Archive for August, 2005

Tokyo Vegetarian Week Festival – Interview with Yoshihiko Miyazawa Representative Director of the festival. Day 3 of 6 – scroll down for more interviews.

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Day 3 – Q3: How long has the festival been going? Who started it?
Reply: It is the 3rd year of the event. But it is 2nd year since we fixed the name as Tokyo Vegetarian Week Festival (TVWF). The TVWF Secretariat which I represent started the event.

That the word Festival joins “Japan Vegetarian Week” has been advocated by Japan Vegetarian Society (JPVS) which is a member of International Vegetarian Union. I also planned the outline of “Japan Vegetarian Week” in 2003.

For more details of events see the website which has an English section: www.tokyovwf.com

Tokyo Vegetarian Week Festival – Interview with Yoshihiko Miyazawa Representative Director of the festival. Day 2 of 6 – scroll down for more interviews.

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

Day 2 – Q2: Which is the biggest event?
Reply: Commemoration of VEGETARIAN TAISAI on September 4th. Also lots of people may visit Tokyo Vege Market on the 3rd & 4th of September. You can enjoy food and drinks, and other goods and services which are good for vegetarian life. More than 20 manufacturers, restaurants , shops, organizations and individuals will be selling and displaying their goods. It is being held at the Culture Salon Aoyama (in Aoyama Book Center Aoyama shop). It is free of charge.

For more details of events see the website which has an English section: www.tokyovwf.com

Tokyo Vegetarian Week Festival – Interview with Yoshihiko Miyazawa Representative Director of the festival. Day 1 of 6 – scroll down for more interviews.

Monday, August 29th, 2005

Day 1 – Q1: Which events can be enjoyed by people who speak English and don’t speak Japanese?
Reply: The main speaker of Commemoration of VEGETARIAN TAISAI on September 4th is Ms. Sheri DeMaris from Philadelphia in the US. English speakers will definitely be able to understand that.

We are happy that people can enjoy the Grand Vege Party in the afternoon which will be joined by speakers and guests.

And I believe the Shoujin Ryouri Session will be helpful in understanding the Japanese mind (Japanese people often hesitate to waste even a grain of rice traditionally).

You don’t need much Japanese language ability for the Tokyo Veggie Bike Ride on September 4th.

I recommend not to miss Grand Vege Party on Sept. 4th. It is chance to get to know some vegetarian friends in Japan.

For more details of events see the website which has an English section: www.tokyovwf.com

Introducing Bonraspail – Natural Food and Deli. Organic food and a wide range of vegetarian food. Meguro Station, Tokyo, Japan. Day 3 of 3 – scroll down for more interviews.

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

They sell Rice Dream organic rice milk and Eden organic soy milk as well as other Japanese brands of organic soy milk. They have various grains including pre-cooked packages of brown rice. If you are putting together an earthquake disaster kits a few packages of pre-cooked brown rice may be worthwhile. They last for a year or so.

Introducing Bonraspail – Natural Food and Deli. Organic food and a wide range of vegetarian food. Meguro Station, Tokyo, Japan. Day 2 of 3 – scroll down for more interviews.

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Some of the items for vegetarians you can find at Bonraspail which are really worth knowing about are: 4 different kinds of Tasty Bite pre-cooked Indian Curries, some vegetarian, some vegan. They are delicious. Amy’s chilli. Various brands of vegetarian burgers. Sanitarium (San-Iku) vegetarian sausages made from gluten. Alishan and Sanitarium TVP and dried soy protein.

The Alishan Mung Bean Chips are not cooked with oil. They are baked. The only ingredients are mung beans and salt. They are a great source of protein and surprisingly yummy!

They also have organic dried beans such as chick peas and lentils.

Introducing Bonraspail – Natural Food and Deli. Organic food and a wide range of vegetarian food. Meguro Station, Tokyo, Japan. Day 1 of 3 – scroll down for more interviews.

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Bonraspail sells fresh organic fruit and vegetables and a wide range of vegetarian items. They carry many high quality items from Alishan Organic Foods.

They also sell bento lunches and dinners made with brown rice. A rarity in Tokyo!

