Friday, December 14, 2012

Making the Persimmon Leaf Tea

Hello, how are you?

Do you know persimmon leaf tea?

I've never known that before I had it here.
It is dark color and a little bit sweet.
It's a good flavor! ( Actually it has a lot of Vitamin C.)

This tea is made from persimmon tree in Sanae's garden!
She makes tea by herself.
She makes!!

I'd like to introduce about the persimmon tree and some trees in her garden:)

This is a persimmon tree. Most of leaves have already fell down.
I picked up these leaves and washed them one by one.
I could wash properly because leaves were strong.
And then, I wiped them one by one, and put in baskets for the drying.
It took a long time.

These leaves are very pretty!
I've never notice that persimmon leaves are so beautiful,
even though there is a persimmon tree in my parents' garden.
I want to try to make the tea next autumn in Japan.

There are many trees which have fruits.

This is an orange tree.
Oranges are huge!
That looks really heavy.

This is a lemon tree.
It's a bright yellow, very fresh!

This is an avocado tree.
There are some avocados.
Viva Santa Monica!!

Seed sell persimmon leaf tea only in the holiday term.
It's lovely!!

I appreciate the blessings of nature.
I hope you enjoy the tastes of the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My first Macrobiotic cooking class

Hello!  I'm Aya, from Japan.
I'm staying at Macrobiotic Studio mugen in Santa Monica (It's next to Eric and Sanae's house.) since the end of Nov.
It had been raining when I arrived in Santa Monica.
It was good weather yesterday, but it looks like rain today :(


This is a neighborhood around Studio mugen.  It is very quiet and beautiful area.
These trees are really tropical to me compare to Japan because branches and roots are interesting shapes.

BTW, This is the first Macrobiotic class of 12 series.
I'd never learned Macrobiotic cooking before I came to Santa Monica,
so it was my first experience.
It was lectured about Macrobiotic thinking and truth, and then I learned how to cook brown rice.
Even though it is all called "Brown rice", actually there are many different types.
Many natural markets in America sell grains and beans by weight, so we can buy small amounts.
It is very convenience!

This compared the different type of brown rice and pots, which were a stainless steel one, a pressure cooker and donabe (ceramic pot).

When brown rice cooked, there were a lot of holes.
This was a sign of delicious rice!
Wow! It was good smell :))
Sanae made Goma-shio. (sesame and salt)
Goma-shio is traditional Japanese food, but I've never made Gomo-shio by myself because we usually buy it at a store.
We washed sesame seeds, toasted and ground them.
It took a long time, but was so nice smelling and very tasty!
It was amazing!!

I think Macrobiotic use common foodstuffs and cook in simple ways.
It's important that we make by hands.

My Macrobiotic life started this day.
I'm a just beginner in Macrobiotic and also blog.
I try to learn it and share my experiences.
( My English is not good, so it's a challenge!)

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seed Kitchen 4 year Anniversary!!!

After the beautiful rain the sun showed up as thought it was just for our 4 year anniversary. Eric made 300 cupcakes for the cerebration.
We thank you so much for coming to Seed Kitchen anniversary event last weekend. Over all more than 200 people came!!! 

We had so much fun with many people. 

Here are the photos!!!

Morning was cloudy from the rain we had all night, but we went to hike and saw this foggy Santa Monica and Venice beach..... 


As we were going to Seed Kitchen's 4 year anniversary there was sun light!!!!


At Seed Kitchen 4 year anniversary cerebration!
Eric and Sanae with sign of anniversary

Eric's anniversary cupcakes:

All day so many people were coming and going:

Cassandra Tondro’s green art was beautiful and inspiring. People had many questions about how she started Green Arts and how she created them. She was very informative and engaging.
Cassandra Tondro’s website:


Receipe Menu Contest:

Sanae talking to people her 100% organic skin products

Sanae's 100% organic vegan scrub and cleanser
Scrub & Cleanser

Trying out the scrub and cleanser

Eric with his delicious healthy beautiful cupcakes

Thank you so much for coming and supporting our 4 year anniversary!!!!

