Find Your Treasure of Stuff of Faith at Shitennō-ji Buddhist Temple Sale in Osaka, Japan

Every 21 and 22nd of the month, there’s a fabulous temple sale at Shitennō-ji Buddhist Temple in Osaka, Japan. A combination of rummage sale and pilgrimage of faith and healing, you will find your treasure either way! Who pays retail and double tax?!?!? Not me!!!

1-11-18 Shitennoji
Tennoji-ku
Osaka
543-0051
Tel: 06 06771 0066

Free, however, there is an admission charge for the Gokuraku-jodo Garden and the Treasure House.

From Tennoji Station on the Midosuji Line, Tanimachi Line and JR Osaka Loop Line or in less time from the Shitennoji-mae-Yuhigaoka Station on the Tanimachi Line of the Osaka subway network 

Who Needs Paris When You Have Colombo Cornershop Books and Coffee in Osaka

Colombo cornershop books Osaka

Colombo Cornershop books in Osaka, fresh coffee and vintage books! Heaven!

Quaint, eclectic and bohemian can’t quite describe my second home in Osaka at Colombo Cornershop books and coffee, but it’s worth to keep trying to find the right word every time I visit.  In Shinshaibashi across from the Nanba shrine, Colombo sits on the corner and calls out Paris every time I walk by to do my favorite activity – browse for books and have a cup of coffee.

Some people like shopping at fancy department stores. Well I find that a bore and way to easy to just buy something off the rack. Hunting through second-hand stores like Colombo is quite the treasure hunt. Because true value is in finding the unusual. Plus, just the ambiance of cozy vintage over every shoulder in this tiny shop makes you feel a flashback to Paris in the 20s – a real authentic place infused with the soul of art.

Colombo Books Osaka

The owner, Takahiro, keeps a large supply of used and vintage foreign language books and magazines in English, German, French and Spanish in addition to Japanese. I spotted a book published by City Lights in San Francisco the other day.

colombo7

Existentialismbooks

Out on the street corner, I’ve picked up on occasion some great old books with titles on existentialism, philosophy, poetry, and some favorite authors’ works, like George Orwell, Virginia Wolff and Isak Dineson.

Recently I got a beautiful book in Japanese on plants and animal paintings of the Edo period.

catColomboTakahiro also sells art books. There’s everything from vintage photography books to a pocket book of Takahiro’s cats called Family Ties. 

Osaka Poet and Musician Jerry Gordon with his book of poems, Ghosts, at Colombo Books and Coffee in Shinshaibashi, Osaka, Japan.

Osaka Poet and Musician Jerry Gordon with his book of poems, Ghosts,

There’s also  local Poet Jerry Gordan’s book Ghosts. It’s a best-seller there, as an Australian woman beat me to his last copy, so he met me at the shop for a cup of coffee and an autographed copy of his hand-stitched and custom lithographed book of poems.

Colombo Cornershop Bookstore Osaka

Steve browsed the outside books and found a great old book on vintage postcards of diners.

There are other things for sale besides books and coffee, like socks, buttons, tiny things. And then some things aren’t for sale. I found a cool old zine but had to put it back when I was informed it wasn’t for sale –  just decoration, so you will need to ask to make sure if you can buy something!

 Best part about it is to hang out and see who is there. I met Jerry’s friend John who was having a cup of coffee and hanging out at the shop. Every time I drop by I meet somebody new, and learn a little bit more Japanese, as well as get some great books! It’s a great way to meet people and catch up on all things Osaka regarding arts, music books and more.

A real person runs Colombo Cornershop books, not a corporation!

                    Real poetry is to lead a beautiful life.
                    To live poetry is better than to write it.
― Bashō Matsuo

Colombo Cornershop books Osaka, Japan

For Health and Longevity, Turn to the Traditional Japanese Diet

There are few fat people in Japan.  Most Japanese ride a bike and walk, rain or shine, and walk up and down many subway steps. Also the Japanese diet is one of the healthiest in the world, resulting in the lowest rates of obesity amongst men and women. People who stuck to Japanese dietary recommendations of eating mostly fish, soy, rice and vegetables and a minimal amount of dairy and fruit had a reduced risk of dying early from heart disease or stroke, according to a recently study by the British Medical Journal.

miso soup Osaka, Japan

Miso soup with green onions a great breakfast start.

During my stay in Japan I have enjoyed getting to know, eat and start cooking with many of the healthy and delicious traditional Japanese foods that lend well to our vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.

Miso, fermented soy soup and seaweed and even salad made of vitamin and fiber-packed cabbage and daikon radish covered with goma, sesame dressing, or irodori gobou made from burdock and lotus root, are what’s for breakfast rather than fattening syrup drenched waffles or cream cheese covered bagels. 

For lunch and dinner there is an inexorable array of soy products such as tofu and natto, or adzuki beans as well as noodles and vegetables cooked in dark sesame oil, mirin and soy sauce. I also drink lots of antioxidant-packed green tea, soy milk as well as amasake.

Over the past 150 years, however, the Japanese diet has become a blend of traditional Japanese with Chinese and Western foods, which gradually found their way into the Japanese diet since the Meiji Period (1868–1912) and in force after World War II. The results added a more balanced diet with oils and protein, but there is also a downside to the Western diet’s influence in Japan.

irodori gobou

Irodori gobou, made from lotus root and burdock, another health breakfast alternative.

Upon his arrival in Japan, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan General Douglas MacArthur is said to have remarked, “I came to replace the Japanese diet of rice, vegetables, fish and miso with bread, butter, milk and ham.”

Wheat products, especially in the Japanese school lunch program, was increased. Meat eating also increased, as meat eating was considered taboo.

In April of the year 675 A.D., the Emperor Tenmu prohibited the killing and the eating of meat throughout Japan, and Christian missionaries in 1549 found that the people believed that drinking milk was basically the same as drinking blood, according to Researcher Zenjiro Watanabe.  Christians influenced the reintroduction of slaughtering animals and meat eating in Japan by the Edo era between 1603 and 1868. 

Daikon radish in grocery store, Osaka, Japan

Daikon radish in grocery store, Osaka, Japan

Although Europeans and Americans have gradually come to appreciate the benefits of a rice and fish diet, unfortunately the Western diet has lead to increasing obesity rates in Japan as well as lower life expectancy rates. While Japan’s obesity rate is 3.6%, the U.S. has a stunning epidemic of obesity – 40%! 

