I went to Xi’an (西安), China for four and a half weeks. I taught in the English program for Xi’an Jiaotong University, one of the top ten universities in China. They specialize in science programs. I taught first year students (between 18-20 years old). There were two sessions, each 2 weeks long. Classes were from 9-11:30 a.m., and from 1-3:30 p.m. Each class had about 35-39 students, so in total I taught about 155 Chinese students.

Xi’an is located in the middle of China, and was the capital for over 3,100 years. Xi’an is one of the great capital cities of the world, like Athens, Cairo, and Rome. Xi’an was the capital for over 13 Chinese dynasties, and is a great place to learn about the history of China. There are beautiful museums, temples, shrines, mosques, and parks. Xi’an was also the starting point of the Silk Road, and there are still people selling and buying silk, spices, and other fun things. There is lots of modern shopping too; it is a very multi-cultural and bustling city of over 8 million people!

The most famous thing there is the Terracotta Warriors. A group of farmers who were digging a well found them in 1973. I met one of the farmers at the museum, and shook his hand! That is a definite must-see if you go there. I also saw the Wild Goose Pagoda, Imperial Park, History Museum, Huaqing Hot Springs, went hiking at Huashan mountain, and more. It was a great trip, and I learned so much.

Linguistically, I thought the differences between simplified and traditional characters were interesting. For example, yán 言 means speech. But, it was reduced to two strokes. So, now huà (language) changed from 語 to 语, dìng (to agree, order) changed from訂 to 订, and so on. Some characters were completely changed, like dōng (east) changed from 東 to 东, mén (gate) changed from 門 to 门, and so on. It was sometimes hard to read a menu or a map!
Besides the history and language, the food was very good and cheap. I ate lots of tropical fruit, like mango, papaya, dragonfruit, and many more. The streets and air were clean, and I often used public transportation safely. I hope you have an opportunity to visit Xi’an in the future; it was an exciting, interesting, and fun trip that I will never forget.

‘underwater 2016’ Launch party – June 2016

三カ月に一度の展示替えパーティ。山下ジュンコさんの作品展「underwater 2016」が6月初旬よりスタートしました。それに伴うローンチパーティは、今回もお陰様でステキなパーティになりました。








Becoming a pescetarian was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made at age 20. I have not eaten meat since then except for fish, and I don’t plan to for the rest of my life. You might be wondering, “What is a pescetarian?” Pescetarianism, or pesco-vegetarianism, means being vegetarian while still including seafood in your diet. We cut out (don’t eat) red meat, pork, poultry, etc. from our diet like a vegetarian, but do not cut out fish and other seafood. Some pescetarians continue eating milk and eggs, and some choose not to. It is a personal choice, and each person is different.

Many people ask me “How did you do that? I could never give up meat!” The switch to a pescetarianism diet was actually easy for me. I feel a lot healthier eating this way, have a lot more energy, better skin, and it is easy to maintain a healthy weight. A lot of people don’t realize that over time, your body’s craving for meat disappears, and you will feel sick if you eat meat again.

So here are my top five reasons why many people become pescetarian.

1) Pescetarianism will improve your health.

A pescetarian diet reduces your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, stroke, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. According to the Yale College Vegetarian Society, experts say that up to 80 percent of cancer cases are preventable through healthy diets that contain low amounts of fats and oils, and high amounts of fiber ― the typical pescetarian diet.

Processed meat is often covered in pesticides and chemicals that are harmful, and after extended consumption, can be very dangerous, to humans. Every bite of processed meat contains seven cancer-causing pesticides. And here’s a shocking fact, brought to light by David Steinman’s “Living Healthy in a Toxic World“: The primary source of nuclear radiation contamination in humans is from beef and dairy products.

Many people ask me about protein. All of the protein you need can come from fish, many fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Vegetarian diets supply more than adequate amounts of protein. Also, fish is very low in saturated fat and contains very large quantities of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which have been connected to treatments for heart disease, depression, ADD, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Another benefit is the healthy amount of iron in fish and seafood. Pescetarians have a lower risk of developing iron deficiency anemia ― a common condition among vegans and vegetarians.

2) Becoming a pescetarian is good for our planet.

The Vegetarian Resource Group reports that one pound of beef requires 2,500 gallons of water, but a pound of soy requires only 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat requires only 25 gallons. Also, deforestation caused by the need to create space for livestock is tremendous. Every year 20,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest disappear, and 80 percent of that is because of livestock.

