Thursday, June 30, 2011

I finally found coconut flour in Japan!

As some of you know, I need to eat gluten free.  It isn't easy in this country. I found almond "powder" (flour) easily on line but until 2 days ago, I just couldn't find coconut flour.  That is because it isn't called flour or powder but rather...coconut fiber  ココナッツファイバー  .

I ordered some from this company . It arrived tonight and I made these coconut vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing  just to test them (pictures are from a previous blog post). Recipe can be found here.

They taste the same!!  I'm so happy because it  means that I don't have to have my friend in California order it for me and ship it over!   So, for those who want to bake grain free/gluten free here in can! And I highly suggest recipes from this blog  as she uses basically almond or coconut flour for most of her recipes....easy and utterly delicious!

Oh and if you are looking for almond "powder" in Japan at decent prices (rather than the crazy prices at the supermarket)  I suggest this site

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UGH! 28 Degrees C or 82.4 Degrees F

Imagine you are at work. You are wearing your professional work clothes. Now imagine the temperature in your office is  28 degrees C or 82.4 degrees F.  Do the words "refreshing" or "comfortable" come to mind?  I doubt it. But that is the temperature the Japanese government recommends you keep your air conditioner set to.

28 degrees C is NOT comfortable. I walked into the bank early in was hotter inside than outside. The little lady who greets customers was sweating and constantly wiping her face with her handkerchief. All the staff had shiny faces and the customers were trying to fan themselves with their hands! I just about died it was so uncomfortable.

I went to the shopping mall and upstairs to the 2nd floor and basically turned around again and didn't spend any money as I had no desire to sweat.

It is a bit crazy. The idea of course is to conserve energy  (and help with global warming) and while that is especially  important this year for those people in the north who were affected by the disaster, this initiative actually started back in 2005.  It was named the "cool biz campaign" and the idea is to keep the office temperature at 28 degrees and for employees to wear more casual/summery clothing such as  Hawaiian shirts, polo shirts and to stop wearing ties etc.  The campaign is part of the Japanese government's pledge to cut emissions by 6 % per the Kyoto protocol.  The UN's "cool UN" campaign has a much more realistic temperature recommendation of 25 degrees C (77 degrees F).  A Japanese researcher found that for every 1 degree above 25 degrees C workers productivity is cut by 1.9%. 

It shouldn't be surprising to find out that when workers are hot and sweaty they don't get as much done. Last night on the news it was reported that there has been an increase in the number of people going to the hospital complaining of heat stroke, fatigue, no appetite etc.  And it is still June! Right now it is midnight and it is 28.3 degrees C (83 degrees F) and the  humidity is 83%......summer has just started so I'm guessing it is going to be long, hot, sweaty and frankly....dangerous for some people!  I'm just happy that I can control the temperature at work!

Oh and here is a picture I took from my window at work.

The rice is planted!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A walk among the fireflies

The other night, my husband and I went for a walk at about 1am. As we live in the "inaka" (countryside), it is pretty quiet.  There was a wonderful, slightly cool breeze, the sound of frogs and a beautiful moon.  We walked along our normal path which takes us by 2 small streams. And suddenly we saw "hotaru" or fireflies.  They were so beautiful among the tall grass. We just stood there for a bit and watched them. The breeze felt so good and we could smell flowers and plants. This was one of the moments that my friend Kayo and I had talked about .....where everything was just perfect. I had tears in my eyes but I smiled and soaked in as much of it as was possible.

On the walk home, I felt more alive than I had in a while. I felt refreshed and ....I don't know how to explain it but I felt kind of reborn. I thought of this quote- which is one of my favorites.
     ~ I am red. I am passion, sunset, anger, blood, wine and roses, lust and apples.
                                                   ~ Julia Cameron

Also, I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last post "Kayo". I didn't comment there but I read each one and I really appreciate all your comments!


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