Eric and Sanae

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LA Macrobiotic Conference 2012

The first Los Angeles Macrobiotic Conference was held Saturday, October 13, 2012. 
The conference featured many leaders in the macrobiotic community and was supported by a variety of macrobiotic-oriented vendors.

Our Seed Kitchen was catered Lunch and Dinner for 55 people.
Eric and I also did our cooking class.

We also set up as a vendor and Pamela Buonanotte helped us to introduce and sell our products: Seed Kitchen's cookies, Croissant,  Atlantic Sea vegetables,  Eco-green Bamboo Utensil set, organic dog treats and shampoo, our cookbooks and my macrobiotic skincare line and dog shampoo etc.
It was fun and everybody had good time.

We thank Danny Kessler and Jeanne Beveridge and Patrick Grosset to put all this conference to be success and all the people who patisipate and support this event in LA.
We hope to be a part of this even many more years!!!


Seed 1_LA Macro Conf 03 Registration: Danny Kessler

Seed 3_LA Macro Conf 011 Seed Kitchen's vendor table 

L1050800 My Macrobiotic Skincare products: Sea Vegetable Scrub and Whole Grains Cleanser - 100% Organic, Vegan and Gluten free!

IMAG0751 with Pamela Buonanotte

L1050810 Lunch by Seed Kitchen

L1050808 Serving Lunch 

Seed 7_LA Macro Conf 033 Cooking class Roasting Millet

Seed 14_LA Macro Conf 040 Cooking class with Eric

IMAG0754 Julia Ferre' and Jessica Porter

L1050814 Dinner by Seed Kitchen

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer in Manzanita Lake and Creek side


Our favorite thing to do in the summer has been going to Manzanita lake and Whisky Creek of Cascadel Woods in North Fork, California.
is at the exact center of California. 

It is at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Yosemite National Park.  
North Fork is at an elevation of 2638 feet (804 m), 9.89 miles (15.92 km) miles south east of Bass Lake and 14 miles (23 km) from Oakhurst
We found North Fork through our meditation practice of Vipassana center in North Fork in 2008 and have been going there every two months or more to gate a way from the city.


Manzanita Lake is a small lake only about a mile long and perhaps a couple hundred yards wide but this little-known jewel is great for fishing and relaxing for people and a great swimming spot for dogs, especially our brood.  When I first time saw this lake in 2008 I thought I had found paradise!
Manzanita Lake is well hidden from the roadway leading to the lake and is completely edged with vegetation and trees. This makes the lake a fine place to canoe / kayak while fishing or watching birds.
In recent years a few pairs of Canadian Geese have been nesting and raising their young there. The geese and assorted ducks can often be hand fed according to the locals. Osprey, Red-tailed Hawks, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Red-winged blackbirds can also be seen. The lake is regularly stocked with trout and has large- mouth bass as well.
The stream that feeds the lake offers a fine upstream paddle that's not difficult and gives you a bit of exercise. The water ways meander around little islands of wild growth and trees. A few well placed sand bars give you an opportunity to park your vessel and watch birds or simply take in the sounds of the running water. 



Whisky Creek of Cascadel Woods
The elevation is 3,648 feet. It is a little higher than North Fork. Cascadel Woods is very good for hiking. Whisky creek is a good place for dips on a hot day. We just love to take our dogs there to hike and dive in the cold mountain water.
There are the photos from summer.


KIJ correspondence certificate cooking class


We have been privileged to offer KIJ (Kushi Institute of Japan)’s macrobiotic certificate correspondence course from our Studio mugen in Santa Monica since 2007.
It is a course taught in Japanese. 
I wish this kind of course were available when I started to learn macrobiotics in 1993.
This summer only two students competed the basic program, but we decided to continue to offer the course, consisting of cooking in the morning and lecture in the afternoon.
If you know any Japanese who is interested to take the course please recommend what we are offering.

These are the photos from the last KIJ course.  