The livestock and the fertilizers create waste and toxic emissions. Livestock raised for slaughter produce 130 times the excrement (waste) of the entire human population. Many fertilizers and waster also run into rivers and oceans, and create “dead zones” where sea animals or plants cannot live. The grains and corn that livestock usually eat, could feed the 60 million human beings who die of starvation every year. Nutritionist Jean Mayer says if we reduced our meat consumption by just 10 percent, we could feed another 60 million hungry people.

3) To be against animal cruelty.

Most people know some of what is going on in slaughterhouses and livestock farms. They know that animals are bred and be killed and eaten by humans. But people may not know about the disgusting conditions and inhumane treatment of these animals. Animals are subjected to some pretty terrible living conditions, full of excrement and flies, packed into crates so crowded that they can’t move. They don’t live in natural habits.

Chickens for example are kept in big warehouses in tiny wire cages as big as file cabinets ― packed with about 10 or more chickens. The chickens peck at each other, so their beaks are removed. This is called de-beaking. This is done to each chicken with no painkillers. Their breasts are so heavy from injected growth hormones that they sometimes can’t fly or stand, and their legs are often broken. Many cages have chickens that die from a disease, and other chickens eat the dead body, spreading disease. The treatment of hogs and cows are just as terrible.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
- Paul McCartney

4) We aren’t natural carnivores (meat eaters).

Natural carnivores have claws, pointed front teeth to tear raw flesh, and they sweat through their tongues. Herbivores (plant eaters) and omnivores (meat and plant eaters) don’t have claws, have dull teeth, and sweat through the skin. Carnivores also have short intestines, but herbivores and omnivores have intestines that are several times their body length. Human intestines are about 25 feet long.

Fish are digested much, much quicker than red meat. Fish and seafood have omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are necessary in the diet of a human being. However I still recommend you avoid fish that come from fish farms, and try to consume only wild fish from the sea or rivers. Then, you get omega-3 acids in the purest and healthiest form, and also reduce your risk of consuming sick fish that may be packed with chemicals from fish farms.

5) Vegetarian and pescetarian diets are easier to follow than a vegan diet.

There are many types of vegetarians, and they all are trying to improve their health, be anti-animal cruelty, and take care of our planet. Some types of vegetarians, called vegans, are very strict. Vegans cut out all animal products from their diet and lifestyle, including leather, honey, gelatin, white sugar, and so on. Even though vegan diets might be the best for health and Earth, they take a lot of planning and time, and can be difficult at social events. Vegan diets are very difficult and strict, so many people choose to be vegetarian or pescetarian instead. It is easy to find vegetable and seafood options in most restaurants!

Allow me to introduce myself…

Hello everyone, my name is Nicky and I’m from New York City, just like Chris! New York City has five boroughs, he is from Brooklyn borough and I am from Queens borough. It is a very interesting, diverse, expensive place to grow up. If you have any questions about NYC, please ask!

I came to Japan in 2005, and lived in Osaka for two years, Kyoto for two years, then back to Osaka where I live now. Osaka is a great place to live, and Ashiya seems very interesting too!

In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, doing yoga, and traveling. Besides Japan, I have been to over 11 countries. But, Japan is by far my favorite. I love Japanese art, books, fashion, food, sake, craft beer, technology, and lifestyle. My second favorite country is Cambodia, the people, food, historical buildings, and nature are spectacular. I volunteered there for two weeks, and I will never forget it.

I’m looking forward to meeting and chatting with you at imagine*!

‘〜はるかなる宇宙と未来へ〜 to the cosmos and future far away’ Launch party – March 2016

遡る事10年前、大阪のギャラリー CASO で、友人が参加していたグループ展を見に行ったことがあるのですが、その展覧会で展示されていた岩澤有徑さんの雲の作品が印象に残っていて、急にその作品のことを思い出し、展示をお願いしたいと思い立ちました。岩澤有徑さんは、国内に限らず海外でも展覧会を開かれ、多岐に渡り活躍されている現代美術作家さんです。私自身、全く面識がなかったため、友人を介して連絡してもらい、今回イマジンでの展示が実現しました。


