Two years ago, after finishing University, I decided to start a blog. The idea was given to me by over 10 friends! These friends I believe were simply tired of my Facebook spamming. Also, I knew it was important to have an outlet to continue my writing and a platform to build a writing portfolio. So, here we are.
In addition to gaining many supportive followers (you know who you are ) who continue to love and encourage me day by day (often sending me private emails with links, videos and/or career advice), some other pretty magical things have occurred:
1. Two different media companies, after seeing my blog asked me to write for them (finally, paid writing gigs!).
2. I met Laura – a follower from Belgium who stayed with me in Japan and later I stayed with in Belgium. I want to tell you that when I explained my anxieties to my mother of letting a stranger into my home, my mother encouraged me to let go of my fear. How incredible is that? How incredible is she? Of course, I stalked the heck out of Laura’s blog and her Social Media pages before she came but still, I had no idea if she would be sane! Today, Laura is one of my bestestestest friends!
3. I met Lavanya – a follower from Switzerland. I stayed with Lavanya and her partner during my Europe trip. She was and still is, a huge inspiration. Seriously, it was as if God sent me these two angels (Laura and Lavanya) when I most needed them.
4.Yesterday I received an email from Victoria. Victoria is a Bahai from Canada. She is an RHN (registered holistic nutritionist) and has been offering eCourses for three years. She has just launched four new whole food, plant-based eCourses and has asked for my help in promoting them. If you’ve ever struggled with weight-loss, maintaining a healthy diet or you’re just curious about vegan and gluten-free food, I highly 110% recommend you check out Victoria’s resources. HERE is the link for her main website. And HERE is the link for the eCourses. I know how hard it is to publicise your passion but as my friend Kyle once told me, if you keep doing what you love, eventually people will notice.
…that every day is the best day in the year.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” (John Wesley)
“May I share with you a formula that in my judgment will help you and help me to journey well through mortality… First, fill your mind with truth; second, fill your life with service; and third, fill your heart with love.” (Thomas S. Monson)
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” (John Wooden)
Everyone has specific stuff they like. Some people like to spend their money on video games, some on cars, others don’t have any money to spend at all, I know this stuff. For me it’s salad packs and raw nuts. I am so happy here in the city. So happy to be around healthy foods and soy chai! So much so, that I’ve started feeling guilty about my new found goofy smile. I think, What’s the catch? I don’t want this chapter to end! I want to stay forever. Yuka, can I?
In other news, I have started learning a new tongue, the language of Manato-san:
Kan kan – rail way gate thingy
Mui mui – insect
Booboo – car
Bus – bus
Densha densha – train
Wanwan – dog
Jaja – sound of water
Naynay – no/finished
Juice – juice
Pictures from top to bottom: breakfast(homemade granola, banana, walnut, pistachio and cacao nibs), kale green smoothie, a quiet day at Umeda (Osaka station), city rooftop garden (12th floor), Studio Ghibli store, natural-food buffet at Moku-Moku farm on the 10th floor of Lucua (I had two plates AND dessert!), more city snaps, beautiful beautiful salad porn, a light dinner (goats cheese, smoked salmon, dill) and last, coffee with organic dark chocolate.
Vegan followers don’t be offended! And meat-enthusiasts don’t run away! (Or do-what are you doing here? I joke I joke). Last night I had the most delicious vegan dinner prepared by my dear sister and yoga sensei Akiko Tanabe. And after, I almost hit a deer. These animals are taking over.
Eggplant and green-bean tomato medley
Cucumber tomato and mint quinoa salad
Carrot ribbon, walnut, raisin and soft-dried apple salad
Lettuce, dried figs, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds green salad
Just because I photograph beautiful things and post inspirational quotes doesn’t mean I have it together. I’m struggling. Big time. I can’t wait to leave. Everything is so unnecessarily difficult here. None of these pictures show that though. Just like none of your Facebook friends’ photos show their reality. Life is not black and white. Sometimes it’s gloomy grey and sometimes it’s sparkling silver.
So I have a confession to make… I think it’s important you know…
Hehe did it work? Did you click the link thinking I was pregnant? Ha, well it’s pretty hard here without any human interaction. As much as I love Asian babies that isn’t my confession. Yet. I want to talk to you about food bloggers. I want to tell you that contrary to our beliefs, they don’t always eat everything they make. Like, all of the foodporn on their Instagram is often just that. After they’ve put a filter on it and shared it on the World Wide Web, they, like me, probably share it with their friends or only eat a quarter and pack the rest for later. Don’t be fooled y’all. Remember the old adage: “never trust a skinny chef.”
In other words, no one stays fit off sweet potato, medijool, cashew cream cake for dessert.
So I received the best gift ever. Like, I love it so much, I can’t stop thinking about. Handmade with local Japanese mountain Sakura (cherry blossom)! Wow wow wow! Friendships like these don’t come easy. This is why I travel. I love you my Israeli brother. @kodamaliving SO much talent! This, (not just the material thing but also the thought behind it) makes all of the trouble, all of the worries, the homesickness, the weight gain, the mosquito bites, the prejudice, the unfamiliarity, ALL worth it.
If you’re wondering about the 8th picture, it is preparations for a temaki sushi dinner. Which is basically, hand-rolled sushi/make-your-own sushi. Sort of like Mexican taco-night but with small square-cut nori (seaweed) sheets.
If you didn’t know, fruit is expensive in Japan. Like, 8-bucks-for-a-single-peach expensive. So, I may have spent my month’s grocery allowance already…And since I don’t get paid for this blog, unlike some other food-bloggers, I have had to alter my foodie-ventures. You might know (if you’re a regular follower) that I’ll be finishing up my contract in the Japanese countryside in less than 8 weeks… which means (note to self) I should be eating the things in my pantry instead of grocery shopping. So, I raided my pantry and made onigiri (rice balls). These specific ones are called sekihan 赤飯 which are usually white rice boiled together with red beans – though I used brown rice and too many beans (on purpose of course). They are a traditional Japanese dish and often served on special occasions throughout the year like birthdays, weddings and some holidays, such as Shichi-Go-San.
Further, I didn’t buy these flowers. I rode my bicycle at 5.30am, in the rain and picked these wild ones instead. There, I had the pleasure of receiving 3 vicious sand fly bites which have caused my ankles to become as large and round as my watermelon.