Archive for April, 2005

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 7 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

Day 7 – Q7: Is there a special teacher or mentor in Japan or in France that you to continue to study with?
Reply: In France, I started studying Judaist thinking and Kabala. I had a Kabala Master. But he died one year after we met. Intellectually I am more fed in France than in Japan. But on a wider dimension, humanly, I feel more fed in Japan. And I don’t need to stay long in Japan, in just one week I can be refilled with this “something” I do get here in France. I miss it. The hospitality, the generosity, the non-mental, the share out of time where it
is in a flux.

But in France I learn a lot from my teaching. Sometimes when I teach I feel that I am my own student, like my other students! There are things I know that I transmit, but also things I don’t expect happen too. Expressed in a formalized way for the first time … I must be lucky to have me as a teacher too!

I am grateful to my students, without whom I would not be making my many discoveries during the teaching in process!

To see Nourit Masson-Sekine’s Website: www.nouritms.fr


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Puppeteer Lecturer Heather Goodwin from Emerson College in the UK tells us how she became interested in puppets and about her Tokyo Puppetry Workshops in June.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 6 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Day 6 – Q6: Has your life changed as a result of having Eastern Healing/Chi Kung in your life?

Reply: Yes of course!!! A lot! Every important meeting has changed my life. The two I have mentioned did. Studying changes ones life. It is not Eastern Medicine or Chi Kung in itself but all the philosophies and teachings it contains. It is always the voices and the faces of the ones who carried the knowledge to me that changes my life. The right person at the right moment …


Nourit’s book – Butoh Shades of Darkness


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Puppeteer Lecturer Heather Goodwin from Emerson College in the UK tells us how she became interested in puppets and about her Tokyo Puppetry Workshops in June.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 5 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Day 5 – Q5: The art of touch is something almost taken for granted in Japan, where shiatsu and other hands-on healing methods are widely trusted.
Why do you think Europeans are so skeptical or even afraid of touch?

Reply: Inhibition! Touch means sex, libido. As you know, it is a Christian Culture. The body has meant passions and dirty thoughts to Christians for centuries. It means guilt. Touch is intimacy. There is a fear of being seen; exposing hidden passions and uncontrolled feelings.

This is why the approach of touch I have developed is very concerned with that particular culture and psychology. But are the differences so big today with Japan? I don’t know – it has to be studied more seriously. The fear of pain too, and the rejection of pain. It depends on which generation we are talking about. The Chinese and Japanese of ancient times were definitely better at taking pain. No place for the ego to express itself. The consciousness of “individuality” as a psychological and social concept changes the relationship to the body and “touching”.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Puppeteer Lecturer Heather Goodwin from Emerson College in the UK tells us how she became interested in puppets and about her Tokyo Puppetry Workshops in June.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 4 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Day 4 Q4: Do you notice any big differences between the way Eastern Medicine and Chi Kung is practiced in Japan and in France?

Reply: Some differences. The relationship with pain for instance. Western men hate pain and get worried when they feel pain. Women, as you know, are better at enduring pain.

Compared with the West, it is clear that in the East are less into language than in the West. So psychotherapy in the West gets into the touch therapy than in the East. A different meaning given to what is said. Maybe a less pragmatic relationship to words and language. The West is more rational, more cerebral.

If you ask a French person to empty the mind … they don’t know what it means. So they ask questions…but who can give the answers? Nobody.

In Japan you can ask someone to provoke “mu” in his mind. Immediately you see his mouth opening like a baby, relaxed and out into… “mu” I guess.

In France they will imitate a form and make some terrible faces with the eyes
revulsed and white like one trained in Zen. So I talk about feeling
“drunkenness”. They understand better!!! But I�m not sure they can do
it with no wine !!! They will think about it though…


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Puppeteer Lecturer Heather Goodwin from Emerson College in the UK tells us how she became interested in puppets and about her Tokyo Puppetry Workshops in June.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 3 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Day 3 – Q3:
Reply: I treat and I teach when I do not paint or write and work in the art field. But there is no difference for me between the two. Medicine is an art too. To treat and accompany people, listening, observing, creating links between the elements of life is a basic approach. As written in the Kabala, “God has created the sickness and the medicine within the body”.

