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Society & Culture

Cipango (a poetic name for Japan) + ‘plant-based lifestyle’ = ciplantgo, a podcast aimed at introducing people living a plant-based lifestyle in Japan.日本で菜食ライフスタイルを送っている人々のインタビューを中心にしたポッドキャスト。


For this last vlog before I fly out of Japan, I’ll talk about yet another evolutionary psychology related topic, partly built on what I addressed in the two previous vlogs. Today’s key proposition is “Everything we do and are exposed to defines who we are”.


- 0:01:00s: Today’s topic: “Everything we do and are exposed to defines who we are”

- 0:01:25s: Smile!

- 0:04:30s: Everything matters

                 0:04:40s: Who are you?... or the absence of a core self

- 0:13:50s: You are your actions; why I quit martial arts

- 0:39:00s: Exposing yourself to violence has a price

- 0:46:45s: In closing: (I’ll) keep on asking questions


- ciplantgo podcast: https://ciplantgo.podbean.com/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

- ciplantgo on Youtube: https://youtu.be/yJveyFKlYs0

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Focus of the day: “Why is being vegan important?” and “Do we have free will?”.


- 0:00:55s: Today’s topic: “Why is being vegan important?” and “Do we have free will?”

- 0:02:00s: Why is being vegan important? … for you.

- 0:07:13s: Free will

                 0:07:55s: Defining ‘free will’

                 0:16:40s: The implication of not having any free will

- 0:34:50s: The relationship between the lack of free will and being vegan


- ciplantgo podcast: https://ciplantgo.podbean.com/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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The ciplantgo podcast is taking a break June/July. Vlogs will continue until end June, and some, like this one, will be published as a podcast 'solo' episode. And since I’m talking alone for quite a stretch of time, I thought it would be fun to make a cover where I talk with, well, myself. This cover is not the result of my overblown ego, quite the contrary: I’m making fun of myself. The following self-talk is totally serious though, but I did try to keep it humorous when appropriate. Last but not least, you might find my discourse unclear at times, or lacking in detail; I could have talked for far longer, and maybe doing so would have made my points stronger. But I felt like I was dragging on long enough for a first uncut take on these two complicated questions, so I released it as is. I might revisit some of the themes brought up at a later date.

Focus of the day: "Why is suffering bad?” and “Why are human beings good?”

- 0:02:50s: Today’s topic: why is suffering bad, and why are human beings good?

- 0:06:40s: Why do we suffer? An explanation based on evolution and chances of survival.

- 0:08:25s: Our moral intuitions are also rooted in evolution.

- 0:10:20s: Is suffering bad? Depends on your perspective… but yes, it is.

- 0:15:05s: Why should we care about other beings suffering?

- 0:31:55s: We are good because we do care.

- 0:40:05s: What to do? Act in line with your values; keep revisiting those values.

- 1:02:47s: Because we can. And a last quote from a controversial author...



- this episode on Youtube (with BGM): https://youtu.be/tJ3YJIeQwKs

- ciplantgo podcast: https://ciplantgo.podbean.com/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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Katrin Tsukimi is working as a translator in the game industry. She has been in love with Japanese pop culture since childhood, and, very much like me, decided to invest a few College years into Japanese studies. I was certainly curious to know more about her experience living and working in Japan, but what I really wanted to hear about was her relationship. Katrin is, like numerous vegans around the world, dating an omnivore… however, quite a few aspects of their relationship made me curious to know more, and since Katrin told me she would be comfortable talking about this on the show, I invited her to be my guest!

This episode starts with Katrin presenting herself and how she came to live in Japan. We then talk about her past and present jobs here, her plans for the future, her quite interesting path to veganism, relationships in general and hers in particular, and finally her recommendation to get into the gaming industry as a translator, before a few rapid fire questions.

As a vegan, relationships with non vegans, whether it’s friends, family or a romantic partner, can be very challenging. If you have listened to some of my previous episodes, you will know that my experience since adopting a vegan lifestyle and value system is no exception. This topic is, and will probably stay, one of the most important and interesting one to me. I am therefore really grateful to Katrin for sharing her experience and giving me an opportunity to explore further the topic of relationships on the podcast. Whether or not you have been or are facing similar challenges in your own life, I truly hope this episode will be as interesting to you as it was to me.