Japan in 2015 had held for three straight years the longest life expectancy in the world. Japanese women still hold this title of the longest life expectancy in the world at 86.8 years, but in 2017, Japan men’s life expectancy slipped to fifth place with life expectancy at 80.5 years. The United States doesn’t even rank in the top 20, coming in at 50th with 78.37 years.  

Diabetes is also on the rise, especially among Japanese men, due to more sedentary lifestyle, increased fat intake and obesity. Everywhere I look there is more and more junk food filling grocery stores due to globalization, and the sweet smell of baked goods from refined flour as well as fast-food and soft drinks are many of the carbohydrate culprits invading the healthy Japanese diet these days. Too much fats from meat and dairy are other culprits, as most Asians are lactose intolerant anyways, meat is proven to cause cancer, and dairy has its own host of illness related to its consumption.

Adzuki bean salad

My original recipe of adzuki bean salad with cabbage, daikon radish, carrot, ginger, green onions and goma dressing.

I will take the Japanese diet, thank you! With our vegetarian/vegan twist. Because the Japanese diet, Watanabe wrote, which contains mostly vegetables, rice and fish, was first recognized as generally superior to Western diets by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan in 1980 based on:

1: The 2,500-calorie diet of Japan in the 1980s provided the optimum nutritional balance, while the 3,200-calorie diet of Western nations was simply too much.

2: The Westernization of the Japanese diet following World War II reduced the excess carbohydrates and eliminated the deficiency in fats to provide the optimum nutritional balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

3: While the proteins found in Western diets are primarily animal proteins, the ideal nutritional balance of the Japanese diet is maintained with proteins derived from fish and vegetables.

May you be inspired to eat more like the traditional Japanese for health and more! I will be publishing detailed accounts of some of these Japanese foods I love so much as well as my original recipes I’ve created from them in future posts! Stay tuned!

 

Art and Meaning in Everyday Life at The Japan Folk Art Museum in Osaka

Japan Folk Art Museum Osaka

Japan Folk Art Museum

I am a folk junkie. I love folktales, folk art, folk music. Folk comes from the Old English folc, common people, men, or tribe; originating from the Proto-Germaic root of fulka with its modern German word volk, people. In an era where people’s cultures, crafts and minds are getting swallowed up by the mechanized, mono-cultural isolation of the smart-phone, I believe connecting to and preserving folk arts and crafts will save civilization.  

In search of folk art that leads to a beautification of the life of people and even a renaissance in these dark times, The Japan Folk Art Museum was one of the first stops on my list living here in Osaka.

A 10-minute walk from the Namba station in Nishi-ku, the Japan Folk Art Museum was established to preserve and promote the creation of Japanese traditional handicrafts, which have been developed over centuries and used in the daily lives of ordinary Japanese.

Japan Folk Art Museum  Osaka

Front courtyard of the Japan Folk Art Museum filled with ceramics.

The Japanese folk craft, or Meingi Movement, challenges the idea of what art is. It focuses on the overlooked beauty of art and crafts made by people that are practical and used in daily life. It espouses that art does not have to be something expensive and made by famous artists but made by average people to infuse their everyday life with beauty, art and quality. The Japanese believe the deep spirit of their culture is reflected in their art and their handicrafts have become world renown.

Ceramics in the Japan Folk Art Museum Osaka

Ceramics on display first floor

Muneyoshi Yanagi is widely accepted as the founder of the Japanese craft movement, which began around 1927.

Yanagi traveled around various areas in Japan and one of the first things to capture his eye was the folk Buddha, an Edo period sculpture called Mokujiki.

He gradually began paying attention to the honest beauty which he found in ordinary people’s handicrafts made by unknown craftspeople.

Yanagi’s son Sori Yanagi espoused the philosophy “Contemplate by hand; Create by heart.” I think that’s a lovely term, as the working with one’s hands and creating crafts and objects one uses in every day life really provide meaning and satisfaction in a mechanical world in which everything is done for people.

Textiles in the Japan Folk Art Museum  Osaka

Textiles on the second floor of  the Japan Folk Art Museum

Kogei are the traditional arts and crafts of Japan, which originally were seven categories: ceramics, lacquerware, dolls, woodwork, bamboo, textiles and metalwork.

These crafts became pots, cups, folk toys, even bento boxes and more which infuse everyday life with beauty and enrichment. Many of these examples filled the museum when I visited the quiet space, and the museum offers several exhibitions a year. 

A bento box exhibition was on display in the Japan Folk Art Museum when I visited. Osaka

A laquered bento box exhibition was on display in the Japan Folk Art Museum when I visited.

These handmade crafts are a nice offset to the Ikea or Wal-mart culture of mindless mass production and meaninglessness as well as a cure for melancholy, in my opinion.

For Mingei can also be seen as a response to Japan’s rapid industrialization, as it elevates things made in large quantity by the hands of the common people, rather than in a factory. In this way, it can also be seen as a method of cultural and historical preservation.

Japanese ceramic detail.

Japanese ceramic detail.

An example is the term boro, which means “worn down or ragged,” to describe a building or clothing, or it can refer to the tattered clothes themselves. It doesn’t focus on fine silk worn by the upper classes, but the aesthetics and beauty in the cotton and hemp clothing worn by peasants, especially in the northern territories of Japan.

It started during the Edo period, in which people found innovative ways to recycle and reuse everyday objects, primarily out of necessity.

Shaman's outfit hanging on the wall of the Japan Folk Art Museum

Shaman’s outfit, and example of boro, hanging on the wall of the Japan Folk Art Museum

 

I enjoyed meandering through the old wooden building, climbing up the narrow stairs and gazing at pottery, textiles, bento boxes and I especially loved the gift shop, which was replete with ceramics and fun folk toys.

I picked up a nice fish matryoshka made from washi paper, a toy top as well as some sturdy handmade dish towels made from recycled mosquito netting.

Kogei is experiencing a renaissance in interest from around the world as well as in Japan.  The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo is taking the initiative in promoting exhibitions and expanding marketing channels with the support of the National Museum of Art.

Apart from those central government affiliates, local governments are extending support to reinvigorate the kogei art scene as well.

A fish matryoshka made of washi paper I picked up at the gift shop at the Japan Folk Art Museum in Osaka.

A fish matryoshka made of washi paper I picked up at the gift shop at the Japan Folk Art Museum in Osaka.

