Brown Rice & Bicycles through Tokyo’s Middle Way

watching the wind in the leaves against a post typhoon sky from takodanabab park toko

watching the wind in the leaves against a post typhoon sky from Takodanababa park

Brown rice is a neutral food, neutral in the sense that it is neither Yin nor Yang, heaty or cooly, acid or alkaline. It is in the state that human health aspires to, the middle way of the Buddha, the balance-point between the elements of the  taoist natural world,  the calm eye in  the centre of the Tokyo-typhhoon that Yoko and I were strolling  through whilst waves crashed and trees were being uprooted  along the Chiba coastline where we had planned to holiday.

We lay on benches in a park in Takodanababa watching an intensely blue sky though the swaying branches  nursing hoppie-hangovers and appreciating the wonderful feeling of slightly ill health from the fried, MSG adorned foods  we had  voraciously eaten in the pub the night before. Wonderful because  in the super  Yang charged city  ill health can make you slow down enough to appreciate the beauty of clouds scudding and leaves danceing as you drift in and out of  slumber.

“You know. Even the way you cook genmai (brown-rice) or any food matters,” said Yoko as we cycled slightly more energetically  though the next mornings pedestrian surge. “A small fire, low heat, gently cooking the food infuses it with more yin energy – calming , meditative , tranquil energy which many people  are deprived of in a big modern cities like Tokyo. Blasting it with fire, deepfrying,  microwaving can be very Yang. Aggressive, intense , buzzing energy.”

An  exercise in futility, we asked a couple of shops if they served cooked brown rice.

“In the whole of Tokyo, I don’t think you will find this,” said a chuckling women who sold plastic bento meals close to “Baba” train station.

Yoko said there were a number of shops in Tokyo, but  you needed to be in the know.  I pictured a journey across Tokyo in search of Brown rice. A journey on bicycles following the Sakura fringed   rivers, paying homage to those genmai starved  Samurais who  first understood that Tokyo was weakening its Yin pulse to the polishing of rice. A  guide book to follow.

Folding up my Dahon superlight  bike, I  headed to the airport, with Yoko, happy to have  a mission that will draw me  back to Tokyo.


One Response

  1. Please sir can I have some more …porridge /gruel…stories.

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