Chickpea Journey: to Japanese Homemade Miso

Chickpea Journey: to Japanese Homemade Miso

She is very intelligent, creative, sweet, classy and smart.  She grew up in Hiroshima in Japan and teaches Japanese at private elementary school in Seattle.  I met her for the first time through our mutual friend about month ago.  We hit it off right away and her stories sounded so interesting to me.  She mentioned making miso at her home when we first met and I thought she was my kind of people 🙂

Today she and I got together for brunch at Terra Plata in Capitol Hill.  She brought me a jar of her miso, made with chickpea!  When I opened the lid of the container, it smelled so vibrant. That was the first time for me to try homemade miso ever.  I decided right there to prepare cabbage miso soup tonight.

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This is tonight’s miso soup, made with miso that she poured her passion and love into.  It came out SO delicious.  It reminded of her.  Sweet, wholesome and healthy.

Powerful Message without Being Loud: All the Way from Tokyo

Powerful Message without Being Loud:  All the Way from Tokyo

Since the middle of January, our company has been in an odd place and I have been feeling unsettled.  It’s quite tiring, both physically and mentally (maybe more so mentally). By the time I come home every night, all I can think about is my bed.  Warm blanket and comfortable pillow, my dog and a book.  Recently, I notice I barely can read more than 5 pages because I fall asleep so fast.  Archie has to take my glasses and turn the light off for me almost every night.

Last night I came home dog-tired after learning my dear friend and co-worker was going to be released from his team soon.  Like any other corporation, layoffs are happening.  I work for a large corporation and all they do is cut people off every now and then so they can increase their stock price, which makes investors happy. I get how it works.  At the human level however, I can’t agree with how they handled it.  It is just inhumane.  Yes, I understand this needs to happen but he is beyond my co-worker, he is my friend.

I was emotionally drained but I made it home.  Then I saw this box sitting on my dining table.  It was a package from my friend who lives in Japan.  She and I have known each other for about 30 years.  We haven’t been able to see each other at all for this last 15 years or so but we connected through Instagram (or Facebook, can’t remember…either way it was one of these social media stuff).  She is positive, kind, supportive and beautiful.  My favorite characteristic of her is her thoughtfulness.  This package is full of her thoughtfulness.  She remembered what I mentioned long time ago and she took time to go get them and send them to me.  She is a mother of two and I know she does not have lots of time on her hand but she did it for me anyways.

As soon as I open the box, I was able to feel that.  I felt like the package arrived just in time to tell me not to get discouraged by the distracting things happening around me.  It felt like as if she was telling me “Cheer up.  It’s going to be OK” with a lovely smile on her face.  I choked up.  I wanted to share this with my friend who would have to leave the team soon so he could hear her simple yet strong message.

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So, today I shared this wonderfully and lusciously prepared short bread (no dairy and with simple ingredients) which my friend in Tokyo sent to me with my dear co-worker.  I do hope he got her message.  I hope at least he got to enjoy the moment he bit into the shortbread and brought a smile to him.  Even one second.

She probably does not have any idea what’s going on in Seattle but I can tell you, my friend, you brought us something very special and hopeful.  I will never forget that.

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Merry-Go-Round Life: Sending Aloha from Seattle

Merry-Go-Round Life:  Sending Aloha from Seattle

Sometimes it happens.  Your gut is telling you to do something right now.  That was me in April 2010.  I moved back from Atlanta, GA in November, 2009 with all these boxes and mental baggage. All of a  sudden, 5 months later, I felt an urge to reach out to her.

So I did.  The first 2 times, she wasn’t able to answer (later I found out she was vacationing in Honolulu, HI), but she called me back.  I asked if she could meet up with me for brunch and she was up for it.  We had brunch on Saturday morning at Broadway Grill in Capitol Hill, Seattle.  I remember I felt so relieved as soon as she gave me a BIG hug.  I nearly cried from the feeling of release.  The funny thing is that we worked together for a while and got along great, but we were not that close until that day.

Since then, we were lunch/brunch/movie buddies.  She is one of 3 people on the earth who does not make me feel uncomfortable and insecure about speaking English in front of them (my native language is Japanese).  I lost a significant person in my life in Atlanta and it had been destroying me.  I was able to be honest with her about what I was going though.  She listened, commented, encouraged and listened.  I have a few close friends in Seattle but she was the first and probably only person I wanted to tell what the hell was going on with my life back then.

A couple of years later when I decided to move on and made a big decision about my life, what she said to me was, “I am so happy for you because now you can ride a merry-go-around.”  My life had been insane like riding a roller coaster until then, now I can live a calm and quiet life with occasional exciting adventures without drama (well, most of the time) that I had longed for.

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My dear friend.  You made a courageous decision to move forward to find your own “Merry-Go-Round Life” filled with happiness, fun, glee and joy but without obligations and dramas (except for Korean & Taiwanese dramas!).  Whatever you choose to do, I promise I will always be your biggest supporter and be here for you.  Thank you for being such a great friend and never giving up on me.  I am forever grateful.

Now you go get it, girl.

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