#kutoo Movement: Yumi’s Small Tweet Becomes a Movement to Help Women in Japan

All she said was, “I want to diminish this rule that women have to wear high-heel shoes or pumps at work.  When I was a student, I worked at one hotel for 1 month wearing pumps and it was not sustainable.  Why women have to suffer from foot and legs to be hurt when working while men can wear flat shoes, I wonder?”

Yumi Ishikawa tweeted the above in January in 2019, and her tweet was re-tweeted almost 65,000 times since then.  She started to collect petitions and I heard that 30,000+ were collected.  I assume she didn’t mean to start this giant feminism movement, but all she wanted to do is to remove this social pressure of “women are supposed to look like women,” starting with the form of shoes.

I have a privilege to work at the company in the U.S. where I can wear anything (almost) I want to.  I only have 2 pairs of high-heel shoes in my wardrobe and I wear sneakers and flats at work everyday , so I hadn’t thought (or forgotten, rather) about the culture of femininity of Japanese society.  Knee-high skirts and high-heels…the most uncomfortable attire to work, especially when you are on foot all day.  And mind you, they also have a long commute on the train and/or the bus, standing.  

I don’t oppose to people, man or women who want to wear high-heel shoes.  I am not stopping them at all, and neither is Yumi.  What I want for all of us, I mean ALL of us, is to have liberty of choice.  What to wear, how to act, what to eat, and how to speak.

I grew up in a household that my father would say something like, “You should act like a woman.”  I always wonder that the fuck that means.




パブリックスクールが、閉鎖になると聞いて思ったのは、貧困層の家庭、シングルピアレントの家庭はどうなっちゃうのか、ということ。パブリックのフリーミールプランに頼ってる人達は、たくさんいるだろう。サービス業についているお父さん、お母さんはリモートワークなんてできないんだから、その間、子供達はどうしてるんだろう。シッターさんを頼める余裕がある家庭は少ないんだろう。アメリカでは、一定の年齢に達していない子供は、一人で留守番ができないようになっているから 、そしたらその親御さんたちは、仕事を休むしかなくなって、お給料が入ってこなくなる。そうなったら、ごはんが食べられなくなる。。。そのあたりの保障、ワシントン州は、きちんと考えているんだろうか。どこもそうかもしれないけど、この国は貧困層は、さらに貧困にさらされるシステムになっている。そういうときに「だから、選挙が大事!」とよく聞くけど、選挙で、そういうシステムをひっくり返してくれる人が選ばれて、ちゃんとひっくり返るかどうかなんて、信じてないし、可能だと思えない、もう。遅すぎるよ。


Tender Heart Heals Your Broken Heart

Tender Heart Heals Your Broken Heart

I want that kind of face with a huge smile. I admire her gentle heart. Her smile reminds me of autumn sunset.

Cindy was sitting and waiting for me to meet up for a coffee that morning. She was looking at her phone and reading something. Even from the distance, I could see her kind eyes and lips were forming my favorite shape. Smile. I approached to her and she looked up. Her smile got bigger and that made me choke. My throat got tighten and my eye welled up. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.

She is a great hugger too. She held me the way I wanted to be held (of course, I didn’t realize that until she did). As soon as I started hearing her soothing voice, my emotion got flooded. I told her my struggles. She showed her empathy, understanding and shared her own struggles. She was there. I mean, she really exited and showed up to heal my broken heart. She did not lose her smile even when we were talking about rough subjects. Then, I lost it and started sobbing.

“You are enough.”

Cindy said that to me twice sincerely when we said good-bye. She went through rough times, challenges and difficulties, but she embraces all of it. That makes her such a strong and resilient human being. Because of that, she possesses the tenderest heart and she is a person who tell others “you are enough.”

Those three words are so powerful and beautiful to me.
I will keep them with me each and every day. Thank you for your gift, Cindy. You are enough also.


Today’s Happy Thoughts: My Favorite Things

Today’s Happy Thoughts:  My Favorite Things

I saw someone was writing what 5 thing that make her happy on her blog.  I was inspired by her and here are 5 things make me happy at this moment, 10:56am on April 7th Tue (it changes slightly & often J)

The fact that my longtime friend Rika will be joining me in Kyoto this next week for 1.5 days.  I haven’t seen her since December 2008.  She is such a caring, kind, classy and beautiful (inside and out) person.  When I was younger, I always wonder why I didn’t grow up like her.  She has my highest regards.

Going to visit Kyoto in 1.5 days.  I am not completely excited yet but it makes me happy when I think about all these food I can eat (I will pig out when I am there!) and temples I visit just spend some time with myself.