Vipassana Meditiaion

I was searching for some type of meditation for a long time, especially after I started macrobiotics in 1993. It was something like a mission for me.  
I tried several meditation styles and took classes and read books, but nothing really connected with me.
I heard about the 10-day silent meditation, but nobody seemed to know exactly what was and where it was. Back then there was no internet system to search for just about anything.  

In July 2001, I was talking to a long-time macrobiotic friend in Massachusetts who, it turned out, had done this10-day silent meditation, called Vipassana medication. The more information I got, the more I felt this was the meditation I had been searching for.  I contacted the Vipassana office in North Fork, California and made arrangements to attend when I came back to California.
Unfortunately, I did not make it back to California safely. I had a life-threatening car accident in Arizona on September 8, 2001. I was bedridden for a whole year, and then in a wheelchair for three years, so I was not able to sit in a normal meditator position.  But my wish to meditate grew bigger, and I was determined to find a way.
I was able to go North Fork, California for my first Vipassana meditation practice on September 8, 2004, the very same day of my car accident. I felt as if I was going through a rebirth after having sustained the injuries and trauma.  Recovery was not easy and took a long time, and it's hard to believe it has been 8 years since my first 10-day Vipassana meditation 
The meditation practice is to build muscle of my mind and deal with daily worries and other thoughts which come and go constantly. The practice is sit and close the eyes and simply see and/or feel as things come and go, which is not easy to do in our busy lives. My life has been very active, even with my injuries and bout of cancer in 1993.  My husband Eric and I have been teaching and preparing vegan macrobiotic food, have published books independently and opened a vegan macrobiotic restaurant --Seed Kitchen-- in Venice, California in 2008.

The biggest challenge for me is to find a balance in dailylife.  The Vipassana meditation has been helping me to balance out my life. I know things change all the time, and I am learning everyday to see the life as it is whether I can see it calmly, or not so calmly.
I have been able to take four 10-day courses so far and have been going to North Fork as often as possible for the last eight years, mostly to visit the Vipassana center.  I just came back from a 3-day course, which I thought I was able to get much benefit out of because of its brevity, but I was wrong.  Although it was short, it was the refresher that I needed.  I am very grateful for the Vipassana meditation practice.

Once a month, I offer simple meditation space adjacent to our home office, so if any of you are interested in practicing, please join us.  

This from Vipassana Meditaion website

Vipassana Meditation

The Technique

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.
This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.
Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
The scientific laws that operate one's thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.

Here website of North Fork Vipassana center
International Vipassana website

Friday, July 27, 2012

Amazing French Meadows Macrobiotic Camp Part 3.

Miracle 11 miles & Japanese Tea Ceremony

After I came back from the French Meadows Macrobiotic Camp I realized how amazed and inspired I was by being 5600 feet up in the mountains with the delicious nourishing food cooked by so many wonderful, caring people on wood burning fires.

The entrance to go to French Meadows Macrobiotic Camp by George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation (G.O.M.F.) 

One week of total immersion in nature without internet or phone and just being present made me feel powerful, amazing and totally FREE. I feel I am amazing, not in an egoistical or narcissistic way, but in a humbling way.  I am still freeing the magical moments!!! I am so grateful that I am able to write and share them with you.

I have attended many conferences and risen early to do yoga, taichi, do-in and mediation. I've also undergone 5 to10 days of silent vipassana meditation in nature, gotten up at 4 am, meditated for 10 hours a day, eaten simple food etc.  
But this camp was different...

Miracle hike: I was able to hike 11 miles to the waterfall. I had resolved after I saw this year's first sunrise during a hike that I am going to practice walking with more vigor and determination. 

On September 8, 2001 I had a near-fatal car accident in Arizona. I was in a coma for three days and my heart stopped for 12 minutes. I had an out of body experience, but my desire to come was strong.  When I came back to, the surgeon said both legs were seriously damaged and one of the legs was almost amputated.  He also said I would probably never walk.  

Thirteen screws and three plates were built into my legs. It has been the hardest challenge in my life, greater than when I had cancer in 1993.