A doctor can never know why the treatment works sometimes and other times does not. That shows the freedom of the being. Of course a poison will kill. That�s a science fact. But human life is a mystery in many ways. Each life has it�s own secrets.

A therapist who accompanies a person has to just be there and use his knowledge and technical skills first. So I use techniques. But even when I teach techniques, I also teach the Chi Kung of the same technique. To touch
someones body is not a banal act. It has to be done with respect and concern
for a persons limits. How can we touch and give the sensation of security and
steadiness, love and listening. That’s what consciousness is about when it
comes to practical action. But how do you understand that intellectually and through the senses?

A symptom has a meaning. It expresses that something is wrong. And the symptom needs to be there until something is understood in depth. Until that the person can transform and give up the expression of what was wrong. If the cause is not there, the symptom can disappear, since it has nothing to express anymore.

So who decides whether a symptom for which someone goes to treatment for should to be taken away? The answer is not always obvious and has to be checked using intuition. We train our intuition in order to become knowledgeable about this matter. How do you stimulate the inner medicine within a sick body before acting on this body. We must respect of the right time for each person to cure his sickness.

If the therapist is not aware of that, then a chronic headache the patient was attached to for unconscious reasons may change into another issue. The headache disappears but not the cause, so one may get mononucleosis instead for instance. So, what I mean is that the therapy has to be holistic in order to prepare the body-mind to separate from the way and habit with which one can function because the sickness regulates him. If you are sick, you rest. When you are not sick, nobody takes care of you for instance, and you have no legitimate reason to fail or slow down.

Now you understand why a symptom is important right? It expresses not only
the bodies condition but the psychological suffering that needs to be listened
to. This is also why you do not always touch the pain where it is expressed,
but go around to other parts of the body to help the symptom to be more bearable. Then it takes the needed time to input other messages in the body.
Among the messages are the care itself, the time to improve your condition, the love you get from being touched.

As you know touching is perceived as a very archaic thing. As we have experienced it at birth and in early stages of life, the power of touch is enormous.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Puppeteer Lecturer Heather Goodwin from Emerson College in the UK tells us how she became interested in puppets and about her Tokyo Puppetry Workshops in June.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 2 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Day 2 – Q2: Most people know you as a photographer, artist and documentary maker. How did you become interested in Chi Kung and Eastern medicine as well?
Reply: I studied Aikido like many who come to Japan. I tried Tai Chi with a Master friend of mine. I could not appropriate it to my self. None of those really talked to me. When I tried Chi Kung for instance, it came from a Master who understood me well. Sei Kaku En, a Master from Shanghai. He was bright, with an irresistible sense of humor The encounter with Chi Kung came to me from his being. His Chi Kung could put me in mine, that is why from 1987 onwards, I studied with him. His philosophical way of expressing and all the secrets I had the privilege to receive from him in order to discover the meaning of it within my own evolution and growth.

I studied Shiatsu from Masunaga’s student after my daughter�s birth. I thought then that I should know how to take better care of her. I didn’t have the chance to go to a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture School. I didn’t have the time, and could not read Japanese well enough anyway. I had so much work with my art, exhibitions and projects with Butoh dancers, so I had to stay realistic. And yet I spent one year studying Shiatsu at The Kimura Institute. But I didn’t think it was very “therapeutic”. It was just nice, agreeable and even necessary when one is too stressed. But not much more than that in terms of various pathologies.

Then I was introduced to Akahigedo Clinic owner Master Takeuchi. At that time I was not feeling well at all, and life in Japan had brought a syndrome that I found in many other friends living in Japan called “spasmophilia” – but at that time I didn’t know what is happening to me. It was actually nothing bad medically, but a spectacular way in which my body to expressed “too much”. The non-adapted way of life I was into at that time regarding proper rhythm, sleep, nutrition etc. Working a lot, moving a lot, and yet without the conditions of appeasement Japanese could have. With the same stress, in the ritualizing of their everyday life – family, feasts, temples, their mother tongue, the way they eat, the “amae” relation to life and “tutti quanti”.

So, I met Takeuchi and immediately we became friends. Thanks to his treatment, I could suddenly understand all of what I didn’t get during my first shiatsu studies. All the elements came together in me and I understood how shiatsu could be a real therapy. So Akahigedo is, still today a place where I can go and learn, even just by watching the way Takeuchi relates to his patients and to therapy. And not by chance, I believe, it is the place I met the Master of Chi Kung I told you about.