Address: 3 Chome-7-6 Nanbanaka, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0011
Phone06-6641-6309
Open: 10:00 -17:00(The entering a building until 16:30)
Closed: Every Monday, Second Tuesday, Beginning of the year end of the year
Charge: Adult 500yen/Average(University・High school) 300yen/
Child(Junior High school・Primary school) 150yen

Japan Folk Art Museum Osaka

Nature Enthralls at Osaka’s Sakuya Konohana Kan Botanical Garden

Poster for the carnivorous plant exhibition at the Sakuya konohana Botanic Garden, Osaka, Japan Yoni

Poster for the carnivorous plant exhibition at the Sakuya konohana Botanic Garden, Osaka, Japan

Schizophrenics tend to live in cities, research shows.  Grow up in a city and you are more likely to have psychosis, and urban life can lead to depression and anxiety. Anxiety and busy being etymologically the root word of “business,” by the way.

Nepenthes ventricosa, a type of Venus fly trap endemic to the Philippines.

Nepenthes ventricosa, a type of Venus fly trap endemic to the Philippines.

No doubt, the constant stimulation of the mind, the hurry, hurry, go-go-go mentality of capitalism and its relentless economic matrix spun around personas congregating in cities never allow the mind to rest.

Ideas, information, social media that disembody us and take us to virtual realities not grounded in the here-and-now reality all can cause dis-ease. Sounds like insanity to me!

I love the city. I have loved living in Buenos Aires and now Osaka. I’m either in a city or a farm, never suburbia, which is especially soul-killing.

I remember my late sister, who was a reference librarian at the Parker, Colorado public library, told me in 2007 that the number-one book patrons checked out was Dave L. Goetz’s Death by Suburb: How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul.

The answer to soul-sucking city and suburbs? Nature. In Buenos Aires walking along the Rio de la Plata river’s lagoons and waterways lined with beautiful pampas grass in the  Costanera Sur Reserva Ecologia and other parks gave me and the kids a needed respite from this amazing, yet intense city.

Photo of man with the parasitic Rafflesia plant of South East Asia. Yoni plant

Photo of man with the parasitic Rafflesia plant of South East Asia.

And then we lived for 2 1/2 years on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands  communing with the depths of nature so much I could hear the banana trees growing.

It was great for me, until crime exploded and the island shut down because of the Hovensa Oil refinery closure, so we moved to Florida.

In Osaka I headed to Sakyuya Konohana Botanical Garden yesterday. Being here full-time for over six weeks I have missed my huge vegetable and flower garden back in Florida and the clarity it brings my mind to walk daily afternoons through it after writing all morning.

In Osaka I have purchased a few small plants and cut flowers from a local shop to decorate the house and satisfy my green thumb. Hana,花, is the word for flower in Japanese. But what really drew me to the Sakuya konohana Botanic Garden was the carnivorous plant exhibit that runs until September 9.

Barringtonia racemosa, Freshater mangrove, flowers in water.

Barringtonia racemosa, Freshwater mangrove, flowers in water.

The poster in the subway caught my eye. The graphic designer implicitly knew the plants resembled vaginas, yoni, and even had clitoris-like appendages. The posters were also in the subway cars. Now in the United States the Starbuck’s mermaid logo can’t even have a belly-button due to the ire of some Colorado Christian women who made the company take it out.

No such prudeness and fear of nature and life in Japan, where its culture is aligned with nature. Where sex is sex and bodies are bodies, roaming nude in the onsen hot springs is nothing sexual, it’s just nature. Nothing to be ashamed of or get uptight about. Marilyn Monroe got it right when she said, “Sex is part of nature, and I go along with nature.”

Phragmidpedium besseae orchid.

Phragmidpedium besseae orchid.

Nature is nature, and for whatever bizarre reason patriarchy and artificially contrived religions have intentionally obscured the original matriarchy cultures such as Greeks, Celtics and even Japanese Shinto to shame the natural world, the body and women is beyond me.

I’ve learned that Miko were originally priestesses but have been demoted over the centuries by the patriarchy, and Kabuki theatre even was originally played by women telling sexually bawdy songs and chants until men banned female performing to this day!

I’m sure it’s why we have endless war, militarism and machines doing everything. Sacred woman or nature is something to be destroyed and controlled, not to take pleasure in. Small wonder the Dionaea muscipula plant I bought at the garden has the common name of Venus flytrap – bringing up mother complex and her paradoxical mythological undertones. She’s the unresolved anxiety over sex and death. Mother Nature is the womb and the tomb. She’s not just a life-giver but also the devouring mother, a vagina with teeth. Carnivorous plants!

Enchinocactus grusonii, or Barrel cactus.

Enchinocactus grusonii, or Barrel cactus. Even called mother-in-law’s pin cushion!

But Psychologist Carl Jung said that a neurosis is just a God that is offended and hasn’t been listened to yet.

And in this case it’s the Goddess herself. Sacred woman, or sacred prostitute, an entire archetype that has been repressed in the recesses of humanity’s psyche, demonized and split off from itself and driving everyone insane.

Just read the newspaper headlines and it can’t be more clear, as North Korea fired a missile over Japan yesterday morning and Trump is more inflamed and insane than ever!

Now the plants at the carnivorous exhibit seemed very innocuous, even past their bloom this late in the show by the time I saw them. They weren’t the red-lipped plants with a gorged hood shown in the beautiful posters. There was a preserved display of a Rafflesia behind glass and some info on this parasitic plant found in SouthEast Asia that seemed to be able to devour a man looking at it in the poster. But that was about it.

Sakuya konohana Botanical Garden, Osaka, Japan

Sakuya konohana Botanical Garden, Osaka, Japan

The building itself is of gorgeous architecture, circular in design, spiraling upward through the interior gardens’ various ecosystems, from humid tropical plants and flowering trees to cacti of Australia to Arctic plants.

Exterior gardens found are a lotus pond, rock garden, English garden, Alpine as well as a useful plant garden. There’s also lovely hibiscus and frangipani, flowers I adored living in Florida and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

arnottianus

Hibiscus arnottianus

Just spending a few hours here gazing at greenery and flowers that has calming music playing suspends the mind’s ceaseless wanderings and ruminations.

The world of economics and politics, work or other mundane world activities cease, as nature divine and pitches you out into a sense of timelessness and renewal, relaxation and unity.

Even Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park reached by getting off at the Tsurumi-Tyokuchi subway exit, is a pleasure to stroll through, where there is a happy sight of dozens of moms and their preschool children picnicking beneath trees and splashing in a gorgeous fountain in the afternoon heat.  The park was the site of The International Garden and Greenery Exposition in 1990 that featured the beauty of flowers. The subway replete with mosaic tiles on the walls of butterflies and flowers, even at your feet.

