Friday, May 30, 2014

This week in pictures!

Here is what I saw/did this week!

At the supermarket they are selling this locally made product. It is a kind of soy sauce meant to be used with yogurt, bread, ice cream etc. I don't think I will be trying this but it sounds interesting!

My  youngest class practiced the alphabet!

I made this amazing gluten free triple berry crumble! It was so delicious!!

My friend and I went to Costco and suddenly we saw this - they were filming something-we don't know who or what but it did mean I couldn't get to the meat until they finished!

We went to starbucks and saw next month's special flavors. There is a marble caramel coffee jelly frappuccino and a double chocolate coffee jelly frappuccino. I don't like coffee jelly but my husband is very excited!

I went to MK which is a "shabu shabu" restaurant. "Shabu shabu" is also called a hot pot. There is a pot with broth and you add thinly sliced pork and beef and tons of veggies and cook them at the table. And then you dip them in a spicy sauce. Yum!

And on the first floor of the building I work in, a combo flower shop/computer school will be opening. Yeah...I thought that was a strange combo as well! The front of the store is the flower shop and in the back is the computer school. They have a separate door for the computer school thankfully. is not only an odd combination for a business but the location is very strange for a flower shop! Let me show you what is around our building.

Not much, right? So...not sure how long it will stay open but I'm excited because I love flowers and every time I go to the mall, I think about buying some but I end up with too many bags so I never buy them. But now, I can buy them whenever I want! Here is the flower shop so far (they aren't open yet).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

If you sell products online this might be for you!

When we first started selling online, one of the most difficult things to do was to take good pictures. When I look back at the first rings we sold I kind of cringe because the pictures were horrible! We have gotten much better since then but I sure wish we had one of these when we first started! It is perfect for taking pictures of small things and you can use your iphone! I have to say that only when our one camera started to die, did we begin to use my iphone to take pictures. We were shocked at how good it was! It was even better than my husband's camera! So we have been basically using my iphone for many of our latest pictures (shoes, fans, bags) in our vintage store. So, while I might have scoffed at the idea of using my iphone with this little device a month ago....I'm not scoffing now. Take  a look at the video!

This was on kickstarter and I didn't know about it then but it is still very reasonable to purchase! You can find it here  .

Friday, May 23, 2014

Women! Embrace your bodies!

I grew up hating my body. I was told I was beautiful but because I was bigger and hated myself I never really believed it. I even did a bit of plus size modeling but I still didn't love myself. When I was in university, I started a business called "redefining beautiful" and I went in to classrooms and women's groups and talked about body image and the diet industry etc. But part of me still hated my body. This has been an ongoing issue my whole life. I believe that this is true for most women. And even though I'm bigger than what is considered "acceptable" I'm really trying to embrace my body-flaws and all! Because hating myself, talking so negatively to myself etc has gotten me nowhere....maybe showing myself some love and acceptance will.

I watched the following video and I have to say I cried. I cried for lots of reasons and one of them was from happiness-I'm so glad she, Taryn Brumfitt,  is taking this on!!

Here is her kickstarter page if you would like to help her change how we see ourselves.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ramen "burger" ?!

Have you ever stayed awake at night thinking of weird food combinations? I personally haven't but I'm guessing it happens a lot here in Japan! I mean....check this out...

A famous ramen store is collaborating with Lotteria (a Japanese fast-food restaurant) to make this ramen "burger" happen. The ad shows a bowl of ramen and the "burger" is supposed to taste like it (or at least similar to it).

Oh and it comes in 3 sizes! The three sizes are:  "nami" (small), "omori" (large) and then there is "tokumori" (special large size). And the large one ain't cheap at about $ 7.40!

This is available from May 20th so if you are in Japan and try it please let me know how it tastes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vegetable Ice Cream From Haagen Daz read that right lol! Veggies are good for you and ice cream is  yummy so what if the 2 are combined? cream that is good for you! Haagen Daz has come out with 2 flavors ....tomato/cherry and carrot/orange. Don't believe me? Here is a video!

I'm guessing that this is only in Japan!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Haha no hi or 母の日= Mother's day

Haha no hi (mother's day) is here! I just thought I would show you a tiny sample of what is available in Japan for mother's day.

For those who like to give flowers.


For those who like to give sweets.


 For those who like to give savory treats.

For those who like to get mom a little tipsy!

Matcha and umeshu (plum liquor)

Happy "haha no hi" to all mothers!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Juicing in Japan

Last December, a friend of mine suggested I watch the movie "Fat, sick and nearly dead" by Joe Cross. She suggested it because I had been complaining about pain in my leg and knee. She said it was a great movie so I watched it. In the movie, Joe Cross (an Australian) goes to the States and does 60 days of only freshly made veggie and fruit juice. He did it because he was sick and tired of being sick. He had an autoimmune disease and had pretty much tried everything else and thought that juicing might help. It did help...not only him but other people featured in the movie.

