Holistic Path of Happiness & Health

Holistic Path of Happiness & Health

I'm Cynthia. I blog about healing, spirituality, health and my many dreams - things very close to my heart. Be Happy. Live Healthy.
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Despite warning about Typhoon Neoguri (that Kai’s just fortunately survived in Okinawa) making a landfall in our area today after a day of strong wind and rain, we were surprisingly blessed with amazing weather. Really grateful for it and thankful that we are safe, and our blessings go out to those affected by the typhoon. Praying for their safety and comfort.

We biked to the beach, which was quite threatening for me to swim with its high waves (probably from the influence of the typhoon), and hung out at Oasis, a popular beach hut (海の家) in this area. Yes, beach season has officially started! And we also bumped into an old middle - high school friend of Kai’s at Oasis. What a small world!

We’ve just celebrated Tanabata (Star Festival) on July 6th at our shared house. The Star Festival is held on July 7th, to celebrate the meeting of the cosmic lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair), who are only allowed to meet once a year. The Japanese celebrate that day by writing wishes on tanzaku (small pieces of paper) and hanging them on a bamboo. We had a whole day of activities for more than 20 kids and adults, and I participated by selling gluten free almond cake at the event. Check out our fabulous day!! 

 Making origami and writing tanzaku for hanging on the bamboo tree planted in the garden.

Kids getting a chance to play with musical instruments from all over the world.

Singing songs of stars, wishes and love with live music by amazing musicians.

Little snacks made and brought by the participants for sale.

My gluten free almond cake!

Served with homemade whipped cream and wild harvested mint! At 300 yen per plate, and I sold 13 out of 15 plates! 

Hula dancing by Mami chan, a hula dance teacher and flower essence therapist and her students.

Live music and entertainment by Yu, a super talented musician I’ve met twice at different transition town events before. 

Another amazing live performance that got many of us clapping and dancing! See the little girl in the middle? She was such a natural dancer, moving rhythmically to the music. No surprise because she’s the daughter of the two musicians in the band! ;)

And south Indian curry by a local caterer, The Curry Project for dinner!

Another cafe meeting today. 13 more days to the opening! Today, we were doing the photo shoot for our business card.

Don’t you just love fresh organic vegetables that come in a variety of colors? :)

I got to taste this “Jardin Egg Parfait”, a name I helped to come up with today! Ingredients are mashed potatoes, pureed beets (as they’re in season now. veggies will vary according to the season), and fresh eggs from our project manager’s permaculture garden. Bread is baked by our chef!

Our second signature dish - brown rice waffles prepared by Chef Ayumi ;)

Ratatouille, one of our deli menu dishes.

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One of my dreams is to start a gluten free cafe one day, though it doesn’t have to be a full time business. I’m happy enough to run a cafe at home sporadically…when I feel like it! It’s not really about doing a business, but rather to do something that nourishes and inspires me to contribute to the well-being of others, and to create a beautiful healing space for myself and others to relax and recharge.  

And I can’t believe that within a few days of moving to our new home, I was offered to be part of an organic cafe project! It was a golden opportunity that just fell right out of the sky! Sometimes things really just seem to fall into place naturally :)

The location is an antique showroom just along the coast and you can view the ocean even while working in the kitchen. For three months from the end of July, the place will be converted to a book and organic cafe that uses natural and organic ingredients produced locally in Hayama! We don’t know what is going to happen after three months (when the summer crowd leaves), but it is likely we will be continuing the cafe on a less regular basis and renting out the space for events and workshops. 

This month, our team will preparing for the launch party of the cafe! This is a complete new area for me, and I’m expecting to experience a huge learning curve, which I’m totally excited about. I hope to be able to write about it and update everyone on the process of our cafe project (my cafe dream)!

Here’s an article about the making of the cafe (in Japanese):

http://www.chord.co.jp/blog/2014/001904.php

One of my birthday wishes was to plant an herb and vegetable garden on my birthday! I’d like to name it “Butterfly Moon Garden” and make a wooden sign near the entrance. We’re still on the lookout for wood to make our sign!

These are the seedlings Kai bought. image

He thought it’d be nice to plant some flowers too! And blackberries to make jam!!

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We’re also looking for roses with a nice strong fragrance to add to our growing garden. Hoping to find roses like these growing in my friend’s garden in Azumino!