Aligning with nature. It’s a good thing. Next time you think of your body’s physical health, think of your mental health too. Spend some time forest bathing or at a botanic garden near you. It will save your sanity or at least renew you to return to your urban abode refreshed, calm and relaxed.

nymphaea

Nymphaea – Water lily, named after the Greek nymphs.

Sakuya Konohana Botanical Garden

Open: 10: 00 ~ 17: 00 (Admission is until 16:30)

Closed: Mondays (next weekday in case of holiday) and New Year’s Holiday (December 28 to January 4)

Address: 2-163 Green space park Tsurumi-ku, Osaka 538-0036 in Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, Osaka, Japan. Take the Tsurumi-Tyokuchi subway exit.

Admission: 500 ¥ for adults. Free for junior high school students and below, handicapped (including one caregiver), and seniors over 65 who live in Osaka city.
Group discounts available.

Cactus flowers

Cactus flowers

Sakuya konohana

Tropical garden of the Sakuya konohana Botanic Garden, Osaka, Japan.

Detail of the parasitic Rafflesia plant of South East Asia.

Detail of the parasitic Rafflesia plant of South East Asia.

Grieving and Healing at the To-Kae Lantern Festival in Nara During Obon

Kofukuji Temple lit up with lanterns at the To-kae festival for Obon, Nara, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Kofukuji Temple lit up with lanterns at the To-kae festival for Obon, Nara, Japan.

Now I know why I was having dreams of my late sister, mother and father so much recently. It was Obon time in Japan, the Buddhist holiday equivalent of Halloween in the United States or Day of the Dead in Mexico.

It’s believed that each year during Obon, the spirits of ancestors return to this world in order to visit their relatives, who clean their graves, hold dances and pay their respects in their memory.

It was a national holiday and many people took off more time to travel and be with family.

Considering my father passed this June 24 and I have also lost my youngest sister and mother in addition to other loved ones, it was special to participate in the To-Kae lantern festival in Nara during Obon.

The festival ran for 10 consecutive nights August 5-10 around Nara Park, helping visitors to heal and feel warm. From walking among ancient stone lanterns or new paper lanterns by the thousands with tiny lights piercing the velvet black sky, it was one of the loveliest events I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was also a profound way to grieve and transform to healing by participating in the beautiful rituals among nature, community and historic monuments.

Women in kimonos among lanterns in Nara Park for Obon at the To-Kae festival, Nara, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Women in kimonos among lanterns in Nara Park for Obon at the To-Kae festival, Nara, Japan.

Obon is observed from the 13th to the 15th day of the 7th month of the year, which is July according to the solar calendar. However, since the 7th month of the year roughly coincides with August rather than July according to the formerly used lunar calendar, Obon is still observed in mid August in many regions of Japan, while it is observed in mid July in other regions. That’s about when the dreams of my late family began happening!

Festival goers pass through a torii gate at Nara Park for Obon at the To-Kae festival, Nara, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Festival goers pass through a torii gate at Nara Park for Obon at the To-Kae festival, Nara, Japan.

It took us less than an hour on the JR rapid train service to get from Osaka to Nara Monday night. Emerging from Nara station, we then strolled among the throngs of crowds dressed in gorgeous kimonos, men, women and children alike, as the wooden sound of their geta shoes trotted across the stone pathways around Nara Park to enjoy the lights.

Chochin at Nara Park, Nara, Japan.

Chochin at Nara Park, Nara, Japan.

It’s uniquely dark in Nara, not light-polluted like a lot of cities, so the feeling is sacred and profound as we walked among approximately 20,000 candles that were lit up by participants and volunteers.

At the To-kae festival it’s the season of fire, and not just because of the intense summer heat. Guests are invited to participate via ikyaku ittou – one person, one light.

Guests light their own lantern, place it on the festival grounds and cast a wish upon that lantern. People lit their own candle or lantern they received for a donation of 500 ¥ that is used to pay for next year’s candles.

Ritual is important to connect us to help us escape ordinary time into sacred time and be connected to the cosmos and renewal. Many ritual ceremonies with the use of candle flames and fire date back to ancient times, with ancient people believing that they could look deeply into their hearts through fire and pray to the deities. Today the spirit in flame represents a wish for world peace and well-being. Over 900,000 people join in the event every year.

Feels like Halloween night walking among the stone lantern-lined walkways of Nara Park leading up to the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine during To-Kae as part of Obon. Photo by Sydney Solis

Feels like Halloween night walking among the stone lantern-lined walkways of Nara Park leading up to the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine during To-Kae as part of Obon.

The word, toka in Tokae means “light flower” (to – light or candle, ka – flower) because the shape of the hollow around the burning wick and a candle’s melted remains are said to resemble a flower. The more that hollow and candle’s remains resemble a flower the luckier the lantern is and the more likely the lighter’s wish is to be granted. The word é means a meeting or a gathering. The Tokae, a gathering of fire flowers, could be seen as of the same spirit as the gatherings of families and friends at Obon to celebrate and appreciate the holiday and their history.

People at a chozubachi, water-filled basin, with wooden dippers for purification rite known as temizu. Nara, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

People at a chozubachi, water-filled basin, with wooden dippers for purification rite known as temizu.

Nara Park is one of my favorite places in Japan, with the gentle ubiquitous deer that used to be perceived as divine.

But it’s also surrounded by magnificent nature, primeval forest and World Heritage sites that were lit up, such as Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. A truly sacred place.

About 3,000 lanterns in the precinct of Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine have been offered over the centuries by a variety of worshippers, including aristocrats, samurai warriors and the general public, which include stone lanterns along the path to the shrines and hanging lanterns along the inner corridors with vermillion-lacquered columns.

Guests purchasing omadori, charms, at the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine during To-Kae, Nara, Japan. Photo By Sydney Solis

Guests purchasing omadori, charms, at the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine during To-Kae, Nara, Japan.

Lanterns are believed to guide souls back to their families, and indeed, walking among them I felt the presence of my loved ones who have passed on, including my grandfather, who died a POW in Japan during World War II. I believe in the retroactive healing of the ancestors, and the process of ritual such as these to grieve and remember are part of that healing for ourselves and them. That is the way to peace inner and outer. For unresolved grief can lead to anger and violence. Something our world really needs today to heal! 

Priest preparing and giving out chochin hana, flower lanterns, at the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine during To-Kae, Nara, Japan.  Photo By Sydney Solis

Priest preparing and giving out chochin hana, flower lanterns, at the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine during To-Kae, Nara, Japan.

