On that day, I transplanted mint to a larger pot and thinned seedings of Japanese basil and arugula. As always, after I watered all the plants and purified the air around them, I went inside.
While drinking tea and snacking on strawberries in my room, I looked at the sky from the window. Then bombus ignitus, which is a native bumblebee species, showed up in my balcony. Bombus ignitus is a black round cuddly bee. At that moment, blueberry and viola were flowering. Bombus ignitus prefers viola which has short floral tubes, because they have shorter tongues than other bumblebees. And bumblebees are well-known in the western world. For example, they appear in “Winnie-the-Pooh”.
It was the first time to see bombus ignitus in my balcony. It was so cute and lovely. I tasted my happiest moment. Currently, air pollution hinders the ability of finding flowers for bees. According to scientists, bees could catch a flower scent from a distance of over 800m in the 1800s, But now flower scents reach within only 200m for bees. I planted some flowers for bees. So when bees show up in my balcony, it always makes me very happy.
People in Japan experience a lot of shuffling, like company personnel rotations, in March and April. These two months are full of events for shifting our energy such as Girls’ Day, school entrance ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, company orientations, the end of the Japanese financial year and so on.
We shuffle schedules and priorities about things to do during this season. After all that shuffling, we have a weeklong vacation called Golden Week waiting for us from the end of April to the beginning of May. Some people lose their balance and experience depression after that.
Peppermint is also a calmative which cushions stress and pain. Many of you already know that stress can cause stomach discomfort. Peppermint settles the ends of the nerves of the stomach. It helps you to be released from emotions which stop you based on your unreleased memories. From that point of view, an appropriate amount of peppermint can assist your smooth start.
March and April is still cold in Japan. If you take too much peppermint, your stomach lining will become dry and cause stomach pain. In addition, too much peppermint makes you feel cold. In sum, please choose carefully an appropriate amount of peppermint and add it in your medicine chest.
Do you realize that all traditional ceremony dates are set when our energy flow shifts?
In Japan, we have a custom to celebrate or experience ceremonies with red bean dishes such as red bean rice, cakes with bean paste fillings, red bean soup with rice cakes, etc.
For example, we traditioanally prepare red bean rice to celebrate menstruation. It helps us to recognize that we need to change and learn about our new energy system. For example, in traditonal merchant houses, they eat red bean rice on the first day of every month, regardless of whether they had strong or weak sales in the previous month. They want to have a fresh start with a new state of mind. For example, big white and red cakes with bean paste fillings are distributed to each of us during our high school graduation ceremony day. It’s like taking off a school uniform to jump into freedom.
I had lots of red bean dishes in my life. And I noticed that red beans help reset our energy flow. For example, if you feel stuck in your relationship or you cannot confront something which is important to you, please eat red bean dishes.
My sense of discipline has helped me. For example, it has helped me to walk every other day. Discipline has helped me maintain my health for a long time. However, I have wanted to change such fixed everyday rituals to more appropriate adapted ones for my body based on my needs for the day.
In Japan, tofu makers change the amount of water to soy beans to make tofu every day, because every day we have different weather. I think that that is a more natural method than doing the same thing regardless of weather.
I wanted to be like the tofu maker for my body. They feel the conditions of both soy beans and the weather. I also wanted to sense the condition of my body and the weather more.
I have believed that repeating the same thing changes the quality itself. And it happened like a thunderclap. Suddenly I became like a tofu maker. Now I can prepare the most appropriate exercise routine like yoga, walking and stretching for the day. I can stop at the comfortable level of the day.
I saw a documentary about Seymour Bernstein who was a pianist. And his impactful words and his lace-like piano sound touched my heart. I was especially impressed by these following words: “I remember I became aware when practice went well, everything in life seemed harmonized. When it didn’t, I was out of sorts. The real essence of who we are resides in our talent, whatever that talent is.”
When he felt that he was satisfied with being a pianist, he decided to quit and started to live as a piano teacher. I thought that such a way of living was something I should pursue.
I could feel the love he had for discipline was his way of living. Sometimes amateurs start something which they love. But professionals try to transcend love for their job, so they think that discipline is important and pushes them. Discipline is essentially different from punishment. Because discipline comes from inside of us.
And also I think that we don’t have love in us. Love is like the air. When we love something, it is like being wrapped in air which is called love by us. It is mostly the same as wrapping a gift. So we cannot rely on that. But discipline holds us like the arms of a father. It is more reliable and realistic.