They are located in the basement of the Hill Top Garden complex. If you come out of the Meguro JR Line exit and turn to the left, go down the stairs out of the station. You will see a Starbucks. Just by Starbucks there is a down escalator that will take you to Bonraspail. Ph:03-6408-8467

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 7 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

There is also a community room available for rent at quite reasonable prices. All kinds of classes and exhibitions are held there. Art classes and exhibitions, ikebana, yoga etc.

Kiyoe Kiuchi teaches yoga classes there. She also teaches yoga classes at a café in Fuchu with a similar concept. I haven’t been to her class but a friend of mine says she is a wonderful teacher. She can be contacted directly about yoga classes on 090-2448-0960 or email kiyokyoga@yahoo.co.jp

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 6 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Monday, August 22nd, 2005

Upstairs they have a “Box Gallery”. Various artists and craftspeople “rent a box” (¥2400 per month) space to put their goods on sale. Bears Well is an interesting concept for sure. It has a warm, nurturing atmosphere. Definitely worth a visit.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 5 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

Joe, the chef who is from Thailand is definitely open minded enough to cater for special requests. The food is so reasonably priced I sometimes feel embarrassed at how much I get and how little I have paid for it. I hope they can stay in business!


Joe teaches Thai cooking lessons and Thai vegetable carving lessons at the café.

A 2 hour cooking lesson or carving lesson is ¥2500. He also teaches the Thai language at ¥2000 per hour.

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 4 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

The café is owned by architect Noburu Iijima and Kazufumi Ootomo. The natural materials Noburu Iijima uses in his buildings is displayed in the café. He uses special materials made of earth to cover walls. This is of special interest to people with allergies as they are non-allergenic and made of a natural kind of earth which is good for the environment.

All the products on sale are fair trade goods. They also sell a Japanese catalogue of fair trade goods that sells a huge range of items.

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 3 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Friday, August 19th, 2005

Another typical non-sense experience I had recently was in a tempura restaurant in Kamakura. Took a friend from Australia down to Kamakura to see some temples and the Daibutsu. Got to about 7pm and we were a little peckish. Wanted to give my friend an experience in a Mama and Papa type authentic Japanese restaurant. So of course there was no vegetarian set…goes without saying. I chose the prawn set and asked if they could not give me the prawns and give me an extra piece of pumpkin or green pepper or something. Nope! No way. Spent a good 5 minutes trying every which way to get my way – but to no avail! AND we were the only two people in the restaurant – wasn’t like I was going to fry the chef’s brain because he was so busy and didn’t have time deal with a special request. Things like this just blow my mind. I’ve been living in Japan for 14 years and I’ve learnt to accept a lot of things, even concluded the Japanese way of doing some things is better in some cases – but I don’t think I will ever get this mind set. It is like you are dealing with a public servant from hell or something! So anyway my friend got a culture lesson as well! She kindly ate my prawns and gave me some of her veges.

I know I am supposed to be talking about Bears Well Café here – my point is that when you have one of these days where you feel like you’ve been trapped in an elevator with a public servant from hell, overwhelmed by how a lack of common sense can make even simple things so difficult – the Bears Well Café is the perfect antidote.

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 2 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Thursday, August 18th, 2005

Sometimes Japanese rules really get to me. The other day I was at an organic store (that I will introduce next week). It has a lot of vegetarian food and I wanted to take some photos to let people know what kind of products they have. No matter how I explained to the manager that I would be helping his store by letting people know about it, he would not allow me to take photos without a “shome” – official signed certificate – in Japanese. I tried to explain how harmless what I was doing was – but no go! I explained that it would cost ¥3000-¥6000 to get someone to translate the shome into Japanese and that this seemed like a waste of money to me. His response was “you are in Japan”. Lucky he told me ’cause I was sure I was in Hawaii. ; ) Watch out for my daring and “illegal”, incredibly exciting photos of vegetables next week!

Introducing the Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café in Gakugei-Daigaku, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, (Japan). Get your heart and soul mended and some very reasonably priced food and drinks. Day 1 of 7 – scroll down for more interviews.

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

Get your heart and soul mended at Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café. I have to say this is possibly one of the friendliest places I have been to in Tokyo. It is heartwarming to go to a place that is so community and ecologically minded. Everyone from the owner to the chef are totally welcoming, and even open to crazy foreign ideas. A rarity in Tokyo!