I also studied what I called “Zen hypnosis” with a psychologist and Zen Buddhist master, Osaki-sensei. He was also an English teacher who didn’t
speak English actually. I did therapy with him for half year and then studied with him until I left Japan. It taught me a lot because the point of view of the therapy included Western concepts, but in a Japanese way. Through him I learned a lot about the Japanese conscious and unconscious psyche. I had more theoretical exchanges with him than with the shiatsu world about therapy.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with French artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine. Nourit tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan. Day 1 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Day 1 – Q1: How long did you live in Japan, and what was it like for you to return home? (Could you apply the life experiences and new skills
you had acquired in Japan.)

Reply: I lived in Japan for nine years. I went back to France in 1990, (15 years ago already). To go back to France was not at all going back home. I left France when I was 17. I did my art studies and other experimental things in Israel.


Nourit’s studio in France

I was always very passionate about therapy, medicine and psychology. I was involved in it from the side, in term of formal studies, but very much into it, in terms of experimentations. For instance, I started psychotherapy and then, after one year the psychologist proposed a didactic study with her… I did things like that. I also worked in a poor area of Tel Aviv as a street educator, social worker and so on. So, to go back to your question, France was attractive because I never lived there as an “adult”. It was a country to be reborn in. I was very uneasy because I had my own idea of France, which came from my childhood and teens. Culturally I have always been outside the mainstream � even at school.


Nourit’s photography

The first year in France was difficult because I didn’t feel people could understand me, and they did not. Even my language was too rich, full of many cultural influences from the Hebrew language and the Japanese language. My French was very sensorial, but also the deeper meaning involved knowledge from others times and other spaces. It was funny, I had to give �subtitles� all the time. On the one hand my expectations as an “oriental” woman was of more “hospitality” in the ethical way to relate to people … and for that France is not the ideal country!

But of course, my skills could be applied. Especially the Chinese Medicine
part of it… everybody likes to be touched, listened to, better understood. Most people, when they are in trouble, in the dark part of their consciousness, are willing to let a bit of light in, a new language. They are willing to change the way they view themselves.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 7 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Day 7 – Q7: And what is it like practicing tai chi while traveling around so much?
Reply: The great thing about tai chi is that you can do it anywhere. It’s very portable! You don’t need to go to the gym, have special equipment, or wear a special outfit. All you need is loose, comfortable clothing, a pair of good shoes, and a little bit of space. If need be, you can make adjustments to compensate for cramped space. You can also adjust the practice to fit the physical condition that you’re in. There are so many different ways that you can practice tai chi. It’s very, very flexible in that way. If you can stand, you can do tai chi. My tai chi teacher in Tokyo, Dan Harrington, taught us standing meditation, a basic and integral part of tai chi training.

As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to be able to stand to practice tai chi. Master Wang Yen-nien, whom I studied from in Taiwan, told us that when he was in the trenches fighting the Japanese, he couldn’t very well get up and do a tai chi set, so he’d simply sit and visualize doing the entire form. He also encouraged us to visualize doing the tai chi set as part of our regular practice.

One point to bear in mind is that although tai chi is a form of exercise, it’s more than simple physical exercise. I don’t have time to get into the mystical aspects of tai chi. But one thing I can say is that relaxation is extremely important to tai chi. Actually, the word relaxation isn’t the best word to use. Let me give you an example. One Chinese tai chi master in his 70′s underwent liver transplantation because his liver was damaged from hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is endemic in many parts of Asia, and he had contracted the disease at birth. This was in China, and they normally would not even have given him a new liver because of his advanced age, but as a renowned tai chi master, they made an exception for him. Anyway, while he was hospitalized, he practiced tai chi, not by making any physical moves, but by mentally “sweeping” through his body, inch by inch, feeling for any tension while mentally going over his tai chi set, checking for tense spots, softening and relaxing every part of his body. As a result, he made a quantum leap in the martial arts aspect of tai chi.

