Excerpt Wednesday - "Green Tea Living: A Japan-Inspired Guide to Eco-friendly Habits, Health, and Happiness" by Toshimi A. Kayaki

Intern Intern - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In light of the new year and all the resolutions that come along with it, we’ve pulled this week’s excerpt from Toshimi A. Kayaki’s “Green Tea Living: A Japan-Inspired Guide to Eco-friendly Habits, Health, and Happiness”, a book that Eco-Libris recommends “for everyone who is looking to be healthier, happier and more eco-friendly."

Starting with the notion that some traditions—like drinking green tea for health and mental acuity—embody timeless wisdom for living, Kayaki offers dozens of wise old Japanese ways for improving how you look and feel while respecting nature and the environment. Carry your own pair of chopsticks, wear five-toe socks, eat salty plums, use rice water as floor wax, do “eco-laundry,” and always set aside 10 percent for savings . . . you get the idea. By leading a “green tea life,” you’ll help yourself and the planet.

These two passages provide simple yet thoughtful methods for improving your life in small but powerful ways:

Drinking Green Tea for Relaxation

When I’m nervous or worried, my body and mind call for green tea. After having a cup or two, I can relax. I don’t know why it helps; I just follow Grandma’s way.

She always told me to drink green tea if I was tense. I took it for granted that she knew what she was talking about. Current medical reports seem to confirm that she was right.

According to a study at the Nagoya University Department of Psychology in 2007, L-theanine is an amino acid in green tea leaves known to block the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain.

Because the characteristics of L-theanine suggest that it may influence psychological and physiological states under stress, it was suggested that the oral intake of L-theanine could have stress-reducing effects by inhibiting stimulation of cortical neurons.

My friend in France said that even there, drinking green tea is a chic and health-conscious thing to do. Her French friends realize that green tea has caffeine but it doesn’t make them feel irritated or jittery. Rather, they say, it has the opposite effect–it soothes and relaxes. However, it seems to brighten mind and spirit. L-theanine must do the trick!

Now I can tell my friends about the secret of green tea.

Relaxation: Listening to Nature

When you go out into nature, listen to the sounds.

Birds. Wind. Animals. Water insects.

I heard from a friend, an American poet, that Japanese hear nature differently. Can you hear what they hear?

A bush warbler sings “Ho-ho-kekyo,” announcing spring is here.

In the summer time cicadas drone “Min-min-min.” It’s hot!

The autumn crickets chirp “Ri-n, ri-n.” It’s getting cooler.

Nature speaks.

Water hits rocks: music.

The wind blows through all four seasons. The traditional instruments–bamboo flute, taiko, koto, and shamisen–mimic the melodies as the seasons change.

Sounds of nature have healing tones.

For more information or to order a copy of "Green Tea Living", click here.
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Media Roundup

Intern Intern - Friday, January 13, 2017

The past month has been full of interesting and important news stories on all manner of topics and issues related to Japan and East Asia. Given this, we’ve put together a list of some of the top articles covering everything from Hayao Miyazaki’s birthday to the environmental relevancy of early 20th century Japanese poet Misuzu Kaneko. Catch up below: Read More

The Daily Nebraskan reviews "Japanese Girl at the Siege of Changchun"

Michael Palmer - Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thank you to Evan Pille at the The Daily Nebraskan for his thoughtful review of Japanese Girl at the Siege of Changchun. Read the review below or check it out at The Daily Nebraskan website here.  Read More

Japanese Girl at the Siege of Changchun

by Homare Endo; translated by Michael Brase

An unforgettable memoir of the horrors suffered by a Japanese family trapped in Changchun, China, at the end of WW2 


Division to Unification in Imperial China (vol. 2)

by Jing Liu

The second volume in this fun, comic-style series that explores China's transition from the Three Kingdoms to the Tang Dynasty.

Kanji Box

by Shogo Oketani, Leza Lowitz

Japanese characters served up with histories and cultural clues to help you decorate your skin/body/life with just the right word!


by Kittredge Cherry

Thirty years after its first publication, Womansword remains a timely, provocative work on how words reflect on female roles in modern Japan. Short, lively essays offer linguistic, sociological, and historical insight into issues central to the lives of women everywhere: identity, girlhood, marriage, motherhood, work, sexuality, and aging. A new introduction shows how things have—and haven't—changed.

Tokio Whip

by Arturo Silva

A group of people walk across, around, and all over Tokyo. They talk, talk, talk.

Innovating Out Of Crisis

by Shigetaka Komori

CEO Shigetaka Komori's own story of why Fujifilm succeeded where Kodak failed, with hard-won lessons for managers and employees everywhere

Japanese Garden Notes

by Marc Peter Keane

Marc Peter Keane's personal journey through 100 Japanese gardens, looking at them with a designer’s eye.

Kanji Pict-o-Graphix

by Michael Rowley

A visual delight, this bestselling, award-winning book makes a great classroom resource and a wonderful study aid.