Oh my god, I can’t believe I am writing about this.  This Japanese TV show called “Dr. Koto Shinryojo” is actually making me happy?  Yes it is.  Don’t judge.  It is a great human drama.  This one young genius surgeon arrived this small little farthest West island of Japan where takes 6-hour ferry ride just to get to the main land from the huge and prestigious hospital in Tokyo.  The island has a population of only 1,500 people and they have never had an established clinic with quality medical staff and services.  He struggles hard at first because people living on that island don’t trust him.  They are very resistant and not welcoming.  Because of his never-give-up personality, chill-ness and his talent, gradually he starts to earn everyone’s trust.  I did a Dr. Koto marathon this past weekend and watched 13 episodes in 2 days.  I feel like such a loser but what can I say?  Season 2 is waiting for me when I go home tonight (crap, I will have to pack for the trip!).  Again, please do not judge.

My Ginger.  Especially when she leans over in my bed and starts to snore.  She is almost 10 years old, stubborn and independent.  She loves corn kernels and white rice.  She also farts a lot.


Archie.  My best friend, my person and partner in crime.

I lead a very happy life.

April 4th 3.0: mkt.

April 4th 3.0: mkt.

Ethan Stowell is beloved, down to earth kind of guy.  He owns 9 restaurants and 1 pizzeria all in Seattle.  He will be opening 3 more this year.  Yes, he is beloved and down to earth kind of guy, but he is also crazy.

He is crazy about food.  He is crazy about connection and relationships between food and people who eat his food.  Most of his restaurants are intimate settings.  Some have community table and some only seat 30 people or so.  Kitchens are not hidden, usually open.  Today is April 4th and it is a special day for me.  Archie was successful not to disclose where he was taking me this last Saturday night until we were almost there.

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Here is mkt.in Meridian neighborhood near Green Lake in Seattle.  When I opened the door, first thing you see is an small and open kitchen with 5-seat counter.  Very close to people sitting next to you.  We were seated right in front of Alvin. Perfect.  I was able to see what he was cooking and how he prepares the meal.  His expression and his voice.  I was feeling his and his crew’s energy flowing through this intimate restaurant.  They use Pacific Northwest Ingredients.  Alvin puts lots of care and just right amount of Jaconsen Salt and care.  American fare without any pretentiousness.  Great balance of boldness and sensitivities.

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My favorite restaurants always have great balance of 3-pillars, chef, service crew, food.   This place has food and chef covered.  OK, service crew.  Awesome.  Seth was our crew who tended to our  table and he was so much fun, cracking jokes, laughing with us, fist-bumping us, and cursing appropriately (yes, we curse a lot).  He is one of those people you actually want to eat dinner and share a bottle of red wine with.

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I am happy to say I found another excellent Seattle eatery that I want to go back many times more.  My April 4th was fulfilled with joy.

April 4th: Love Letter to the Best Friend

April 4th: Love Letter to the Best Friend

I’m overwhelmed with happiness when I am with you. I am so madly in love with you. I wish there was a better way to say it. I am not the most eloquent when saying this but I know what I feel. When I think about you or about us, the emotion build up inside and spill out. It’s embarrassing at times but I like the feelings that I feel for you. My favorite times with you are just being near you. It could be a rainy day at home or walking through the park or a lovely dinner for the two of us or traveling to some new exciting place, it doesn’t matter I just want you near me. Forever.  I love you so much – Jeff M.  

Good Luck Veggie: Renkon (Lotus Roots)

Good Luck Veggie: Renkon (Lotus Roots)

It is a good luck vegetable so Japanese people eat Lotus Roots as part of special New Year meal.  Why is this root vegetable is good luck?  As you can see you can see holes of Renkon as photo shown below.  It is said that you can see the future.  Also, Renkon produces tons of seeds, therefore it means “productivity.”  Kind of clever, huh?


I am fortunate enough to be able to buy Renkon at Asian market in International District so I keep it in my fridge often.  I usually simply sautée it with different kinds of seasonings each time.  Last night, I sliced it in ½-inch thick, sautéed with sesame oil (I love sesame oil by the way, so fragrant), sprinkle of salt, splash of fish sauce and dash of black vinegar.  I am very enthusiastic about black vinegar.  This is one of  several fermented seasonings that I am in love with.  Black vinegar is very smooth, malty and mellow, not stingy.  When you cook vegetables, any meat or fish, your dish ALWAYS come out complex, yet mild, rich and delicious.  If you use black vinegar when making hot and sour soup, your soup would taste divine!

Anyway, here is last night’s magic.  Black vinegar and home-shaved bonito on top of sautéed renkon.  It only takes about 10 minutes to cook.  All you need besides the renkon dish is white rice.  Savory and comforting dinner is ready.