Tai chi is such a deep art — and there’s so many ways to practice it! And for me, with my nomadic lifestyle and lack of routine, tai chi has been a real boon. It’s been the one constant in my life, a center that I can return to, anywhere, any time. I don’t know how true this is, but people have told me that Boulder is a place where all one’s spiritual lessons are intensified. Which means that most relationships break down, and couples who move together to Boulder often end up separating. This was what happened to me. My boyfriend and I moved together to Boulder, and then we broke up. That was a blessing in disguise. But then my cat died, and that was not acceptable — not that anyone was asking me!
That too was part of the transition and my life’s lesson, I guess.

Through all the upheavals in my life, I was always able to turn to tai chi for support. Tai chi and writing have been the enduring aspects of my life. Well, my cat used to be, too. Now that she’s gone, I’m tying all three elements together — writing, tai chi, and cat — by putting together an “autobiography” of my cat. And why not? After living in Boulder for several years, I’m sure my brain has been permanently scrambled!

Anyway, it’s in the works, as well as several booklets about some health topics.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 6 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Day 6 – Q6: Can you tell us a bit more about the positive and negative aspects of living in Boulder?
Reply: I thought the people were a bit flaky — they weren’t very punctual, and sometimes they wouldn’t show up at all. And although there was a lot of interest in Eastern religions and spiritual practices, it was pretty much on a superficial level. Of course, I’m making sweeping generalizations here.

On the plus side, Boulder gave me new directions in poetry. My first summer there, I got a scholarship to attend the creative writing program at Naropa University, a local quasi-Buddhist school. It’s the home of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldeman. I loved the classes there, they re-kindled my interest in poetry, and my creative juices started flowing once again. I couldn’t write a single line of poetry while living in Tokyo, but Boulder changed all that.

I both liked and disliked the New Age culture of Boulder. Not to say that everyone in Boulder was into the New Age – the city has a hi-tech industry, and there are plenty of scientists there. At the same time, people are very open minded and tolerant of some pretty bizarre beliefs.

For instance, the pet shop I bought cat food from brought in an animal communicator for its customers. I put my cat in my backpack and pedaled
over there for a private session. I assumed that the person was a behavior therapist who’d take a look at my cat — maybe give her a little prodding — and tell me how I could get the cat to shape up a bit. Instead, the communicator turned out to be a “pet psychic” who claimed to talk telepathically to animals. So I found myself asking the psychic why my cat was so hostile to the Siamese who regularly visited our house. And the cat told the psychic that she simply could not understand how I could be so taken by that Siamese — who obviously was not in the same class as she — he was way beneath her.

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the psychic, but she certainly had me in stitches. And the weird thing was that my cat actually started coming home earlier, after I had the psychic tell her that she shouldn’t be out at night because there were mountain lions prowling at night. (But first my cat maintained that she knew how to handle herself, and not to worry.)

For the longest time I didn’t tell anyone about this experience, because I didn’t want people to think I was looney tunes. But when I finally divulged it, no one batted an eye. In fact, many of them had been to pet psychics themselves!

One of Boulder’s holistic vets started referring his patients to the pet pyschic that I took my cat to see.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 5 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Day 5 – Q5: Did writing books on health/medicine have any affect on your personal life?
Reply: Absolutely! I put myself on the diet recomended in Hypoglycemia, and became healthier and lost the weight I gained while living in Japan. Compared to say, the average American, my diet was always pretty good. I almost never eat fast foods, I don’t like greasy foods or soda pop, and I seem to naturally prefer foods that are healthier than what most people consume.

Working long hours and living in Tokyo, I ended up eating way too much carbohydrate, too much sweet food (even a little bit is too much) and not enough vegetables. I kept putting on weight, and I tried various diets, but nothing worked. I think I gained weight when I went on a macrobiotic diet.


Cheryl’s book on hypoglycemia

After going on the hypoglycemic diet, to my delight, I quickly and easily lost weight. I mean of course there’s some work involved, and you have to be motivated, but for me, it was much easier and more effective than any other diet that I’d been on. Actually, it’s not a weight loss diet so much as a diet that helps keep your blood sugar steady. You have to continue eating in a healthy way for the rest of your life.

As for my liver disorders book, it didn’t have such a direct bearing on my life because I’ve never had any problems with my liver. And it’s not as if there’s any special diet per se for the liver — whatever’s healthy and good for you is good for the liver.

