Tsukiji, Tokyo

Anthony Bourdain would approve – Vegetarian ? no.  Pescatarian ? Yes. Vegan? No, sorry – I love sushi too much – I now never eat them in the US – it’s just not good unless it’s prohibitively expensive so I pass  – sorry, but here – OMG, it’s excellent & reasonable – after all, it’s our soul food.  Yet, I do vegan cleansing on seasonal basis – at transition from one season to next, I will go on 10- 30 days (have gone one full year once and that did not work well for me), completely vegetarian – then vegan (progression) diet – then progressively return to primarily Pescatarian diet.  Change of seasons is an important tuneup time for our system.

Actually above sampler from Haneda Airport – but ingredients from Tsukiji. Not bad. 3 out of 5 stars?

Here’s Tsukiji market alley … a wider alley than some even narrower:) Stalls mostly for tourists as professional chefs are all done; auctions take place 3am or earlier.

Special Medicinal Herb soba noodles – hand made during this “Yomogi” herb season only. Another Japanese soul food to be sure – soba. This is 5 out of 5 – al dente perfection –  love.

Dessert of Matcha ice cream, roll cake and fruits from Sakura, International House, Tokyo. Every plate was a piece of art work. 

Thought about Anthony B. at a bookstore stall in Tsukiji known for all Foods, Restaurants & Cooking related books.  Chef’s paradise to be sure. A lot of tourists milling about in this world famous fish market. Maybe 11am-ish and that’s after-hours here when peak business takes place 3 am.

Anthony Bourdain – RIP

Just read this:

Chef Anthony Bourdain favorite destination is Japan. He has toured 80 countries over the course of 15 years, delving into their histories and eating as much of their food as possible.

“Japan is endlessly, endlessly interesting to me,” Anthony Bourdain said. And even after going on nine filming trips there, “I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface and I don’t think I ever will.” He’s especially in love with Tokyo and the Sushi culture.

“If I had to eat only in one city for the rest of my life, Tokyo would be it,” Anthony Bourdain wrote for CNN in 2013 on his Parts Unknown blog. “Most chefs I know would agree with me. For those with restless, curious minds, fascinated by layer upon layer of things, flavors, tastes and customs which we will never fully be able to understand, Tokyo is deliciously unknowable.”

“It’s that densely packed, impenetrable layer cake of the strange, wonderful and awful that thrills,” he added. “It’s mesmerizing. Intimidating. Disorienting. Upsetting. Poignant. And yes, beautiful.”

*** I was in Tsukiji a lot last 2 weeks and I would have to agree.  There’s so much joy to all things food related there not in a glutenous way as you see very few overweight people – Thank you – Arigato – Anthony Bourdain. You are so missed !

Making up a module – Yoga for Youth – Return from Japan

A long pause here – returned from Japan Friday and immediately next day, Saturday, I was attending Niroga’s advance yoga studies.  Yes, I am still on that 800 hours Yoga Therapy Certification training journey and what a journey it’s been – winding and … by choice, loooong.  My Yoga Therapist cohort size was 20-something but it’s a bit of a surprise that now the cohort size has grown to over 40 … I really hope Niroga will resume the yoga training after the current focus on bringing Dynamic Mindfulness (the practice) and Transformative Life Skills (“TLS”) curriculum to schools across America.

This module I was making up this weekend was “Yoga for Youth”. I had missed a couple of modules Year 2 of the program, as my mother collapsed, suffering a stroke last year.  I had to fly back to Japan to see her in ICU to witness her recover enough to finally leaving the hospital and then to see her through a rehabilitation sessions with several PTs.  I have a great deal of respect to physical therapists and occupational therapists to say the least as she regained most of her motor functions.  Now she has 3 PT sessions a week and nearly back to the new normal.  Thanks to early detection, attention and care, while some damage to her brain will never be restored, doctors have shared the amazing nature of human brain.  Brain can rewire to compensate for the lost dead brain cells and function – with appropriate training, given the sufficient time to heal. Yes, it’s just as we learned in Niroga’s yoga therapy module – Power of Neuroplasticity !  Never give up you guys !

What I love about Japanese culture is their respect for the elderly and with that, how their healthcare system do not give up on the seniors –  they will keep plugging away until you see improvement.  My mother had a remarkable recovery and improvement in her mobility – and thus, I am grateful to their healthcare system that spurred her progress and healing possible.

During all this family emergency, I missed two and a half modules:  (1) ironically – Yoga for Aging; (2) Yoga for Youth (this one); (3) Yoga for Addiction. Luckily, here I am.  I am back.  I get to show up  – thank goodness.

So truth be told – I had little interest in teaching yoga to youth, but this program has made me re-think to reconsider that possibility.  I am just open but what one of the presenters said was memorable:  If teaching this special population depletes you, then it’s not for you.

On first day, we had two guest speakers – a 16 year old teenager girl in regular public high school and a 18 year old teenager girl in youth detention center – calling in – to hold a Q & A on their experience with yoga.  While it was not a surprise to hear from the mouth of a 16 year old how much she hated yoga and tried to avoid having to be in class by even considering not coming to school to get out of it, she admits now in hindsight that yoga had helped her and now she loves yoga.  So the question was – when did such a breakthrough happen?  Her answer:  when I actually followed through on all instructions instead of doing them halfheartedly.  Instead of not really participating, kinda going through the motions but not really doing them to really doing them.  So once she actually tried going all out, doing all 100%, then afterwards she felt really good.  It felt GOOD.  Anyone who has tried any yoga class, we’ve all felt this.  It’s no miracle.

Question:  What was your image or your understanding of Yoga before you started it?  And what did the word Yoga mean to you before ?

Answer:  I thought yoga was something adults did to deal with stress. I was not interested. But …( ! )

I always wanted to be Buddhist ( ! ? ) so I realized that you can’t just meditate and become Buddhist – there are steps and yoga helps. ( ! )


*** what?  wanted to be Buddhist?  Why???? ***********

that is the question I should have asked – why would a 16 year old young lady with presumably mainstream American life make such a startling (to me) statement?

Especially, having just returned from Shinto/Buddhist country, I was very curious with this 16 year old’s statement.  As the weekend intensive wore on, answers to that nagging question (I should have asked her then and there), I think became more and more apparent.