Coming-of-Age ceremony also honors friends who died in tsunami.

Source:  The Asahi Shimbun

New adults hold portraits of three tsunami victims at the Coming-of-Age Day ceremony held on Jan. 13 in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. In the portraits, from left: Shoko Kanno, Marin Ojima, Asami Niinuma. (Shingo Kuzutani)

Read more from HERE. 

Rice and Nutrition:Series 2

Recently, I wonder whether New York and California go one or two steps ahead of Japan in the brown rice consumption. Is it due to the health-conscious and healthy-choices boom? In New York, I’m surprised to see that nearly 10 kinds of rolled sushi which made of brown rice are sold in the ordinary cheap supermarkets. Brown rice would be a worldwide boom because I haven’t seen such a scene at the supermarkets in Japan yet.
Well, if there is a difference between white rice nutrition and brown rice nutrition, it is because the whole nutrition of a germ part that has already polished in white rice remains in brown rice.
Therefore, B-complex vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus are three times as many as that of white rice. And a lipid contained in outer bran part is three times, too.
Also, dietary fiber such as cellulose and hemicellulose which prevent constipation is contained over four times more than that of white rice.
Although people who try to brown rice and vegetable consumption increase significantly when they become cancer, brown rice and sprouted brown rice are rich in Gamma-aminobutyric acid which is the substance called GABA. And if you get a lot of it, that makes hormones in the brain, and I guess the reason that people are less likely to cause depression. Moreover, beta-glucan which is included a bran is not usually absorbed so much from the intestine. But when it is absorbed a little, it becomes an incentive, and the effects of immune system cells increase had confirmed. There are even companies that extract beta-glucan from brown rice and make supplements.

However, brown rice is poorly absorbed. The products which are powdered and roasted it are also sold, so it might be good that you try it when you are sick. Although it is of course that you are impressed to see the nutrition and its figures in a chart, it is also important to know whether or not they are absorbed properly.
To find out this, check the figures in a blood test. Including immune strength, now you can find it out by a blood test. If you get sick, it’s good to try test sometimes for checking immune strength and nutritional status.

The #1 Food Secret For Beautiful Skin

If you are a woman, you want to keep your skin clean and beautiful for good.
Here is a good article worth reading!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The #1 Food Secret For Beautiful Skin

Would you ever guess the #1 secret to beautiful skin is the sweet potato?
Sweet potatoes deliver 800% of the recommended daily value of beta carotene.  The specific secret to beautiful skin about sweet potatoes is the body uses the nutrient beta carotene to synthesize glycoproteins, which are molecules that accelerate skin renewal and improve skin cell cohesion

A recent study naming sweet potatoes as the most important food secret to beautiful skin revealed that the beta carotene in the sweet potato translates into a smoother complexion and numerically reduces fine lines within 10 weeks.

 The potassium in a single sweet potato can erase bloating within 24 hours.

GET THIS:  Not only is the sweet potato a food secret to beautiful skin, it also gives you a flat belly.  Each tasty sweet potato contains 950 mg of potassium (twice as much as a banana), which enhances the kidney’s ability to eliminate retained fluids, banishing bloat.  Sweet potato’s betaine clears fatty deposits from the liver, which accelerates the organ’s breakdown of belly fat for fuel.

AND THERE’S MORE:  Boundless energy is available due to sweet potato’s combination of copper and iron.  Working together, these nutrients work in tandem to help the body produce hemoglobin, a blood molecule that transports energizing oxygen to every cell plus the B vitamin Choline in sweet potatoes serves as a building block of brain boosting acetylcholine, improving alertness in 12 weeks.

GET THIS:  Not only is the sweet potato a food secret to beautiful skin, it provides freedom from colds and flu.  Rich stores of vitamin C and 3 times more photochemicals than superfoods like broccoli, sweet potatoes fight the nastiest of viruses.  That’s because these nutrients actually assist the immune system in producing large T cells, which are infection-fighting lymphocytes, shown to slash a person’s risk of developing a cold or flu by 33%.

Here’s our favorite sweet potato recipe:

Sweet Potatoes and Apple Butter – Serves 4-6

4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
Salt & Pepper
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Spiced Apple Butter
1 Tablespoon Butter


1.Wash and cook sweet potatoes in boiling water just until tender, about 20 minutes.
2.Remove skins and slice 1/4-inch thick.
3.Grease a baking dish and place a layer of sweet potatoes in it; sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a thin layer of apple butter. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Dot with butter.
4.Bake at 325° for 30 minutes.


Can you imagine not eating a sweet potato every day for the rest of your life?  Not only is the sweet potato a food secret to beautiful skin, but it provides boundless energy, skin renewal, freedom from colds, and a flat belly.

Read original article and more interesting articles from here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Diverse Dishes of Rice — Series 1

Rice can grow in most Asian countries.  Rice can be classified into two major kinds; Indica and Japonica.  Indica rice is relatively dry while Japonica rice is moist and chewy.  The Japanese people like Japonica rice.  White rice is a good match with any side dishes.  In Japan, we also have many kinds of preserved food boiled in soy, called “Tsukudani,” pickled plums, or pickled vegetables which all go well with white rice.  Because of its simple and plain taste, rice can be made into different tastes by seasonings.  “Takikomi gohan” or cooked rice seasoned with soup stock and other ingredients is a good example.  When making Takikomi gohan, we usually select the seasonal ingredients to mix with rice.  For that reason, Japanese people find it fun and special to feel the coming season way ahead by having Takikomi gohan.  Bamboo shoot and green peas are good spring ingredients.  Chestnuts, Matsutake mushroom, and oysters make good autumn Takikomi gohan.  I think that Takikomi gohan with the seasonal ingredients that are available only for that season of the year is a real luxury.