I was so inspired that I went out and bought a juicer but as I wasn't sure I would like it or not, I just bought a cheap centrifugal juicer and figured if I really liked it, I would buy an expensive juicer later. I went to the supermarket and bought all kinds of fruits and veggies and made a few juices. WOW!! I loved it! And what is weird is that I NEVER drank juice before. I hate juice from the supermarket...always have so it floored me that I loved juicing. I made some not so great juice (daikon juice is soooo not for me lol) but overall I was happy with the juices I made but I wasn't happy with my juicer as the pulp was so wet and greens were nearly impossible to juice. So...after only a week of using my cheap juicer I bought an Omega 350VRT HD which is a masticating or cold press juicer. I ordered it from and had it delivered to me here in Japan (it was cheaper by almost $150 dollars even with shipping, than ordering one from here in Japan).

Well...what a difference! The pulp is drier, greens are easier to juice and the juice looks better...greener or redder (depending on the veggies) than from my other juicer. And after making it, I can store it for  up to 72 hours (though I never really go longer than 24) because it is a masticating juicer which means it runs at much lower rpms and therefore doesn't create much heat so nutrients aren't lost/destroyed.

Now...there are many many recipes out there but I live in Japan which means I don't always have access to them or in the case of fennel....NEVER have access to them lol. I thank God for costco because I can buy zucchini, celery, baby kale, romaine and other veggies and fruit in great quantities at great prices. Some veggies and fruit I can find at my local supermarket but in crazy small amounts...for example celery. I can only buy 2 stalks (stalks not bunches) at a time and half of it is leaves and it can cost $3 for 2 stalks! So...again I say thank God for costco because I go through so much celery in a week!

So...while we don't have access to all the fruits and veggies people in the States do, we do have access to other tasty veggies. Here are some of my favorites:

This is "santo sai"...apparently related to the Chinese cabbage (my hubby said "you's like the uncle or cousin of cabbage" lol). There is another one called "shirona" which I also like.

This next one I LOVE! It is called "shiso" or perilla leaves. I seriously love this leaf! It adds a fabulous flavor which is hard to describe. The only reason I tried it was that the day before we had "temaki sushi" (the kind you make yourself at the table) and we had extra and I hate to waste food so I thought I would throw it in and yum!!

The next thing I love to juice but hate to eat is "gobo" or burdock root. In Japan it is very popular in cooked dishes but I hated it. Not sure why I tried to juice it but I think at one point I just put things in my cart to try in a juice. Anyway, gobo is super healthy...good blood cleanser and it adds an earthy flavor without being overpowering. I just cut  about 10cm off the big root, peel it and then add it to the juicer.

I have many favorite juice recipes...but right now my favorite is celery/apple/gobo (burdock) and shiso (perilla leaves). Here is a pic.

In January, I did a 25 day juice fast and while I loved it in many ways, the main reason I wasn't happy was that I was FROZEN!! I mean, it is cold enough to snow here but we don't have central heat. My students thought I was nuts lol! I was sitting under the heater (25 degrees C), with a heavy coat on, fingerless gloves and a scarf and complaining about being cold. So I stopped. I also realized that my weak point in the day is when I come home from work so cooking my husband dinner was too tempting so during the fast I did in March/April I didn't cook him dinner. I did 15 days at that point and I was still frozen. While I wasn't thrilled to be cold I was thrilled with other pain went away! The swelling in my feet and ankles went away! I slept better! My skin glowed. I felt great. When I'm not doing a 100% juice fast, during the week I juice breakfast and lunch and eat dinner. On the weekends I juice breakfast and sometimes eat 1-2 meals.

While I was juice fasting I was getting excited about eating more veggies after stopping the fast...and I did that. And I have had problems. It looks like my body loves veggie juice but isn't crazy about eating all the veggies as I suddenly had gas, bloating...feeling pregnant etc so I think it was just too much fiber. And during this past week I have been on holidays and I haven't juiced as much as I normally do so tomorrow my husband and I are both doing a 3-5 day juice only fast. I've done them before but this is the first time my husband will be joining me. About 2 weeks or so ago, he started juicing breakfast and lunch with me and basically felt ok. He sometimes forgets to drink enough juice or water when he is working so he needs to do a better job of that this time lol. The good thing is...besides cucumber juice (which he loves to eat and hates to drink...he can smell cucumber juice a mile away lol) he has loved most of the juices I have made. He has also started helping me in the morning when I make the juice for breakfast and lunch. He does the straining (masticating juicer let more pulp through so the juice is thicker which we don't like so we strain it) and some washing up which is a big help now that I'm making juice for 2!

Anyway, given how much I love juicing I will probably be posting more in the future along with some pictures and recipes. Here is something that helped me when I first started juicing.


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