When we approached the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine, priests and miko,shrine maidens, were giving out candle-lit paper lanterns, chochin, for a 500 ¥ donation to light the dark pathways. People purified themselves with water at a deer guarded chozubachi, water-filled basin, with wooden dippers for purification rite known as temizu, or wrote their wishes on omamori for good luck or prayers. All participatory consciousness for grieving, healing and renewal.

Miko, shrine maidens, at Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine, Nara, Japan.

Miko, shrine maidens, at Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine, Nara, Japan.

Chochin hana,” I heard the man behind me say as I stood in line to get a lantern. And I was so excited that I understood what he said! Heard it clear as a bell – lantern flower! My Japanese lessons are working! And what a beautiful word!

Strolling back we roamed in among people who had people paused joyfully to eat at one of the food stalls brimming with scents of curry and fresh bread, or dozens of other food scents, including choco-bananas, chocolate covered bananas, or sphere-shaped wata-gashi, wata-ame or candy floss, cotton candy to eat.

Japanese child with a choco-banana.

Japanese child with a choco-banana.

Returning home on the train back to Osaka exhausted, we had to stand up on the crowded train back, but it was worth it, because world was new again, my ancestors honored, and I had the pleasure of being with their spirits and memories one more time.

Which gave me great comfort in this world that can be so harsh at times.

My mind, heart, body and soul were much happier and healthier all because of this beautiful mindful event in Japan.

 

 

 

Passing through a torii gate in Nara Park during To-Kae.

Passing through a torii gate in Nara Park during To-Kae.

In Japan, Swastikas Are Symbols of Good Luck and Health, Not Hatred and Nazis

Buddhist Shrine with swastika lanterns in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Buddhist Shrine with swastika lanterns in Osaka, Japan.

In Japan the swastika is called the manji (卍). It is an ancient symbol of good luck and well-being.

The symbol was on maps in Japan to denote Shinto and Buddhist shrines and temples. I remember seeing it on Google maps the first time I visited Japan in November, 2016 and marveled at the impression this symbol made on my psyche.

And it had nothing to do with Nazis, but the power of activating the powerful seeds of healing and auspiciousness within me and my psyche. 

Shinto Shrine with swastikas in Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Shinto Shrine with swastikas in Kyoto, Japan.

Japan, however, decided to change the swastika to pagodas or torii gates in preparation for the for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The changes will not apply to Japanese-language maps, and there is no suggestion that the temples themselves should remove manji from their premises.

But it just doesn’t have the same effect, and we are all losing something within ourselves as a result, such as access to our inner lives via the mythic dimension that our psyches (psyche means soul in Greek) need and crave in these troubled times.

Swastikas on Shinto Shrine, Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Swastikas on Shinto Shrine, Osaka, Japan.

I love finding shrines with the swastika around Japan. I stumbled across one just the other day. Here are a few photos.  For more photos and information on the power of this symbol and how we can reclaim it to heal ourselves and the planet, visit my Mythic Yoga blog about the swastika.

Shinto Shrine with swastika near Nishikujo Station in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Shinto Shrine with swastika near Nishikujo Station in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

 

Buddhist Shrine with swastika near Dontonburi in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Buddhist Shrine with swastika near Dontonburi in Osaka, Japan.

Buddhist Shrine with swastika lanterns in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Buddhist Shrine with swastika lanterns in Osaka, Japan.

Shinto Shrine with swastika near Nishikujo Station in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis

Shinto Shrine with swastika near Nishikujo Station in Osaka, Japan.

We Are Learning Japanese, We Really Think So!

Japanese language orientation at Berlitz Namba location in Osaka, Japan with Tomoe.

Japanese language orientation at Berlitz Namba location in Osaka, Japan with Tomoe.

I love language. Having been denied fluency in the Dutch language from my late Dutch father, who spoke only English to us kids growing up, I was envious of my European cousins who spoke several languages and perfect English.

Determined to be a polyglot, I took four years of French in high school and received a minor in Spanish along with my journalism B.A. in college.

I worked in Ecuador and Mexico in journalism and was hired on the spot as a correspondent for the Bakersfield Californian as well as an English as a Second Language Tutor in Jefferson County Public Schools, Colorado because of my language abilities.

I tried to learn another language in my mid forties, such as Czech, the language of my mother’s ancestors, but looking at that foreign alphabet I thought, “Forget it! I will stick with Romance languages!” Besides, they always say the best time to learn a language is when a person is young, which has great benefits.

Week two learning Japanese at Berlitz, Namba, Japan.

Week two learning Japanese at Berlitz, Namba, Japan.

Babies who grow up bilingual have brain functions that are superior to those of monolingual children, because they have better “cognitive control,” said Dr Mariano Sigman, neuroscientist and author of The Secret Life of the Mind in an article with The World Economic Forum. Cognitive control has many aspects, he said, such as the ability to pay attention, the ability to plan and the ability to switch easily between tasks.

“One of the things most studied about bilingualism is this task-switching, and bilingual children consistently (outperform) monolingual children in this regard,” he said.

But age be damned! Steve is 58 and I’m 50. We feel like kids all over again, and our brains are better for it! We are remarkably actually learning Japanese! Even if it’s by taking baby steps. 

Writing some Japanese with Berlitz language courses in Namba, Osaka, Japan.

Writing some Japanese with Berlitz language materials and courses in Namba, Osaka, Japan.

Steve and I take lessons together at the Berlitz Namba location in Osaka, receiving 100 hours or lessons from his work. We had an orientation with Tomoe, whose name means a 12th Century Japanese female warrior, I learned from reading Michael Hoffman’s excellent book, In the Land of the Kami: A Journey Into the Hearts of Japan.

Tomoe suggested we take lessons twice a week to bolster the language, but we were good to start with two, 40-minute lessons back to back once a week, since Steve is a salaryman now, working 7 to 7 every day. Plus, it can be overload, as fun as it has been these past three weeks of our instruction.

Despite the challenges of learning Japanese, we are excited to know that adults who know another language can offset dementia, according to a study at the University of Edinburgh. “Early research indicated that the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders often appeared 4-5 years later than individuals who only spoke one language.”

Now we just have to memorize all of this, and more! Berlitz language instruction book, Berlitz Namba, Osaka, Japan.

Now we just have to memorize all of this, and more! Berlitz language instruction book, Berlitz Namba, Osaka, Japan.