I have been annoyed by noisy and stinking neighbors for three months. And also this year my area was often covered with a photochemical oxidant. So I was in a hard situation.
But when I went to an ophthalmologist this May, my longtime primary care doctor told me that surprisingly my allergy had gone. She was astonished at it and she recommended me to write a book on how I recovered from my allergy. She told me that she couldn’t explain it medically.
I have used essential oils for almost 20 years in my daily life. I have preferred mild ones like neroli for a long time. But this June I instinctively bought rosemary and cedar oil. They are strong especially for our skin. I decided to mix them a little bit into my shampoo and hair conditioner. Both promote blood circulation in your scalp and make your hair healthier. They made me feel refreshed as if I got a scalp massage.
And also both are bug repellents. Aromatherapists often recommend basil to clean my home because it purifies the air and the energy in the room. But basil attracts some bugs. What is more, when I used it in my room, I felt that I was living in an Italian kitchen. So I stopped using basil for cleaning.
I tried cedar and rosemary for cleaning. Rosemary helps with concentration. Cedar prevents respiratory infections. I thought that this did help me with concentration and respiration, and it repelled bugs during the rainy season.
I bought 20kg of zeolite. Because my neighbors use fabric softener which lasts longer than perfume and because they also smoke, I need to absorb it somehow while I use an air conditioner for summer.
Most air conditioners don’t circulate air from outside to inside. But according to the manufacturer of my air conditioner, there is a possibility that I get air from outside through the drain hose. The strong and long-lasting smell of softeners are toxic to the neural system. It includes addictive ingredients which are the same as illegal and psychotropic drugs. So I don’t want to breathe it in.
Before buying 20kg of zeolite, I used 2kg of activated carbon to absorb volatile organic compounds. It helped me, but I found an air purifier which uses zeolite to clean the air. That’s why I though I should use zeolite instead of carbon. It is strange to see 20kg of zeolite in my room. But anyway I hope it works. We need clean air.
In Kyoto, the temperature dropped below zero on the second week of March. We had unseasonable snow as if the season was rewinded. And in the following week, temperature reached over 20℃. The temperature difference of a day was almost 15℃. And such things are happening all over the world.
Riding the roller coaster of temperatures may keep you from feeling even keel. In such a case, the concept of Yin and Yang will help you to choose right.
On a sudden warm day, there is more yang than ying energy. So we need to add ying energy or diminish yang energy. To add yin energy, slowing down, meditation, staying indoors and stretching at night time will work for you. For example, to reduce yang energy, instead of reading books in a sitting position, read books with laying down on the sofa.
On a sudden cold day, there is more yin than yang energy. So we need to add yang energy or reduce yin energy. To add yang energy, do a heavy workout rather than yoga in the morning, drink regular tea rather than spiced tea and go outside. For example, to decrease yin energy, please read books in a sitting positon and have some conversations about that book.
Basically yang energy helps us to do something speedy and move forward. Yin energy helpes us to feel spacious and deepen ourselves.
On a day which is filled with yang energy, you can be productive. On a day which is filled with yin energy, you can cherish who you are and how you are. Both are equally important for us.
I do house cleaning every month. And I think that you will especially benefit from spring cleaning because our body is usually covered in coldness during winter. Cleaning is a good exercise to awaken and stimulate our body in a healthy way.
Our body is shifting to a spring one now. In each season, different internal organs play a main role in detoxification. In spring, the liver and the gallbladder lead detoxification.
If you drink or eat too much, your liver and gallbladder cannot concentrate on spring detoxification. You give extra work for your liver and gallbladder. You hinder their most important work.
If you have a low appetite and don’t drink, your liver and gallbladder can concentrate on spring detoxification, because you do not sabotage their functions. And even so, it will be easier to feel frustration and anger than in other seasons.
Even if you don’t hinder your liver and gallbladder, they have a lot of tasks during the spring. The liver and gallbladder are deeply related to frustration, upset and anger. Metaphorically speaking, our liver and gallbladder feel easily overwhelmed.
In other words, spring helps us to face our hidden frustrations, unseen upsets and cover anger. You will be released from those emotions and take their energy back as a part of you. For that, sometimes light body work or physical movement work like cleaning.