It has been over 10 years since the car accident and I knew that I need a transformation, but I never dreamed I would walk 11 miles!  
They had told me it would be an 8-mile hike so my mind was saying I have been walking one to 2 miles every week since my new-year resolution, so I may be able to walk 4 miles tops and wait for the others to finish if I felt I couldn't go on.   
The Universe had a different plan for me. 

On the way to the waterfall, it was hot and the hills were steep.  After 45 minutes of walking I could only hear my heartbeat.  For the first time after the car accident I felt the damages of my heart and lungs from the car accident. They had been crushed, bruised and crying out loud to overcome the injuries. My legs were in so much pain, and I had to separate myself from my physical part. It was almost like the out of body experience that  I had after the car accident. 

I am grateful to my body, especially to my legs for following my heart. When I got to the third creek I thought I would never make it because I was afraid something was going to happen and I might faint or break my body. Dan, our guide, asked me what I wanted to do. I said I want to put my feet in the water of the creek and think for 5 minutes.  When I am with other people usually I feel that I don’t want to burden them, so I felt I must come to a decision quickly.  My heart told me to take this moment, so I not only put my feet in the water, I dunked my head and cooled off so I could think clearly.  Then… my heart told me to keep going.   

Just writing this brings tears to my eyes, knowing how far I have come.  

I want to thank the people who helped me on the hike and patiently allowed me to finish:
Dan (hiking guide), for his expert leadership; Gloria, who carried my bag on the way back; DTK (Mr. Kaneko), who carried my lunch and gave me shiatsu massage when we stopped to rest the second creek; Eva, my walking and talking companion;  Nobu (Mr.Otake), who gave me a hand when I was crossing the creeks; Cathy, Who had an infectious vitality that encouraged me to keep up on the way back,   Brian, for his quiet and kind support;  John and Christina, who gave me a ride to the trail and for their spiritual support; and last but not least, to my heart and faith.
I thank you all from my bottom of heart!!!
You guys were all amazing!!!

Everyone at Miracle 11 miles hike

Sign and Sanae L1050263
It was all up hill on the way

Meadow L1050278
Beautiful meadow with so many different kinds of mountain wild flowers

DTK(Mr. Kaneko) was giving shiatsu massage

My feet with hiking shoes and organic tie dye socks

Me at the water fall L1050276
Me at the water fall

Last Group L1050294
On the way back the last group to walked with me

My feet when I completed the hike

Another Amazing thing happened was Japanese Tea Ceremony. 
I met Simon Brown from England for the first time. We connected in a deep level when he expressed his knowledge of WABISABI: a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection while we were talking over one lunch time.

Simon and I decided to offer Japanese tea ceremony as WABISABI at the Camp spontaneously. We did not know how many people would be interested, but it filled up very quickly. We had not planned anything so it was a very casual tea ceremony, but Simon explained the philosophy of Wabisabi and how the traditional Japanese tea ceremony was conducted.  I shared what I learned in tea ceremony lessons when I was in high school in Japan.  It was a very peaceful and serene experience, despite the lack of all the trimmings and preparation.  
Listening to the tea being poured into the cups, smelling the tea, cradling the cups in our hands… I felt the people who attended the ceremony enjoy the quiet inner beauty we all have. I thank Simon for bringing up the idea and allowing me to share my heritage of Japanese Wabisabi.

With Simon at Japanese Tea Ceremony

People enjoying at the Japanese Tea Ceremony

What was truly amazing about my experience at this camp was how I exceeded what I believed to be my physical limitations, and at the same time surpassed what I expected to achieve in terms of inner peace and beauty. 

On the last morning, I joined Mike Chen, the amazing morning greeter.  
Singing happy songs and using my innermost amplified voice to shout "Good morning" toward the open air, facing each cardinal compass point, never felt more refreshing and empowering. 

Sky of the last morning at 5:15am

I felt that this camp was my re-birth!

I thank from the bottom of my heart all the people who organized, worked and cooked wonderful real food everyday with Carl and Julia, all the friends I already knew and all the new friends I made.