Before jumping in, a last few words about two references brought up during the show. One is ‘Vegan danshi’, which is the name of a foreigner living in Japan and vegan Youtuber making videos about bodybuilding and fitness. The other is ‘that book’ or ‘this book’, words I repeated quite a few times and that points to either “Beyond Beliefs: A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communication for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters” or “How Not to Die”.


- Introduction

- 0:02:40s - Katrin’s self introduction

- 0:03:30s - Katrin’s path to Japan: from loving pop culture to working in the game industry

                0:10:00s - Japanese studies is not the best choice when one wants to live in Japan

                0:12:50s - Attending a business school in Shibuya

                0:11:00s - Katrin’s first full-time job in Japan

                0:15:45s - Katrin’s job profile as a game translator/proofreader

- 0:21:55s - Katrin’s plans for the future: Japan or not?

- 0:26:45s - Katrin’s path to veganism: it all started with a cold...

                0:33:05s - Impact of Katrin’s gradual change to plant based on her social life

                0:37:00s - Becoming vegan = changing friends ?

- 0:39:12s - Romantic relationships between vegans and non-vegans: in search of mutual understanding

- 1:31:35s - Katrin’s current job: recommendations to get into the gaming industry

- 1:35:10s - Rapid fire questions


Introduction BGM: "Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)


Additional notes and links

- Open Sesame Farm Animal Sanctuary in Kyushu: https://k-open-sesame.com/

- Tokyo Vegan Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/vegan-389/

- Vegan Tokyo: https://vegantokyo.org/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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Ryuji Chua is an animal rights activist based in Los Angeles. Although he does not live in Japan, his profile totally justifies his presence on the show: Ryuji’s parental heritage is half japanese, and he has experienced almost a year living in the country. But more than his roots, it’s Ryuji’s direct and energetic activism - especially his short videos on Youtube - that makes him such a unique character to chat with. So when I was presented with the opportunity of meeting him during one of his trips to Japan, I made sure to seize it!

My discussion with Ryuji covers a wide range of topics: his childhood and teenage years in France, his love for animal documentaries as a kid, the motivation he had going to study movies in the USA, the importance of improving your social skills and making real connections, about being a good listener, Ryuji’s path to veganism, why both vegans and omnivores need to reaffirm their own values, how sometimes vegans are loud and clumsy in communicating with others, Ryuji’s approach to activism, which message between ethics or pragmatism goes further in helping animals, romantic relationships and the use of comparisons when talking to non vegans, choice of words when talking morality with people consuming animal products, and finally morality and meaning.

Having Ryuji on the show was a real pleasure, and his knowledge and energy made our discussion extemelly engaging to me. I hope you will enjoy listening to his story and views as much as I did.


- Introduction

- 0:02:48s - Ryuji’s childhood and teenage years in France

- 0:10:45s - Ryuji’s love for animal documentaries

- 0:12:30s - Going to the USA to enter a film school

                0:13:55s - Looking for a fresh start - about realizing your potential for self growth

                0:20:55s - Trying to be part of the cool crowd when you’re different...and failing at it

- 0:23:40s - Social life and making real connections - about the importance of improving your social skills

- 0:28:50s - Being a good listener is key - but building meaning while talking as well

- 0:37:25s - Ryuji’s path to veganism during College - “Sapiens” and the stories we tell ourselves

- 0:54:05s - Why non vegans can feel threatened in their integrity talking to vegans - about the need to reaffirm your own values

- 0:59:10s - How (new) vegans can be clumsily loud about it

- 1:03:35s - Ryuji’s approach to activism and how to spread the message

               1:06:35s - Ryuji’s telling his parents about being vegan

               1:15:00s - Sensitivity to meat and animal products among vegans - the role of staying in touch with animals

- 1:24:00s - Ethical veganism or plant based: which message holds the most potential for change?

               1:33:00s - The importance to encourage people reducing their meat consumption

               1:37:15s - About the impact my family activism had on my father diet

               1:38:50s - The shortest way to a vegan (friendly) world - being smart in your consumer and activism choices as a vegan

               1:43:50s - Ryuji considering producing (more) videos in Japanese

- 1:49:30s - Feelings in a romantic relationship where one is not vegan - about the use of comparisons in talking to non vegans

      1:56:55s - My opinion on the importance of societal norms when considering why people will not go vegan

                2:03:30s - Are really open and win-win romantic relationships possible?