Another study by York University in Toronto found that bilingual people’s brains function better and for longer even after developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that those who were bilingual had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about four years later, on average, than those who spoke just one language. And the bilingual people reported their symptoms had begun about five years later than those who spoke only one language, research showed.

So we are happy to know our midlife brains will be better for all this, even though the first lesson with our teacher was overwhelming with the immersion technique. But we hung in there, learning some words for nationalities and professions, and getting two big books and a CD to practice with at home, which we supplement with some apps.

I learned to count to 10 from a friend in high school who was half Japanese, but that was it. From my first two trips to Japan this year, I had learned to say in Japanese, “Good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight. Yes, no.” Little things like that.

At first it was overwhelming because of the culture shock, and I couldn’t even figure many words out until the third trip or apply it, my brain got so mixed up. My brother gave me one of his Japanese language books, and I picked out a few vocabulary words and grammar to try and memorize, and did. But there is nothing like immersion behind here in Japan. You can’t help but learn!

Broken egg and bird

Picture on the cover of the Berlitz Japanese language instruction book, Namba branch, Osaka, Japan. We feel like we are being reborn learning Japanese! The universe has amazing opportunities for us! Never imagined!

At the grocery store checkout line recently I distinctly heard the word, “Sumimasen,” and looked behind me to see two little kids who were excusing themselves so that they could talk to their mother, the cashier.

I understood! Another grocery worker smiled and said, “Genke desu ka?” Which I knew was, “How are you?” And I smiled, as in “yes!.” While trying to pay the water bill at the local Lawson’s store, the man shook his head, said something and also said the word, “ginko.” which I learned from class as “bank.” So I realized I couldn’t pay the bill there, I had to go to a bank because it was late or something.

I had also gone to some festivals, including the Tenjin Matsuri, which means festival of the gods. Watching Japanese TV can be a handy to learn, so watching a show on TV about festivals, I picked out the word, “matsuri” and later other words I’ve learned. Or when I hear the sound “ka” it means a question is being asked.

BerlitzI made friends with a housekeeper at the hotel we stayed at early on and have been hanging out with her. She taught me a few words, as has going to the Japanese chiropractor every Friday I try out new words on him from the classes or learn using Google translate during the session.  Exciting and fun! I can just feel those brain cells bursting with fresh connections!

Now originally we elected to learn Romaji only, the phonetic sounds with Roman letters of Japanese language, which consists of Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Tomoe said it’s actually harder to then learn the Japanese symbols if you start this way rather than dive in.

But we thought let’s take those baby steps. In many ways Japanese is easier than Romance language, as there is no gender like Romance, which always messed me up. Also the vowels and consonants in Japanese are sounded the same every time. Although it can be difficult too with the sheer number of symbols, vowels and consonants, and the complex system of verb forms and vocabulary that indicate the relative status of the speaker, the listener, and persons mentioned, as well as different sets of words for different uses of numbers. BRAIN BUSTING!

But that’s what’s fun about it. Some people do crossword puzzles, we are learning Japanese! As we did elect to learn some Hiragana the second class, and it felt like being in kindergarten all over again, writing out and pronouncing vowels a, i, u, e, o, or consonants ka, key, ku, kay, ko, putting them together to make words. I make up silly sentences via mnemonics to learn! But we just practice and try words and conversations out on people in the elevator – just communicating, which is a great joy.

It’s good to know too that even Japanese people can’t read the old Japanese languages that are on some of the shrines around Osaka. And luckily a lot of foods are printed with English and Google translate is a godsend. Of course good old fashioned sign language and body language can do wonders to communicate.

Our latest class today really busted our brains and tongues starting out, but with the immersion we started to think and understand. We are here for at least three years it seems with Steve’s work. So we have plenty of time. And every day as I venture out and connect to the Japanese world, it’s wonderful language and culture just sinks in via Japan’s rich customs, festivals, food and never ending amazing people.

Kampai! We are reborn! 

 

Paprika Shokudo Vegan Restaurant in Shinmachi, Osaka City

Paprika Shokudo Vegan Restaurant in Shinmachi, Osaka CityWe discovered the Happy Cow app. And how happy we are! It’s a lifesaver to find vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Osaka.

Where at first we found it difficult to find any, the app provided quite nicely, helping us to discover Paprika Shokudo Vegan Restaurant conveniently just 100 meters from our apartment in the Shinmachi neighborhood! Good karma must have brought us there!

We have been there twice so far. It’s a quaint place decorated country style, indoor outdoor seating, plenty of greenery and very friendly staff who can speak some English rather well. From the sign outside it reads food made without salt, sugar, GMOS, meat, fish, milk, eggs or chemicals. Sounded good to us! Pretty insane anybody eats any of that stuff to begin with!

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Not that I don’t eat ANY dairy. My father is Dutch, and we grew up eating lost of cheese!  But I can feel dairy’s effects on me, showing up in my skin, extra mucus and general feeling clogged. Dairy and meat eating has also been related to depression, allergies and even bipolar disorder. So I do what I can and consider myself “Mostly Vegan.” Plus it’s good for the planet! Considering meat eating is destroying it!  I just can’t participate in that sort of destruction!

Cannabia pilsner beerStarting out we’ve had Sun Sun organic blonde ale beer by Yo-Ho Brewing Company in Nagano, or even organic Cannabia pilsner beer made by Kronenbrauerei Rudolf Wahl KG in Germany.

Considering  for the Shinto-Religion, Cannabis Sativa L. is the holiest plant to harmonize one with nature, makes sense! Of course you won’t find much harmonizing with nature or Cannabia beer in the United States! Freedom is the biggest myth over there!

The Cannabia beer tastes just like hemp! Tasty, but a bit pricy at 850 ¥ a bottle. We figure we are supporting a good cause – vegan restaurant! There is a large selection of vegan food, including pizzas and pastas.

Vegan deep fried oysters

Vegan deep fried oysters with organic salad, soup and brown rice.

We’ve had some of the Dinner set meals, which come with soup, organic salad and organic brown rice. We tried and loved the deep fried oysters made from mushrooms and tofu, at 1780 ¥.

It came with a nice fresh side of lemon juice and it tasted just like real oysters! No overfishing needed!

Considering the fact that Japan is calling for emergency restrictions on Pacific tuna catches due to overfishing, GEE! Maybe it’s time to stop!