Bears Well Café is near Gakugei Daigaku Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line in Meguro-ku, Tokyo. It is an ecological shop and café that sells a wide range of fair trade goods. It is refreshingly foreigner friendly in the frequently icey big city (that I love). The food and drinks are VERY reasonably priced. They have their very own Thai chef (from Thailand).

If you have one of those days where you try to “break” a completely non-sense “rule” in Japan, or possibly a whole set of rules. If you are feeling downhearted, or even like crying – head down to Bears Well Café and I assure you your heart will be restored.

Bears Well Ecological Shop & Café
Website: www.bearswell.com
Tel/Fax: 03-3792-5557
Open 11am to 8pm.

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 7 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Sunday, August 14th, 2005

Day 7 – Q7: Everything’s going great! I’m healthy, I like my job and I do yoga every week. Where do I go from here?

Reply: Fantastic question! I often contemplate this question myself. The answer is as wide and as varied as there are people in the world. Ask 100 yoga teachers and they’ll each tell you something a little different.

Yoga Life
I believe living your life in a way that is balanced and flowing is one way to continue growing as a person and as a yoga student. Educate yourself about the yogic way of life, question everything and seek to do no harm and to help others.


Yoga Garden yoga studio

If you practice yoga in a studio every week, try to incorporate what you’re learning there into your daily life. Build a regular practice at home and try to spend a few minutes each day in quiet meditation. Even a few minutes each day spent contemplating the breath or listening to your inner wisdom can help create a lifetime of stillness and openness.

These are my recommendations. What do you think will help you create more space, peace and wholeness in your life? In the world? Start there.

About Gwen
Gwen Bell is co-founder and an instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). She teaches challenging and relaxing Vinyasa Flow classes to students of all levels. You can reach her by email at gwen@yogagarden.jp and find out more about the studio at www.yogagarden.jp. She is an inquisitive student of life and appreciates any feedback and questions you may have about yoga.

Interview with Gwen Bell co-founder and instructor at Yoga Garden yoga studio in Motomachi, Yokohama (Japan). Take-out Yoga: Yoga for Modern Life! Day 6 of 7 day interview – scroll down for more interviews.

Saturday, August 13th, 2005

Day 6 – Q6: When I try to fall asleep, my mind is filled with worries and nervous energy. Is there a connection between yoga and good sleep?
Reply: Most of us suffer from insomnia from time to time, and there is a proven link between a regular yoga routine and relief for chronic fatigue. Before lying down to go to sleep, try doing relaxing or restorative yoga and meditation.

Sleep Yoga Flow
Begin in Corpse pose, with the entire back resting on the floor, the chin slightly tucked and the eyes closed. The arms and legs are relaxed and the heart area is open. Bring the knees to the chest and squeeze them towards you with your arms wrapped around the legs. Inhale, then exhale and roll over onto your right side. Yawn. Stretch the legs out and remain on your side. Bring the left arm straight out in front of the body. With an inhalation, rotate the arm up towards the head, exhale and continue bringing the arm around, in essence making a gigantic circle with the arm. Inhale; the arm comes back to center. Breathe slowly and mindfully as you make these circles. Then use the left arm to roll back into Corpse pose. Repeat on the other side, allowing the arm to hang in the places that you feel tightness. Breathe into the tight areas, and allow the breath to relax and tension in the shoulders.

When you’ve finished the shoulder rotations (1-2 minutes on each side), roll again onto your back and take the arms out into a T-shape at shoulder level. Lift the knees toward the chest and on an exhale allow the knees to drop slowly towards the floor. The head rolls gently to the side opposite the knees (the knees drop to the left, the head to the right). Close the eyes. Breathe and allow the body to relax in this pose before coming back to center and repeating on the opposite side. Take 5 minutes rotating between right and left before relaxing again in Corpse for 5-7 minutes, visualizing the body softening and sinking deeply into the floor/bed.

For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep, read this article on the connection between yoga and sleep.

I highly recommend Gwen’s classes. She is an amazing teacher. To find out more about Yoga Garden see their website www.yogagarden.jp or email Gwen at gwen@yogagarden.jp