I recommend wiping walls and ceilings as we do before moving day. If you have lived in your current home for many years and haven’t wiped them, you will be astonished by the dirtiness. And you will feel satisfied.
This year I started to pay attention to the ground while walking. And I was amazed at how much the ground was filled with flowers.
This autumn, I realized that I could find garlic chives everywhere, even in parking lots. Or at least it looked like garlic chives. But was I right? This question was my starting point to be passionate about field flowers.
One day, one of my friends shared an app which uses AI to identify the exact names of plants. So I downloaded it onto my iPhone while walking. I just needed to pass my iPhone camera over the plants.
I remember the first moment I used it, because it showed a lot of names one after another through my iPhone camera. I felt like Helen Keller. Suddenly I could know many names and those names opened a new world to me. Suddenly the ordinary became extraordinary.
And the plant which was similar to garlic chives was actually another kind of plant which we cannot eat. However I could find many medicinal plants near my house. And some of them were rare. I also find very toxic plants which are common here. And some leaves were used to make kimonos in ancient times. It is still used for making kimonos. That was surprising!
Do you feel that it is hard to tune your body under this climate change ? If so, it is helpful to train your iliposas. This muscle mainly works for flexing hip joint and anteflexing spine.
Especially after passing therties iliopsoas starts to become weak. If we have weak iliopoas, automatically our gluteus maximus starts to become weak. So we easily have a sagging butt and slight stoop. And we suffer from sensitivity to cold temperatures.
Do you know that you already have a natural corset in your body? Your transverse abdominal muscles are your natural corset.
If you feel that your transverse abdominal muscles are tight like an armored warrior, please try the triangle pose in Hatha Yoga. This pose helps your backbone release from gravity, so your transverse abdominal muscles will also release from being an armored warrior. You will feel longer than before between the pelvis and the rib cage.
The effect of PM2.5 is serious in western Japan. When I moved to Kyoto, the spring haze on the mountains was so beautiful. Japanese bush warblers sang in operatic voices. I was usually wrenched from sleep by their loud voices before the alarm clock went on.
But only after five years, sometimes I cannot see the mountains because of PM2.5. Japanese bush warblers sing in smaller voices than before as if they have smaller lungs. Now, I strain to hear their voices. I guess that they naturally suppress their breathing to save their body from dirty air.I involuntarily keep my laundry inside. And I change how and when I do the laundry. It disrupted my daily habits like a domino effect. There is the sun and wind just outside, but it feels far away.
When the level of PM2.5 is low, usually it means rain or snow. But amazingly, these last two days have had a low level of PM2.5 and almost always sunny. I could happily put my futon outside. I could wash my big blankets, carpets and many other things because the sun and wind can make it dry quickly. I was so happy.
I knew that some plants like sansevieria can decontaminate chemicals such as formaldehyde. And I found on Google, some curtains with similar functions. I have a big Blueair, which is a good, famous air purifier, in my room. I know they work. But it is not enough for all livings to inhale and exhale healthily.
We definitely need clean air. And for that we need to shift our lifestyle to one which is good for all plants and animals. Because none of us can live without breathing. This year I have supported some activities to clean up air. We must act more.
Few weeks ago, I saw a documentary of wolves “Living with Wolves”. Three years ago,a photo of extinct wolves by human activities caught my heart. Since then, wolves has been a special exisistence for me. I respect them and admire them. Their existence sometimes encourage me to live on this dirty gray Earth which is totally far away from blue planet as this photo by Japan Meterological Agency’s Himawari-8 satelite. Blue planet is our ideal and unfact vision of the Earth.
“Living with Wolves” shows us how we can build a healthy relationship between wolves and us. Also this reminds us to remeber a natural life rythm like living with sunrise and sleeping with sunset. Artificial separation creates lots of diseases, fears and anxiety. It pushes us to forget our humanity. We need to remember that who we are ,as a part of the Earth.
Let’s change our lifestyle to the one which does not disturb Earth rhythm. Let’s have some clear distance from anthropocentric living way. When we centered our humanity in our life, naturally we will be back to the life which harmonize with the Earth and other living things including wolves.
When I was a child, I needed a camera to take photos, I needed a CD player to listen to music, I needed a ruler to know the length of something . Each of them exists for one purpose. So we needed to switch our consciousness to go to the next thing without missing a beat. It helped us to decide whether we liked something or not rather than whether we could make something or not.