- 2:16:40s - Good/bad or preferable/less preferable? - about how vegans should talk about choices for better communication with non vegans (is ethic/values objective or subjective?)

                2:20:10s - Why is suffering wrong? - is it meaningful to talk to people with different basic values?

                2:23:55s - Metaphysical queries and the meaning of life… or absence thereof - the importance of bringing meaning in your own life

    2:32:10s - What if Alien came to Earth and used humans as cattle? - how to talk to people who say they would be ok with that

    2:36:20s - The “I can therefore I should” argument - with great power comes great moral obligations

Introduction BGM: "Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)


Additional notes and links

- Ryuji’s activism Facebook, ‘Peacebyvegan’: https://www.facebook.com/peacebyvegan/

- Peacebyvegan on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCalf6t4VdIx55Ppqpl83oBg

- Peacebyvegan on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peacebyvegan/

- Peacebyveganjp (Japanese account) on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peacebyveganjp/

- “How to Create a Vegan World”: http://veganstrategist.org/veganworld/

- Tokyo Vegan Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/vegan-389/

- Vegan Tokyo: https://vegantokyo.org/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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Seyka Mejeur is vegan lifestyle advocate based in California and, at the time of recording this podcast, travelling Japan - then the world - with her husband Brian. Although they do not live in Japan, I thought it would be really interesting to ask about their experience as vegan travelers in Japan, and as vegan activists, so I invited them on the podcast after Seyka posted a message in the Vegan Japan Facebook group.

The episode starts with a quick presentation of Seyka and Brian’s vegan world tour. The discussion then addresses their experience and organization travelling in Japan as vegans, their path to veganism, the most positive and negative aspects of adopting a vegan lifestyle, Seyka’s opinion about ethical veganism, plant-based cheese, what ‘it’s easy to be vegan’ means to different people, Seyka and Brian’s activism related activities in California, their motivation going forward, advice to people wanting to follow in their footprints, veganism in the future, Seyka and Brian typical day back home, and finally cell grown meat.

It was a real pleasure being able to catch a little more than an hour with Seyka and Brian at the very beginning of their vegan world tour. I hope you will enjoy listening to the episode as much as I did recording it.


- Introduction

- 0:01:30s - Seyka and Brian: quick presentation, their world tour, and Japan as their first stop

                0:04:10s - The rationale of the tour planning: new places, vegan discoveries, and minimum amount of flying

- 0:08:00s - Their experience and organization travelling Japan as vegans

                0:13:10s - About how I think ethical veganism is not compatible with being ‘respectful’ of witnessing meat eaters indulge in their omnivorism

- 0:19:05s - Seyka (and Brian) path to veganism

                0:22:25s - About romantic relationships

- 0:28:05s - The most positive aspect of becoming vegan: walking the talk

- 0:30:50s - The most negative aspect of becoming vegan

- 0:33:55s - Seyka’s opinion about ethical veganism

- 0:35:45s - Seyka’s take on “How do you go without cheese”...

- 0:38:00s - What I think about saying “It’s easy to be vegan”: it makes you less relatable

- 0:41:20s - Seyka and Brian activism related activities in California

- 0:43:50s - What is keeping Seyka and Brian motivated to go forward

- 0:44:35s - Advices to people who would like to emulate Seyka and Brian’s lifestyle and activism

- 0:46:55s - Seyka’s vision for the future of the vegan movement

- 0:51:15s - Seyka and Brian’s typical day back home

- 0:53:25s - Something that Seyka is curious about right now


Introduction BGM: "Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)


Additional notes and links

- How to contact Seyka:

         Website/blog: http://forgoodnessseyks.com/

         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seyka

         Instagram#1: https://instagram.com/forgoodnessseyks

         Instagram#2 (foodie): https://www.instagram.com/forgoodnessseyks_foodie/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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- イントロ

- 0:01:40s - 2018年5月、出会った時の圭一郎さんの食習慣

- 0:04:20s - 初TVMと、イベントに参加した動機

- 0:05:10s - 圭一郎さんが哺乳類を食べないようになった時のソーシャルライフ

- 0:06:25s - 初TVMの印象

- 0:09:50s - 当時の圭一郎さんのタンパク質やアミノ酸に関する考え方

- 0:11:30s - 鶏肉と魚をやめたこと

- 0:13:20s - 魚について

- 0:20:25s - 卵について:動物性タンパク質がより吸収しやすいかどうか、またはそれは卵を食べてもいい理由になるかどうか

- 0:40:10s - ヴィーガンオプションありのお店に行く=工場畜産を加担する?