Back in the states we regularly ate Gardein’s Crabless Cakes by the boatload. Super tasty just like crab cakes and guilt-free! OK we broke down and ate some tuna at a Sushi automat out of desperation a couple of times. But we know better now! Cause it makes Steve sick. And for the B vitamins, extra care is needed, like adding some nutritional yeast, which gives me a headache so I can’t eat it.

Sitting out on the patio when it's cool in the evening, enjoying some great Vegan food!

Sitting out on the patio when it’s cool in the evening, on these hot summer Osaka nights!  Enjoying some great Vegan food at Paprika Shokudo Vegan Restaurant in Shinmachi, Osaka City, Osaka.

But you have to do what works for you. I mean, survival means eat whatever you really think you need! I think eating clean, humanely raised and slaughtered meat or dairy and fish if you must works fine too.

I had twice the Today’s set meal at 1690 ¥, which included a vegetable and gluten dish covered with melted soy cheese. On another night, the set was Japanese curry, topped with crispy french fry like things. My favorite and not spicy, even though I lov spicy.

Again, delicious, clean food that gives you a clear feeling in the body to eat. It’s pricey, but not really, considering it’s Osaka and this is serious good food! Well worth it!

 

vegan food Shinmachi Osaka

Soy meat yakiniku donburi (rice bowl with stir fried soy meat with yakiniku sauce.)

On another occasion we also tried the soy meat yakiniku donburi (rice bowl with stir fried soy meat with yakiniku sauce.) at 1190 ¥. Tasty! And everything so lovely presented.

Of course there are tons of vegan desserts, like soy baked cheesecake and soy milk soft ice cream.

Vegan Vibes is a sub-business featured out of the restaurant, that sells T-shirts and other things.

The restaurant also offers a pile of magazines to peruse too, including the Japanese Veggy magazine.

And the great thing is that there is a vegan/vegetarian party the third Saturday of the month, featuring a buffet for 3000 ¥ and a drink for 400 ¥. Opening at 6:30 pm, starting at 7 until 10 pm. We have been taking Japanese lessons, so it will be a great opportunity to try our skills out sometime!

Japanese Veggy magazine

Japanese Veggy magazine

Paprika Shokudo Vegan Restaurant in Shinmachi, Osaka City

Address: 1F Alivio Shinmachi BLDG. 1-9-9 Shinmachi
Nishi-ku, Osaka City, Osaka

Phone: 06-6599-9788

Hours: 11:30AM – 2:00PM, 5:30PM – 10:00PM

@Papurika.vegan

Facebook: 

Paprika Shokudo Vegan Restaurant Osaka, Japan

Today’s set of Japanese curry. My favorite and very delicious! Not too spicy, even though I love spicy, just at my age spicy doesn’t like me!

Don’t Go to a Western Doctor! Go to Japanese Chiropractic Reflex in Shinmachi, Osaka for Real Healing!

Japanese chiropractor

Yoshiyasu Ueda of Reflex Chiropractic in Shinmachi, Nishi-Ku, Osaka-Shi, Osaka, Japan

The first time I went to a chiropractor in the United States was in 1996. I had a slipped disk in my low back, the X-Ray at the Bakersfield, California clinic showed. The chiropractor proceeded with the session, putting me on all sorts of machines that seemed to do what yoga did. Then on the table “crack!’ the sudden snapping the chiropractor administered me scared and shocked me so much I cried out loud in tears. I never went back.

I cried again when I decided to try out the Japanese chiropractor on my street here in Osaka. I cried back at my apartment not in fear, but in joy and gratitude, for finally someone understood what was wrong with me and begin to heal me when no other Western doctor could.

Let me tell you my story. Yoshiyasu Ueda runs Reflex Chiropractic on my block in Shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Osaka-Shi. What I experienced was so different than any therapy I’ve ever had. Walking around Osaka, I have noticed these small chiropractic clinics around, and many locals stopping in for a session. My sacroiliac joint was out on my left side and bothering me with low back pain, so I thought, let’s give this a try!  IMG_0304

I am trained in yoga therapy, and practicing hatha yoga has done me a lot of good for everything from herniated disks to car accidents and post-traumatic stress, but I’ve been teaching kids yoga for 14 years, so apparently I know nothing!

I had a couple of sessions of acupuncture in 2005 by Western practitioners, but it didn’t do what Ueda at Reflex did for me!

And as for the Western doctors, even with so called “great insurance” I get via my husband’s work, that insane nightmare will take an entire blog post to tell you what happened, even recently trying to get help!

In all fairness, my son went to Palmer Chiropractic Clinic in Port Orange, Florida four years ago to get a school physical, and the school offered low-cost adjustments for kids. I had sent him to an Outward Bound program and he came back with a hurt back. I thought, “Oh, my god! I sent him out to be a man, and he came back an old man!” The chiropractor there did their snapping and cracking and removed the pain, he said. I just was too terrified to do that snap, crackle, pop again!

So at Reflex in Osaka, I used Google translate on my I-Phone to fill out his intake sheet best I could. Relating that I have had a lot of stress and been having headaches and more from many things – my father died the day I moved to Japan. Then I had to go back to the U.S. a week later, then back to Japan. There’s stress of moving to a new country, not knowing the language, being isolated, and then there’s Osaka’s summer heat! SWELTERING!

I changed my outside shoes at the door for the white indoor slippers and then into the provided T-shirt and loose slacks in the changing area. Ueda doesn’t speak much English, but enough to function well and say basics of movements to turn up or down on the chiropractic table, which looks like a massage table. I knew to use some isometric holding and resistance to his movements when he said, “Hold, please,” so that was helpful beforehand to know what to do.

Japanese chiropractor

I was shown different pages of his book with the English word.

Some nice aromatherapy misted in the background, as did some new-age sounding Japanese music that was soothing and relaxing.  During the first session, not knowing anything about his work, it felt like a cross between some Thai massage, Chinese medicine and acupressure, and even some rolfing, structural integration, which I’d had a complete series twice in my life, considering it originated in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. I have a high threshold for physical pain as he broke up some very tense muscles in my left leg, which some people may not be able to handle, but he can use other techniques if you can’t.

Then he flipped through a big bilingual reference book to show me the English words for what was up. “Tight, adductor” on my left thigh. “Tight hamstrings,” something I’ve had my whole life no matter how much yoga I did. My sacroiliac joint and walking around Osaka a lot likely contributed to that.

He didn’t use electric appliances at all. All the treatment was done by his incredibly strong hands alone, which is not how things are in the United States. He worked up from my feet, legs, having me flip over occasionally, “Up, please. Down, please,” No cracking! No snapping! No sudden movements that would freak me out! It was relaxing. He then worked on my head, throat and neck, where it felt good to relax as he worked.