春キャベツのコールスロー、菜花の手毬寿司、タスマニアンマスタードと響のローストポーク、女王蜂「響」のミニロールケーキ、「響」のマカロン、文旦と「響」のマチェドニア…… ナチュラルな春色のカラフルな食材がセンスよくならび、いつもながら目にも楽しいお料理を『食べるもったいないなぁ』なんて話しながらも、美味し過ぎるので結局食べ過ぎてしまいました。ソムリエ・本城真矢さんにセレクトしてもらった蜂蜜を使ったお料理に合うワインも大好評でした。




Saint Patrick’s Day

March 17th, or as it is known in many countries around the world, Saint Patrick’s Day, is the most important national holiday in Ireland. It is a day when the whole country celebrates simply being Irish, and the rich culture and heritage of Ireland.

Dublin Paddy’s Day 2009

The day is named after Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to the island in the 5th century – over 1,500 years ago! For hundreds of years he has been celebrated ever since, and he is the “patron saint” of Ireland. (A “patron saint” is the national saint chosen by each Christian country; for example, Saint George in England, or Saint Andrew in Scotland.)

Today, people wear green – the national colour – and old Irish costumes along with modern versions of saints and leprechauns. Large folk dances are held in some areas, called “céili” (in the Irish language, “Gaelic”) and traditional music can be heard on the streets and in the pubs and parks around the country.

Guinness Storehouse St. Patrick’s Day Sign

The most important event is usually the St. Patrick’s Day parade, where you can see and hear all of these things and more, with music, dance, acrobats and costumes from Ireland and other countries where the Irish live in large numbers. The largest parade in Ireland is held in my home city of Dublin, and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year and is broadcast live on TV for hours. (The smallest parade is in a small town in Cork, and is only 23 metres long!) Nowadays, the St. Patrick’s Day “Festival” takes almost a week and there are many events around the city.

Parades can be found in cities around the world – the biggest is not in Ireland, but in New York. In fact, the St. Patrick’s Day parade there is the oldest parade in the world! In London, Sydney, Chicago, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires you can find parades too, along with many smaller cities worldwide.

Sydney Opera House St. Patrick’s Day 2010

Chicago River Dyed Green St. Patrick’s Day

New York City St. Patrick’s Day

Yes, even in Japan you can find them – there has been a parade every year in Tokyo since 1992, and there are smaller events in Kumamoto and Osaka too.

Traditionally, the head of the Irish government is invited to the White House in Washington to be presented with a bowl of “shamrock” by the President of the US. St. Patrick’s Day is a time to share with your friends and family, both near and far.

Doing yoga in India was heaven for me.




鳥のさえずりや動物の鳴き声が聴こえ、黄色の花が飾られ、焚かれていたエッセンシャルオイルの香りに癒され、ヨガマットの上には赤いバラの花びら、バジルとレモンを絞った中にインドのお砂糖 Jaggery(ジャグリー)で少し甘みが加えられたホットティーは、何も食べられなかった身体に隅々まで浸透していき、全身を温めてくれました。さすが5つ星ホテル。パフォーマンスも完璧です。90分間のレッスンのうち、30分近くはカウンセリング、心が開放され、先生が唄う生のマントラでヨガレッスンが始まりました。先生の言われる通り呼吸に集中し、ただひたすらアサナ(ポーズ)を取りながら身体を動かしました。少しずつ体調が回復していく実感があり、自分の内蔵が正常に機能していく感覚を覚えました。レッスン終了後、あまりの気持ちよさ、心地よさに感動しました。

受講前にヨガレッスンのスタイルを事細かく要望して用意頂いたメニューでもないのに、私がまさに望んでいたレッスンを私の体調を考慮しその場で組み立ててくださった先生に心から感謝しました。私の人生において、運が良い事として自信を持って言えることは、いつでもどんな場所でも素晴らしい出会いがあり、人に助けてもらえることだと自負していますが、今回それを確信したまでです。Sarika 先生に「Namaste(ありがとう)」を何度も伝えました。そのホテルでの滞在2日間で計3レッスンも、Sarika 先生のレッスンを受講し、今回のインドの旅が終了しました。

さらにヨガについて追求して行きたいと思うようになり、旅から戻った今も、Sarika 先生とメールで連絡を取り合っています。また先生のヨガを受けられる日を夢見て、日々精進しなくては!