I do have to say that writing about the liver has made me much more appreciative of this multi-tasking organ. And I’ve become a real busybody telling all my friends, especially women, to avoid alcohol! I know that wine is supposed to be beneficial, but other foods can give you all the antioxidant benefits of wine without its negative effects. Particularly if you can’t limit yourself to a single glass of wine per day.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 4 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Day 4 – Q4: What was it like writing your book, “Hypoglycemia for Dummies,” and “Encyclopedia of Hepatitis and Other Liver Disorders” in Boulder?
Reply: As I mentioned before, people in Boulder tend to be very health-conscious, so that helped me pay more attention to my own health. And the city is teeming with talented women writers, and that was tremendously inspirational. It also seemed that most people I met were freelancers of one stripe or another. Or else they owned their own small business. I hardly met anyone working regular, 9 to 5 hours. I did have one friend who worked as an accountant for a company in downtown Boulder, but she had flexible hours, so we’d sometimes meet during the workday. Even when she was at her office, she could talk to me on the phone for an hour or two.

So now I have a totally different mindset than I had when I worked in Tokyo. I must say that freelance writing has its downside — like lack of steady income — but I love the freedom of setting my own schedule and not having an ugly boss — and let me tell you, all bosses are ugly — looking over my shoulders.

I was pretty much in seclusion while working on the Hypoglycemia book,
but I wrote the book on liver disorders in three cities: Boulder, New York, and Taipei. It was challenging maintaining a regular writing schedule while moving around so much.

Aside from friends who were always trying to lure me away from my work,
each city had its own temptations. I actually found it harder to concentrate in Boulder than in NY, because Boulder has such gorgeous weather — with 360 days of sunshine, it’s sunnier than Florida — it seems like such a sin to stay indoors with your nose on the grindstone. It’s just too tempting to go for a nice, long hike. One of the first freelance writers I met in Boulder told me that I shouldn’t expect to work too much there.

New York has a different assortment of temptations, but after living in Boulder for four years, I found that I couldn’t tolerate crowds much anymore, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to stay home and write. I’d go out at night sometimes and on weekends.

The easiest place for me to work was Taipei. While in Taipei, it rained non-stop for months. Even without the rain, the city is crowded, noisy, polluted, and ugly — and unlike New York, there’s not much going on culturally — so I found it very easy to shut myself indoors and write almost continuously. I don’t think I could’ve completed the book on time if I’d stayed in Boulder or New York. So in that sense, Taipei is a very good place.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 3 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Day 3 – Q3: Can you tell us anything more about what it was like to practice tai chi in Boulder?
Reply: In Japan, I had my tai chi teacher and my classmates, but in Boulder Ihad to practice alone. That meant that there was no one to correct any mistakes I made, and no one I could practice push hands with. A lot of people in Boulder are interested in tai chi, but unfortunately, their understanding of tai chi is quite superficial. Also, there aren’t that many people who are at the level to practice push hands. I met Ken Cohen, a well-known scholar and chi kung teacher, taught tai chi classes as well as push hands, but not the same way as Dan Harrington, my tai chi teacher in Japan. It also didn’t work out in terms of my schedule. So I was sort of stranded. Practicing on my own, however, enabled me to concentrate instead of getting distracted by other people around me. And that helped me to really slow down. It takes about 20 minutes to do the entire tai chi form, but I was able to stretch it to 45 minutes. That takes tremendous focus, discipline and strength. Interestingly enough, now that I’m in Taipei, I go through the form in about 15 minutes — sometimes 10! For the life of me, I can’t slow down. I think it has something to do with the pace of life — it’s slower in Boulder — and the beauty and the serenity of the environment.


Rockclimbing in Boulder

Being in Boulder also helped me become more physically fit. Despite
practicing tai chi in Tokyo, I wasn’t as healthy as I could be because worked long hours, and in general led an unbalanced life. People in Boulder tend to be very health-conscious, and very much into fitness. Everyday you see cyclists on mountain bikes barreling up the canyon! Gray-haired elderly men can run faster than me! Seeing that motivated me to overhaul my lifestyle. I started taking classes at the rec center near my house — sports conditioning, yoga, NIA dance, weight lifting, and so forth. I also took occasional classes in Ba Guha Zhang — another internal form of martial arts — and tried out Brazilian jujitsu. That was a lot of fun. I got to throw men twice my size and learned how to strangle them while lying flat on the mat. Something to try out when I get a chance.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 2 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Monday, April 18th, 2005