What he did next amazed me. He sprang up and flipped through his book, “Large intestine.” Next page flipping, “Small Intestine.” Flipping through more pages, “Valve syndrome.” In a flash I remembered a problem that started about a year after my first husband died 14 years ago. It hasn’t been bothering me lately, and I didn’t even imagine a chiropractor could treat it so didn’t mention it as I had forgotten about it. How did he even know?!?!

IMG_0306

Very motivated to learn Japanese!

Thirteen years ago I had gone to a Western Doctor who didn’t even look me in the eye when he spent the 15 minutes with me and ordered an ultrasound in the appendix and liver area where I was having this inflammation pain. An assistant of his called me a week later with the results saying, “You have kidney stones. “Drink more water.”

I took that to heart in the dry Colorado environment I spent my whole life in, going on cleanses, drinking parsley tea and tons and tons and TONS OF WATER! Still the pain persisted, and considering how impersonal the whole thing was, I swore to go to alternative medicine, like an Ayurvedic doctor from then on. She helped me enormously in many ways, especially adult acne I always suffered from and changing my diet and lifestyle. She knew my liver was congested, and my body’s vitality was low. I also did blood tests with a regular doctor in Buenos Aires, Argentina when I lived there in 2010 who confirmed a congested liver.  My nurse midwife who I had always gone back to for my annual exams until she retired, gave me to closest clue what was going on. That it was my ascending colon and that there was a kink or something which food was getting stuck, she said. Plus adrenal overload from all my stress.

Japanese Chiropractor Reflex, Shinmachi, OsakaSo I was astonished that Ueda in Japan knew what was going on internally, just by feeling my head, glands, pulse, etc! A lot like Ayurvedic doctors can tell from your pulse. He also pointed out, “Lungs – metal, Kidney – water.”  I thanked him profusely after my first session, and booked another for next Friday, same time!

I went home to research it all. The ileocecal valve is often overlooked by doctors. It can be caused by a great deal of emotional stress, such as I have had. It is a sphincter muscle situated at the junction of the ileum, (last portion of your small intestine) and the colon (first portion of your large intestine.) Its function is to allow digested food materials to pass from the small intestine into your large intestine It can cause a whole host of problems if it’s not functioning correctly. Like all of mine! Like overloading the liver and more.

We communicated via Facebook too, as easier to write and have it instantly translated via computer. Also Google Translate on the I-phone is amazing tech. Ueda started studying chiropractic 17 years ago and in practice for nearly 12, he explained. He majored in chiropractic applied kinesiology and in 2015 acquired qualifications for acupuncture and moxibustion treatment.

He outlined his procedures and what he thought was going on with my body. He mentioned my adrenal glands and fatigue were likely contributing to my hot flashes (and I thought it was menopause, among other things going on with me. Menopause symptoms caused by stress in which adrenal glands can’t function any more and allow ovaries to produce estrogen, I researched online. There’s no such word in Japanese for “hot flash!” These things are not normal parts of menopause! It’s a stress nightmare out there! Relax everybody!

The second session I booked for two hours, and the first thing he did was show me a skeletal form of the foot, and had prepared in English beforehand that my left foot had some kind of sprain or trauma in past. Once again, in a flash I remembered something I had forgotten about. Something I hadn’t thought about in 45 years was when I was 4-years old I sprained my ankle stepping out of a shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico when we lived in Albuquerque. Obviously it didn’t heal right or my mother didn’t follow up with the doctor. She was that type of mother. Same thing with my orthodontics. She stopped them, but I have some TMJ that has caused a lot of facial pain over the years, and more! So it’s been amazing. No one else has ever pointed this out to me. They just threw prescription drugs at me! Which I take none of. Things are related! One part of the body affects the others. Or your nervous system, adrenal glands, ankles – you name it! Holistic approaches work! 

He also manipulated the area of the small and large intestinal valve, and my naval area. Again, I had forgotten that I had a herniated belly button, likely related. I never realized a chiropractor could do so much! I thought it was for the spine and bones, but it’s all related! I had told a Western doctor a few months back about the herniated belly button and she said, “So, it’s a herniated belly button.” I ditched her and went to another doctor. Guy didn’t even address it!

After my second session with Ueda at Reflex  I woke up the next day without a migraine, my face and neck feeling good. My back feels great and things feeling overall balanced. I still have healing work to do, and am back to restorative yoga. But here I watched from Japan the insane nightmare of the Health Care debate in the U.S. Poor Americans! If only they could benefit from the great Universal Health Care in Japan and other parts of the world the U.S. encourages!  My insurance via my husband says, chiropractor covered 100% and I can go to anybody I want, but if I go to the U.S. and need a doctor, have to go to their “In Network” doctors. So much for freedom! SICK!

According to an article in The Atlantic, “Dating back to the Marshall Plan in post-WWII Europe, General Douglas MacArthur’s 1945-1949 occupation of Japan, and then the Korean War, it has been a matter of U.S. foreign policy to invest in the creation of universal health systems. More recently, the Marshall Plan was cited by AFRICOM in support of a Department of Defense engagement in health systems construction across Africa. This year, South Africa was the number one recipient of health aid from the United States, totaling nearly $470 million, much of which is supporting the country’s 14-year program to build universal health coverage.”

Of course, you must make up your own mind about which health care doctor to visit, as everybody has individual needs. But If you are an expat or Japanese or ANYBODY who wants high-quality health care at an affordable price that gives you relieve without all the gobbledygook mess of  “in network” doctors who just want to pump you full of pharmaceuticals and are just in it for the money, visit Reflex! Ueda Yoshiyasu is truly concerned about healing you! I can’t wait for this Friday’s session!

Of which I must say, to update this, he did do a “thrust” as the Google translate called it, for my mid thorasic area where a yoga teacher had pointed out to me before where I as “Stuck.” But Ueda asked permission first to prepare me, and it was completely different, using his whole body behind mine on the table. So there is some popping, just not scary as I experienced it in the West!

Reflex Chiropractic

Osaka City Nishi-ku Nishi-ku Nishimachi 1 – chome 21-3 Kobayashi Building 1 – E

Phone: 06-6536-1418

Business hours: Monday from 11 am to 21:30 Tuesday 11: 21: 30 Wednesday from 11 to 21: 30 Closed on Thursday Friday from 11 o’clock to 21:30 Saturday from 11 to 21: 30 Sunday from 11 to 21: 30