore died and connected Lolo’s death brought Oliver’s death, I decided to talk to him.

Wow, unbelievable; Oliver was Lolo and Dore, and they all died cause of a car hit.

Dore said she wanted to come back to live with her family and me, so I decided to support her journey, coming back to us once again by talking to her.

Two years later, after Dore passed, she came back as Lumi.

Lumi was so much smaller than any of the other puppies and not breathing when she was born, but her mother Oro kept licking, licking. 

It was like Oro was on a mission to save the puppy (Lumi). 

I communicated to this little puppy(Lumi), “you gonna make it! Breath! You can do it!!!”

When Oro stopped licking, I helped with CPR, and the puppy (Lumi) started to breathe.

It was a miracle!

Lumi one day old

I knew the puppy was Dore at that moment. 

 

Her journey coming back was not easy, but Oro knew it was Dore, her big sister, who wanted to come back as Lumi. 

We named her “Lumi” as
We named her “Lumi” as luminaire – inspiration/light. She was feisty and not scared of expressing herself.

Smallest in the center is Lumi

Lumi lying down to her mother, Oro

Lumi (left) and her brother Bubu

While preparing the food, if anybody called or came and it got interrupted, she showed the intense paw steps and told me, “Mommy, focus on preparing the food. I am hangry!” 

Even now, if she needs to go out, she does paw steps constantly until we notice her request.

Lumi is curious like Dore, but her vision has more clarity than Dore’s this time. She is more careful and wants to have another puppy and live with her puppy for the rest of her life and fulfill her life.

Even though each dog reincarnated to return as the same spirit dog, they may look different and think differently, but their purpose is the same.

I promised to help her live her life and no more getting hit by a car! 

I also asked her to promise that she make efforts to live a long, healthy life without car accidents. She said, “You bet!” 

Lumi with her puppies

She communicates loudly with us (her daughter, step-sister, niece, nephew, Eric-my husband, and me). Sometimes she sounds upset, but she expresses as excited since she is living her life again as her purpose is to be with her daughter/family and us.

Lumi (left) hiking with her dog family & me

Since she stayed pretty small for Golden Retriever (about 30~35lbs, average Golden Retriever weight is 55~71lbs), many people have always come to greet her and ask if she was a puppy, even though she was over ten years old. She likes being different and having fun when people admire her.

 

She has been an excellent mother to her daughter, Happy. She is very patient with her and never barks her back. They are sleeping together even now.

Lumi and her daughter Happy sleeping together

Lumi (left) with her daughter Happy

Now Lumi is 13. 

She has right knee arthritis, so she limps. She takes homeopathic medicine and Bach Flower Remedy to cope.

She still wants to go hiking once every two months and she walks in the neighborhood at her pace every day wit me.

Lumi hiking

When people see Lumi’s limping, but she walks at her steady pace, they come to her to give their respects, and she likes that a lot so she give them her smile☺️.

She sleeps a lot and snores loudly but loves eating Healthy Happy Pooch homemade dog food and treats. She also enjoys animal reiki, massage, moxibustion, brushing, and a belly rub!

Lumi and her sister Portia had their birthday walk together to celebrate their 13th birthday in the park!

Portia, Happy and Lumi (left to right) with Jennifer Portia’s mom and me

Enjoy life with dogs!

Love, Sanae ❤️

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

Ingredients:

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.

Instruction:

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 ❤️