Day 2 – Q 2: So how did you like living in Boulder?
Reply: Like every place, it has its pluses and minuses. It’s an incredibly
beautiful place to live in. You get to enjoy many of the benefits of city living, but you’re surrounded by natural beauty. I lived in a townhouse that was right up against the foothills. I could literally go out my backyard and onto one of the most gorgeous trails. I used to look down at this absolutely breathtaking view, thinking how in Tokyo people would travel for hours to look at scenery that, frankly, wasn’t even as pretty as the view from my living room window — or the park that was a minute’s walk from my house. Besides, you don’t have to put up with the crowds that you do in Tokyo. If you wanted to, you could lose yourself in nature within five minutes. It’s so easy to enjoy solitude.


Cheryl’s townhouse in Boulder Colorado

In Boulder, you can also enjoy wild animals like raccoons and deer. Deer used to regularly stomp around on my back deck. I’d see does with their fawns quite often. Once, I even got to touch the nose of a doe. I was absolutely thrilled. I also saw a mountain lion from my living room window. One of my neighbors saw one sitting on his back patio when he opened the door! Several cats living in the neighborhood were eaten by mountain lions that quickly learned that pet dogs and cats were easy targets.

This was quite a new experience for me, as I’ve always lived in a big city like Tokyo. It changed my relationship to the environment, to other people, and to myself. And it added a new dimension to my practice of tai chi.


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan. Cheryl talks about her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders and living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. Plus some insights on what it is like to leave Japan! Day 1 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

Day 1 – Q1: How did it feel to move back to the US after living in Japan for 10 years? Did you experience any culture shock?
Reply:I really didn’t experience any culture shock, personally, I find it more difficult to live in Asia than the US. Also, it depends really on what part of the US you’re talking about. Boulder, Colorado is very different than the rest of The States. The very first day in Boulder, I walked around downtown in a daze. I couldn’t believe how few people there were on the streets! The place really looked like a ghost town! But after I’d been living there for a while, I started noticing there were quite a few people actually. And, people in Boulder were always complaining about how it’s getting very crowded! Compared to Tokyo though, it’s nothing! And, there are hardly any traffic jams.


Cheryl’s book on hypoglycemia


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* French Artist, photographer and documentary maker Nourit Masson Sekine tells of her art and healing work using Chi Kung and Eastern Medicine and how they are used differently in France and Japan.
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!

Interview with David Howenstein on JAMBO’s Tokyo hiking activities, environmental restoration projects and reconnecting with nature activities. (Day 7 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.)

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

Day 7 – Q7: What’s your vision for JAMBO in the future?
Reply:My vision for JAMBO relates very closely to what the MISSION statement says, and includes encouraging people to become more open and universalized, working towards a greater consciousness of this “gift of life” through spiritual development and nature appreciation endeavors, and striving towards developing a better (more just and sustainable) world.

Using JAMBO as an umbrella, it is my hope that people use the resources, network, and funds available in JAMBO to carry out activities and events which fit in with the mission of the organization. By working together, we can be of great benefit to each other and to the world. One of my difficulties is that I’m a control freak who wishes to be the person at the helm. However, for this vision to become reality, I’ve come to realize the need to let go and let others take control. Fortunately, we’ve made a good start, with people who have taken control of the homepage, the finances, the translation, etc. Yet, there’s room to do so much more.


Okutama Hike

JAMBO seeks the involvement of more people who are progressive, optimistic, and proactive with a can-do spirit. On a personal level, I seek to become that change which I seek in others and my surroundings. On a larger level, I feel that JAMBO can become a visionary organization which helps to bring such positive change about. Wishing that you’ll be a part of this wonderful spirit!

For more information about JAMBO see their website www.geocities.jp/jambodave2004jp or Tel/Fax: 03-5996-3687 Email: jambodave2003@ybb.ne.jp


INDEX OF PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Author Cheryl Chow, who spent many years living in Japan talks about what it was like to write her books on hypoglycemia and liver disorders while living in Boulder, New York, and Taipei. She gives us some insights on what it is like to leave Japan!
* Shaman and Healer John Iammatteo talks on the many kinds of healings he does and his workshops Tokyo, Japan.
* Basia Lipska, artist and director of the International Yoga Center in Ogikubo, Tokyo on her new website showing her artwork to the world!