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Getting ready for what he’s amazing at…gardening!image

Cutting the wild grass, dokudami (also a top ten medicinal herb commonly used by the Japanese) to make space for the herbs and vegetables.

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Loosening & softening the soil with a shovel

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Planting the herb seedlings. According to what I studied at my previous permaculture workshop, you would plant things you use often closest to the house. Herbs like parsley, shiso and also tomatoes and green onions will be great to have in cooking!image

Pulling out the roots gently

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Planting my favorite herb, lavender in front of our bedroom so we can smell it! Kai’s planning to grow different species of lavender all around the garden so when they bloom, we’ll be in lavender heaven!! :) Next to the lavender is passion fruit.image

Growing different flowers in a barrel

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After hours of hard work in the garden and getting bitten by mosquitoes, we changed and walked to the beach, which is also close to the marina, for a romantic French dinner ♥︎

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Happy Birthday :)

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After spending two birthdays alone (which were special times I really appreciated and enjoyed), this year on my 33rd birthday, I got to celebrate it three times with my beloved partner (soon to be husband!) and new friends at our new place in Hayama (and Kamakura)! We’ve just started our new life in Hayama, which is walking distance to lots of beaches and is surrounded by forests :) We love it here! From the beach, you can even see Mt. Fuji and Enoshima, and that is only a 10 min walk from our home!

My birthday joys started off with hydrangeas (my favourite flowers that bloom abundantly in Japan in June) that Kai plucked for me after our forest walk two days before my birthday. I’d also requested a gluten free birthday cake, so the day before my birthday, Kai and I went to a friend’s place in Kamakura (it’s a place I’ve wanted to live in Japan for some time and now, we’re only 15 min away!) where he baked an apple sour cream cake (touchingly delicious!!), and we cooked and ate together with our friends! Also had a lovely bath in our friend’s cypress wood (hinoki) bath :)

There’ll be other posts on what I did on my actual birthday, and some exciting news about life in Hayama!

This is a video taken by a Hawaiian guest who traveled with and home stayed at my friend’s place (an Ayurveda teacher) in Azumino. My friend and her musician husband, and the owner of Shanti Kuthi and Sharlom (permaculture guesthouses) are also featured in this video.

We are all co-creating the universe. Whether you are a conservative politician, an anarchist, a farmer, or a monk, whenever you choose to take part in something, or not take part in something, you are co-creating the universe. In Japan, there is a culture of studying too much, working too hard, and living to make money, even more so than in America. This short film features six vignettes of individuals that challenge mainstream culture through their practice of Buddhism and permaculture.

In the west, I think we often do a disservice by either over romanticizing or reducing too far the idea of simple living. What we seek is not necessarily a simple life; it is a more focused one, a life in which unnecessary excesses are eliminated. A life that allows the time and the space to grow food, create art, practice the spiritual, and build community. If the way modern society is structured is not nourishing us, how do we change our predicament? Neither accepting it as the way it is or completely rejecting society is productive. How do we be both independent of the system but also take part in transforming a system that is dictating our happiness and the health of our planet? This film explores these questions.

Ayurveda class at Shalom, another permaculture guesthouse in Azumino. The teacher is a friend of mine, and I’m staying with her while I’m in Azumino. I fell in love with this place the moment I came! You can also learn about natural farming, Steiner education, permaculture, and macrobiotics etc. here (in Japanese only). Near this guesthouse is a 森の学校 (mori no gakkou, directly translated as forest school) for young kids. Kids study life skills and nature outdoors. I saw them taking a walk while having lunch at the organic cafe in Shalom. I’d love to teach English and yoga at a school like that. I’ll be back for another Ayurveda class next week! 

Day 2 of Shanti Kuthi’s workshop (Part 2). Pictures with captions.

Day 2 of Shanti Kuthi’s permaculture workshop (Part 1). We started off the day with yoga at 6am, and headed out to the garden to work. The work included cutting weeds and planting sweet potatoes, yam and tomatoes. For brunch, we harvested some veggies and wild plants and cooked at the earth oven (kamado). It’s really fun to harvest and cook your food outdoors, and to eat surrounded by greenery and mountains. Beats having an expensive meal at a restaurant hands down! Click on the pictures for captions!