Now I need only one device like an iPhone to take photos, listen to music and measure. I realized that the feeling that I could do many thiings at once with my hands deprived me of aliveness or life force. Because everything starts to be treated as data. So the world changed from a sphere to pixels. It is like eating chicken soup in separate parts, like carrots first and chicken broth second. In that way, I don’t savor chicken soup in a harmonized way. It is the same as only seeing broken up pixels instead of seeing one picture.
One day I determined to graduate from the pixelated world. For example, I will listen to music as music not data. I want to enjoy music as a whole not as disassembled parts. At least when I was a child, many musicians paid attention to not only to the music but also to the jacket or liner. So I could imagine its music from the liner notes and its work consistently had a clear intention. And feeling the musician’s intention sometimes helped me to go forward. But only streaming digitized music cannot make it.
So I bought a CD player and stopped copying music from a CD to iTunes. Each time I listen to music, I feel like bowing to that musician. They poured their passion into the music, so it is worth bowing to. This also helps me to take back dignity in my whole life. I received conveniences from data, but it is not my future, it is my past.
I have worn outfits by Petit Bateau of France often for over 20 years. Their philosophy is to never be out of fashion. Their lines are always simple, precise and beautiful. They keep their shape well despite repeated cleaning.
When I was in my early twenties, I poured my energy into being in better shape. I endured 90 minute workouts three days in a week. I tolerated drinking strawberry-flavored protein drinks, too. I loved to dressed down in a simple t-shirt and skinny jeans paired with stiletto pumps. I tried to fit into that kind of style.
And I found out that it was impossible to wear “12 ans” size shirts. I wore a Japanese size 7 or 9. But “12 ans” was too small for me. To wear “12 ans”, I would have needed to compress my skeleton.
Many years passed after that and I forgot all about it. I loved my natural body. I discovered yoga and Pilates were suitable for my body. I learned that I didn’t need to control my body based on my preconceptions. I just started to love who I was and to love my body. I started to respect my body.
Two years ago, I learned how to take back subtlety in my body while practicing shamanic training. I have continued my efforts since then. Last autumn, I started to feel that “14 ans” was too big for me. This winter I really felt that they were baggy. Finally, I was determined to wear “12ans” which had been too small for me.
But amazingly I could fit into it and it was the right size. Now I never hanker after wearing a small size like “12 ans.” But now “12 ans” is my size, as if my subconscious never give up fulfilling my wishes.
I remember at least two people who I aspired to be like. One was Kukai. He lived between the 8th and 9th Centuries during the Nara and Heian Period. Another one was Seishonagon. She lived between the 10th and 11th Centuries, also during the Heian Period. In this post, I will focus on the fomer one.
According to many history books, Kukai was talented, worldly, strategic and eccentric. He is known as the originator of Shingon Buddhism. He is also known as one of the three best Japanese calligraphers. I learned in elementary school that he repaired a big reservoir.
His name means sky and sea. When he reached enlightenment in his twenties, there was only sky and sea around him. So he decided to name himself Kukai.
Kukai was born in Kagawa Prefecture and moved to Kyoto to go to a university. Amazingly, there was a university system which was similar to the current university system. During this time he lived and studied near my current home. When I moved to current my home, I had forgotten this fact. But now I remember it, and that made me wonder.
When he was thirty, he was chosen as an envoy to China. Chinese records say that his Chinese was very fluent. It’s a mystery why he was chosen to be an envoy. But it reveals that he was a strategic and eccentric person.
When I was an elementary school student, I did not know why I aspired to be like him. But now I know. His faces, worldly, strategic and eccentric, are my faces, too. I unconsciously knew it, so I aspired to be like him. Now he often inspires me. His life give me some hints on how I should live.
Do you know that your big toes have seven pressure points corresponding to your head, nose and neck?
On the big toe, the area which faces the second toe between the interpharangeal joint and the metatarsopharangeal joint is for the neck. If you have some kind of neck pain, please massage this part gently.
The area facing away from the other toes, which is on the interpharangeal joint is for the nose. For improving hay fever, massaging this point will help you.
Other places in your big toe is all about your head except the ears and eyes. Pressure points of the ears and eyes are on other toes.
I think that most people think too much. While you are taking a bath in a bathtub, please massage your big toes gently and precisely every day. It reduces your headache problem, too.