‘ストーブ’ Launch party – December 2015



お料理は、昨年好評だったターキーに加えて、アメリカ出身の英会話講師 Chris の家庭で、毎年のクリスマスにお母さんが焼くパンプキンパイを、料理家・櫻井絵里子さんに再現してもらいました。コンデンスミルクにスパイスの効いたパンプキンパイを、トースターで温め直して紅茶と一緒にいただきました。食べた経験のないこのパンプキンパイをできるかぎり Chris の家庭に近づけるため、櫻井さんは何度も試作を重ねてくださり、MUSICA(ムジカ)さんの紅茶とも相性抜群でした。

MUSICA さんからはパーティ用にとポットを貸していただいたり、紅茶の煎れ方も、事前に社長さん自ら直接ご指導いただいておりました。お料理に合うワインはソムリエの本城真矢さんのセレクトで、ターキーにぴったりのワインを味わえられました。携わってくださった方々のお陰で素敵なパーティとなりました。本当にありがとうございます。

makomo さんの作品も好評で、オリジナルの冊子は既に完売してしまったものもあり、大人女子、子供からも大人気です。レッスンが始まるまでの待ち時間に、絵本のサンプルを楽しんで読んでいただいている方も多いです。makomo さんの作品は2016年2月末までの展示予定で、作品見学※にお越しいただくだけでもお気軽にお立ち寄りください。



‘宇宙ノ庭デ マタ会フ日マデ’ Launch party – September 2015

イマジン語学スタジオにて30人目となる展示作家さん。小野さや香さんの作品展示「宇宙ノ庭デ マタ会フ日マデ」が始まりました。小野さんは、アーティスト兼アートセラピスト。絵の展示だけでなく言葉も綴っておられます。絵の作品には金箔が多く使われていて、見る角度や光の陰影によって見え方が変わります。色合いがやわらかで心癒される展示となりました。




Catching up with my friends!


ここのところ国内旅行でもホテルに滞在せずバンガローやコテージを借りることが多いのですが、いつも困るのは朝食用のパン。旅先の慣れない土地で美味しいパン屋さんに巡り会う事は難しいですが、パリではそんな心配は無用でした。8月のバカンス時期とはいえ、パン屋さんも多く開いており、クロワッサン、クロックムッシュ、バケットなど迷って困る程に美味しいパンが溢れていました。アパートの場所は、Bastille(バスティーユ)というマレ地区近くで、地下鉄 Bastille 駅から徒歩5分圏内。どこへ行くにも便利な場所でした。パリらしい中庭のある小さなアパートは、ホテルより気ままで自由で居心地の良いものでした。



その滞在中にユーロスターで1日だけロンドンを往復しました。イマジン語学スタジオを一緒に立ち上げたイギリス人夫妻の Ed と Becca に会うためです。

朝早くからユーロスターに乗ってパリからロンドンへ。ずっとトンネルの中を走るものと思っていたら外の景色を見る時間も長く、フランスとイギリスの田舎町をぼーっと眺めていたらあっという間にロンドンへ着きました。ロンドンに着いたのが朝10時前、待ち合わせの13時までどう時間を過ごそうか悩んだあげく、とりあえず Camden Town へ地下鉄で向かいました。電車に乗ったら工事中のため Camden Town 駅が閉鎖されていると放送があり、止まる事なく通り過ぎ、、、仕方なく次の駅で下車。時間が早いせいかまだお店も開いておらず時間を持ち余していたところ通称「 ボリス・バイク」と呼ばれているレンタル自転車を発見!天気も良かったので、これで時間を潰す事に。

どれ位の距離か全く分からない中、ハイドバークを目指してオックスフォードストリートをガンガン走り抜けました。自転車はバス通りと同じため二階建てバスやタクシーに挟まれながら走ります。無事ハイドバークへ到着し、公園を1周した後、King’s Cross 駅に自転車で戻りました。待ち合わせ時間ギリギリに到着!

3時間ほど自転車を乗り回した話をしたら、3年ぶりに会った Becca に「 You are crazy! 」と言われてしまいました(笑 3年ぶりとは思えない程二人とも変わらず( Ed の髭は長かったけれど)再会に喜びました。二人の子供 Henry が6才の誕生日を迎える直前で、英語を(当たり前ですが)流暢に話している様子を見て確かに3年経ったんだなと確信しました。



Nouvelle vidéo démonstration de sécurité Air France / New Air France safety demonstration video