In Western societies, luxuries are considered to be expensive products or dishes such as a slice of beef, fole gras, or caviar that may cost a couple of thousands yen per 100g.  But the Japanese people are refined that we consider it the best luxury to eat the first product of the season rather than just expensive meals. 

The Japanese people believe that not only Takikomi gohan, but also the first products of the season can prolong their lifespan for 3 years.  This custom has a long history and it has been practiced for over 400 years, since the Edo period among the general people. 

Glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed is called “Chimaki,” or Zongzi.   Chimaki is also made in China.  The traditional Chinese Chimaki usually has chopped pork, bamboo shoot, sesame oil and some other ingredients.  It is considered to be a mother’s cooking in Chinese food.  Rice can be stir-fired.  With butter, rice makes pilaf.  In Europe, after rice is stir-fried with olive oil, add seafood and season with saffron, it is now a famous Spanish rice dish, paella.

The mother’s rice dish in Japan has changed its form as an Onigiri, a rice ball, and it has been passed down to the present day.  Donburi, rice bowl dishes have rice on the bottom of a bowl with a main dish on top.  The main dish is usually seasoned quite strong so it is favorable to eat Donburi dishes for lunch.  Rice porridge or risotto is cooked with water or soup.  Recently, many Italian restaurants provide a variety of risotto and we can try to cook the similar flavor at home.  In this way, repertories of rice dishes continue to change year after year. 

A typical and well-known Korean rice dish is bibimbap.  Bibimbap is a traditional Korean rice dish.  Although it is well-known, it is not so easy to make the stone-roasted bibimbap at home.  But I can tell you that internationalization and diversifying of rice dishes will not stop.  Moreover, we must keep it in our mind that rice is absolutely cheaper than bread.  If there is some leftover rice enough to fill a rice bowl, you can make gratin for two or three persons.  Regardless of gender, how you can arrange with leftover is a challenging skill for a good cook to brush up.

Nanakusa-gayu: Seven Spring Herbs Porridge

It is a Japanese custom to eat Nanakusa-gayu, a rice porridge with seven spring herbs, on January 7th.  The purpose of this specific meal on a specific day is to rest your stomach after New Year Holidays when we tend to eat a lot of festival dishes.  Also, this porridge is believed to bring health and luck for the new year.

Here is a good web page explaining about Nanakusa-gayu.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Nanakusa Gayu (Japanese Porridge or Congee with Seven herbs)



Japan is an undeveloped country of Health:No Regulation for Trans-Fatty Acid

In Japan, there is no restriction on use or obligation of labeling of trans-fatty acid yet.  Ever since 2003, more and more countries in Europe as well as US have imposed obligations, but in Japan, the Consumer Agency has only requested the food industry to promote this attempt.  This is so lax that it leans on voluntary action of each company.  Therefore, no decent labeling has been shown on our food products. 

Let me explain what trans-fatty acid is.  Trans-fatty acid is formed when double bonds included in plant or fish oil get hardened by hydrogen.  In another word, when oil goes through a process of removing double bonds, hydrogen replaces.  Then, plant oil transforms into white creamy hard fat.  This is when oil turns into fat.  This type of fat does not exist naturally because it is an artificial shortening developed to use in place of cream.  This is often contained in margarine and also used instead of fresh cream.  But too much intake of trans-fatty acid results in increasing LDL cholesterol, leading to arteriosclerosis, clogging in heart aorta, or ischemic heart disease.     

Also, using this oil in cooking adds crispy texture so it is widely used when making snacks, potato chips, donuts, pastries, pies, etc.  Trans-fatty acid is recognized as one factor that affects on dementia for it causes not only arteriosclerosis but also narrows veins to stagnate blood flow. 

According to the research of Dr. Poorman, Medical School of Oregon Heath & Science University toward the elderly at the age of 87 on the average, he found that the subjects showed much progress of dementia when density of trans-fatty acid within blood was high. 

Oil and fat predominate over not only lifestyle related disease but also affect the elders’ cognitive impairment through the cerebral veins.  So people over the age of 50 should willingly eat fish and make great use of supplements of EPA or DHA.  Keep the entire blood vessels soft and try not to accumulate oxidized cholesterol in their daily life.

As for administration, labeling of trans-fatty acid should be more actively promoted and regulated.  What we can do for ourselves is to try to avoid taking bad fat which hardens our blood vessels.  Stay away from coffee, parfaits, snacks that use fake whip cream made of trans-fatty acid.  And eat lots of vegetables, seaweeds, and fish.  This is so simple that we can put into practice easily in our everyday life.  I recommend you to take supplements of DHA and EPA as we are getting older. 

In our neighboring country Korea, to which Japan is often compared its economy, the labeling regulation has already been imposed since 2007.  In regard to this issue, Japan is way behind from Korea in terms of politics.