- 0:51:45s - イソフラボンについて

- 0:56:30s - 豆について

- 0:58:50s - 菜食の食習慣にはバラエティーが必要(腸内細菌について)

- 1:06:25s - 現在の圭一郎さんの職業とキャリアプラン

- 1:12:15s - 鬱病について

- 1:14:30s - 色々な小質問


イントロ曲:"Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)


- Tokyo Vegan Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/vegan-389/

- 圭一郎さんのFacebook(気軽に連絡してください!、と圭一郎さんが言ってくれました): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100030456740751

- 英語になりますが、卵に関する事実(だと思いますが)は以下のリンク参照





- 英語になりますが、イソフラボンに関する事実(だと思いますが)は以下のリンク参照



- 豆の数種類の栄養素(脂質少し!):https://www.mame.or.jp/eiyou/eiyou.html

- Vegan Tokyo: https://vegantokyo.org/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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Hanna Hakko is a coal campaigner for Greenpeace Japan. Upon meeting Hanna for the first time, her profile directly struck me as very unique: born in Finland, where she lived until moving to Japan, Hannah developed early on a keen interest for how human societies are impacting the Earth, and decided to work defending our blue planet for the generations to come.

The episode starts with a description of Hanna’s current job, what she brings to Greenpeace Japan as a foreigner, how they are communicating with Japanese companies and banks, and a summary of her first year on the job. The discussion then addresses the impact of the Fukushima power plant catastrophe on Japanese energy production, the importance of individual and political actions in acting against global warming, Hanna’s path to Greenpeace and Japan, her impressions after having lived one year in the country, what she enjoys here, her path to veganism, being a vegan in Japan, leading an ethical life and the importance of drawing a line between acting to make the world a better place and nurturing yourself, other jobs that Hanna thought about doing, the health impact of becoming vegan, a typical Hanna day, her take on the future of Japanese / world energy production, and finally a few rapid fire questions.

Discussing with Hanna was both extremely interesting, and very fun. I hope you will enjoy listening to the episode as much as I did recording it.


- Introduction

- 0:00:00s - Hannah’s job description: coal campaigner for Greenpeace Japan

                0:01:55s - About the value Hannah is bringing that a Japanese could/would not

                0:04:40s - About interacting with Japanese companies as a foreigner, and as an NGO

                0:09:15s - A summary about Hannah’s first year working in Japan

                0:13:05s - About the use of coal and energy consumption after the Fukushima debacle

- 0:16:30s - About the importance of individual actions compared to political changes

- 0:21:10s - Hannah’s path to Greenpeace and Japan

- 0:23:40s - Hannah’s impression of her first year in Japan

- 0:30:25s - About what Hannah’s enjoying in Japan

- 0:33:50s - Hannah’s path to veganism

- 0:45:45s - Hannah’s experience of being vegan in Japan: convenience, change in diet, sense of identity

- 0:58:30s - Leading an ethical life: where to draw the line, and how to find balance between acting in the world and nurturing yourself

- 1:17:00s - Other job(s) Hannah would have liked to do.

- 1:20:10s - The most positive thing Hannah got out of becoming vegan

- 1:28:00s - Health effects of becoming vegan experienced by Hannah

- 1:33:45s - A typical Hannah day.

                1:36:30s - About lifestyles/habits that are more needed than not when you are a human being.

- 1:41:00s - Hannah’s take on what the future of energy in Japan/the world will look like.

- 1:46:00s - Rapid fire questions.


