ステップアップ-STEP UP・アメリカ人講師 Jonathan ジョナサン
Greetings, everyone! I`m Jonathan (or Jon) from Washington, D.C. in America. Before I moved to Japan, I was a high school teacher. I taught courses in Literature and Composition and really enjoyed it. Now I enjoy teaching various aspects of English, including TOEIC and TOEFL. In my spare time I enjoy mountain sports like snowboarding, rock climbing and mountain biking. I also like cooking, reading and practicing my Japanese when I have time. I look forward to another great year in Sapporo!
Three meals a day?
Most societies believe that having three “square” meals a day is the optimal way to eat. Every meal should be a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, minerals and vitamins. According to conventional nutritional wisdom, this means we must eat once in the morning, again around midday and then have a final meal in the evening. While this schedule may prove easy enough for children, the eating patterns of adults are subject to a host of factors, their jobs being the first.
Anyone adult knows the difficulties in eating well as life becomes increasingly complex. Personally, I often don’t have “dinner” until after I get home at night, sometimes at 9:30 or even 10pm. And if I eat dinner at, say, 10:30 I’m rarely hungry for breakfast the next morning at 8am. No matter. I’m an adult – I eat when I’m hungry. I wonder, though, how many of us eat when we’re not hungry? Do you ever find yourself sitting down at a restaurant with friends or family, even though you don’t have much of an appetite? What do you do, then? Many of us eat anyhow, just because we worry it would be rude not to. While it may be the socially expected thing to do, is it the healthy choice?
I think we need to be more honest about when we’re hungry and when we’re not. Just because it’s “time to eat” doesn’t mean we should. As my 92-year-old grandmother once told me, “It’s good to let your stomach go empty at least once a day.” Happily, taking this advice has kept my waistline the same since I was 18. I suspect it’s helped her reach the grand old age she has, as well.
Two hours from now I’ll be sitting down with my family at a new Korean restaurant. I’m not hungry now…I doubt I will be then, either. I may nibble, but I certainly won’t gorge myself. And while it may be a missed chance to eat a lot of great food, my body will thank me for not overeating. I do expect I’ll imbibe a beverage or two, though ; P
The fungus among us
Did you know that everyday, we encounter fungi thousands of times? We breath in fungal spores floating in the air, transport them on our bodies and step on them when we stroll through the park. In fact, just stepping on patch of healthy soil puts you in contact with miles of mycelium – the threadlike roots of fungi. Recently, after listening to an interview with mycologist Paul Stamets, I became more interested in mushrooms and the mycelium from which they sprout. Dr. Stamets is a mycologist – a scientist who studies mushrooms. Of course, not all mushrooms are safe to ingest, but many of them are and they have myriad health benefits that we’re just beginning to understand. And new ways to use mycelium to fix our environment are also being developed.
Japan is famous for having a diverse range of mushrooms found in just as diverse a culinary tradition. This is true in the west as well. In America and other countries, big portabello mushroom burgers are common substitutes to hamburgers. Besides being a healthy alternative to meat, they are also easy to propagate at home. I have friends who grow edible mushrooms in their gardens that have a surprising range of flavor. I encourage us all to study about and eat more mushrooms. In particular, I love the kanji for mushroom – 茸. Grass over an ear = mushroom. What an easy character to remember.
A gritty time of year
The snow is melting here in Sapporo and downtown the streets are covered in grit. What is grit? It’s the black crushed stone scattered over the ice and snow to prevent people from slipping.
Sidewalks, streets, city corners – there’s grit everywhere. This morning after riding my bike to work, I had to dump the grit out of my boots! Yes, Sapporo is pretty gritty.
But grit is much more than just crushed rock – it’s also a word that connotes things like determination, perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. People with grit are tough and don’t give up easily. A gritty situation is one that’s difficult, and tests your will power and strength. And when you’re talking about very fine small details, you’re talking about the nitty gritty details.
So while grit may make the streets unpleasantly dirty for a few weeks before it’s swept up, grit is an important thing to have. It makes our citizens safer against injury and also (figuratively) stronger against the vicissitudes of life. We should all strive to have a little more grit in our lives – even if it means having it in our boots ; )
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