These are simplified instructions. It’s actually a lot more complex. But I think that the first steps should be easy. So I won’t write those things. If you try it over one week every day, you will feel that massaging your big toes is helpful. In that case, you will seek the next steps by yourself.
Do you know where your sacrum is? It exists vertically between the coccyx and the lumbar region. Horizontally, it exists between the ilium bones and connected to the sacroiliac joints.
According to my experience, many coaching clients believed that the pelvis is made of one big bone. The facts are contrary to that image. The pelvis is made of many bones including the sacrum, the ilium bones, the sit bones, and the pubis.
Above all, you need to be conscious of your sacrum in your pelvis. For example, the second sacral vertebra of the sacrum is the key point for tuning women’s bodies. If you are a woman, tuning the second sacral helps to decrease your stress.
To decrease the effect of a burn injury, the second sacral vertebra of the sacrum is also a vital spot. The whole sacrum is deeply related to the genitals.
After you take back subtlety into your body, you can experience a vertical time travel by just standing on the ground or staying in some space. It is very similar to old Italian buildings. Some old Italian buildings were made in different eras, like Roman times, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Period the same as sections of layer cake.
We have dreamed of time travel for a long time, like time machines in comic books. But we can time travel without a time machine. And if you experience it, it’s not an easy experience. It is not so interesting and fun as it is tough and challenging.
Just a few of my clients have successfully approached this level because of their continuous sincere effort. If you truly can commit to it, I would be happy to coach you. You will start to take back subtlety into your body, and someday you will experience a true vertical time travel.
Although life expectancy has increased, the age at which people reach menopause has not changed. And as you know, when women reach menopause, estrogen production decreases.
This leads to a decrease in muscle strength. In addition, some tight fascia can prevent the pelvic floor muscle group from working well. In this case, myofascial release can help.
In addition, the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscle group work together. In other words, there is a close relationship between breathing and the movement of the pelvic floor musculature.
The pelvic floor musculature is composed of three layers. The most superficial layer is responsible for sexual functions such as vaginal tightening and erection. The innermost layer is responsible for controlling urination and defecation. Poor posture can result in poor control of urination and bowel movement. So, training the most superficial pelvic floor muscle group does not lead to better control of urination and bowel movement.
The composition of the pelvic floor musculature differs between men and women. In women, the pelvic floor musculature consists of twelve muscles. Men’s pelvic floor musculature consists of ten muscles. Since humans have become bipedal, our pelvic floor musculature is a collection of many muscles in the shape of a tunnel or dome.
This month, I attended an online symposium on nature. Fishermen and hunters spoke vividly about their experiences. They inspired me. And a fisherman who lives on an island shared with us that garbage washes up on the island. It shocked me.
He lives on the island which is designated as a national park and is located right at the entrance to the bay. The island receives 3,000 tons of garbage a year, including dead animals and lighthouses. Immediately I imagined a lighthouse lying on the beach in the morning. What do you think of it?
And he said that when he caught the best lobsters, he no longer wanted to wholesale them to the market because he could no longer ignore the unpleasure of being converted into money. Instead, he chose to send them to hunters who live upstream from the river that flows into the bay. He thought it should be the best option worth the effort of getting the best lobsters. Likewise, when the hunters caught the best boar, they sent it to the fishermen. I could sense respect for each other’s work.
I came up with ideas of writing a short story in English for my nephews as part of their Christmas gifts. Before, I have written short stories in Japanese for them as gifts several times.
When I get an idea, I act on it immediately. So I have already sent it to my nephews. However, I was concerned that I had only read a few children’s picture books in English. For example, I didn’t know what tense picture books use. I wrote them using the past tense. But should I have written them using the present tense?
So I went to a small, rural one-story library in my neighborhood. Surprisingly, there were English picture books. When I found the ‘Guri to Gura’ and the ‘Daruma-chan’ series in English, I couldn’t help smiling. They are among the most popular children’s books in Japan.
Anyway, I checked their tenses. It seemed that they used the present tense. The translations of onomatopoeic and mimetic words were also helpful. Above all, “Guri to Gura” and “Daruma-chan” which I read for the first time in decades, enriched my heart.
I am deeply grateful to the many people in Japan, USA, China, Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Germany, and Ecuador who read this blog this year. I am delighted to have met you through this blog.
From that place of appreciation and joy, I looked back at blog posts this year and noted the top three which were loved by readers. Were any in the following list included among your favorites?