Introduction BGM: "Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)

Additional notes and links

- The Pink Cow: http://www.thepinkcow.com/

- The clinic Hanna had her recent check-up at, Sendagaya International Clinic: http://www.sendagaya-ic.com/en/

- Tokyo Vegan Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/vegan-389/

- Vegan Tokyo: https://vegantokyo.org/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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- イントロ

- 0:02:45s - 有紀恵さんは動物が好きになった初記憶

- 0:07:45s - 周りの人がより動物好きではないことに気づく、と自分らしさを大事にすること

- 0:13:50s - 農学を日本の大学で勉強:動機、学習内容やヴィーガンになったきっかけなど

- 0:21:30s - お肉に対する姿勢:ヴィーガンになるまでは考えないように

- 0:28:10s - ヴィーガンであることを他人に滅多に話さない理由

- 0:31:00s - 周りの人に菜食主義者がいなかったこと

- 0:31:40s - 大学での畜産動物の世話について:工場畜産の現場から離れた体験のみ

- 0:36:20s - 進学の選択:エジンバラへ、最難のチャレンジ、最高の出会い

- 0:47:35s - 卒業後の初仕事の希望と現実:どうして普通の仕事に就いたか

- 0:54:50s - 転職を決めたきっかけ:動物のためになる仕事が見つかればなぁ~

- 1:05:00s - 16年前の東京の現在の東京のヴィーガン生活、とこれからの日本

- 1:09:10s - 健康であるヴィーガンについて

- 1:16:05s - 色々な小質問


イントロ曲:"Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)


- Tokyo Vegan Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/vegan-389/

- Yukie Otani FB: https://www.facebook.com/yukie.otani.5

- Vegan Tokyo: https://vegantokyo.org/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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Pascal Rosier, businessman running the company Business Wire, is one of the most passionate vegan I have met in Japan. In addition to being very smart - Pascal speaks more than 5 languages - he is also tall, quite muscular, and always displays a very compassionate smile upon his face, which illustrates his love for all living beings. The few short discussions I had with him during Tokyo Vegan meetups made me eager to hear more about his story, so I naturally asked him to be on the podcast.

This interview is mostly centered around Pascal’s story from childhood to his life in Japan. On the way, we make brief stops about his current job, children and their motivation to learn, the importance of role models, the value of traveling to gain new perspectives, the experience of living in Japan as a foreigner, the challenges of being the only vegan among your intimate social circle, mock animal products, and the rise of veganism worldwide.

Pascal’s story was really interesting to me. It was a very valuable learning experience to hear him share his views, their origin, and how they came to be. I hope you will find our lengthy discussion as enjoyable as I did.


- Introduction

- 0:01:40s - Pascal’s background, part 1: roots in Martinique, childhood in Germany.

- 0:03:00s - Pascal’s job in Japan.

- 0:04:50s - Pascal’s background, part 2: life in Germany and family background.

- 0:17:20s - How I can relate to Pascal’s experience as a kid; on the topic of children, their environment and motivation.

- 0:20:30s - Pascal’s background, part 3: path to East France, Martinique, then back to Paris.

- 0:28:10s - My view on the need of role model(s)

- 0:31:50s - Pascal’s background, part 4: about his father

- 0:33:00s - About the value of gaining perspective from traveling

- 0:41:20s - Pascal’s background, part 5: Paris - Japan - Paris - Japan; is France more open minded than Japan, or the other way around?... and how to connect with people

- 1:06:00s - Living in Japan is to be floating above society

- 1:16:05s - Pascal’s family in Japan, part 1 - how meaningful roots make life more colorful

- 1:21:50s - Pascal’s path to veganism - the role of meditation, the power of compassion, and stepping back from your beliefs

- 2:03:45s - Challenges as the only vegan in one’s household / (romantic) relationship - the importance of connection

- 2:18:10s - About mock meat and milk, about cheese...

- 2:30:10s - Veganism becoming normal - soon in Japan too?


Introduction BGM: "Corporate Japan" by Birocratic (http://birocratic.lnk.to/allYL)

Additional notes and links

- Pascal Rosier on the Business Wire website: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181031005394/en/Business-Wire-Names-Pascal-Rosier-General-Manager

- Tokyo Vegan Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/vegan-389/

- Vegan Tokyo: https://vegantokyo.org/

- ciplantgo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ciplantgo/

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