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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。

Episodes

Brigitte Noreau is an animal rights and minimalist lifestyle advocate. I’ve met Brigitte the first time I took part in a For Animals Japan cube of truth activism event. Being both French speaking vegans, a rare combination in Japan, we immediately  connected. A few months later, I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with her for a little more than an hour.

After Brigitte’s self introduction, we talk about her podcast and blog, reading books, her path to Japan, the difficulty to planning your life as a teenager, life in Japan and natural disasters, her path to veganism and activism, before ending by a couple rapid fire questions.

It was a real pleasure to discuss with Brigitte. I took the liberty to share my views and thoughts about most topics we addressed, this time in a more thorough way than usual. I feel we could have chatted for much longer, but unfortunately I had to cut the podcast short after a little more than an hour. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this episode as much as I did recording it.

Content

- Introduction

- 0:01:39s - Brigitte’s self introduction

- 0:03:51s - Her blog and podcast

- 0:09:22s - About reading books and listening to podcasts

- 0:14:24s - What brought Brigitte to Japan

- 0:21:17s - About how complicated it can be to orientate yourself during/after high school - learning to (re)learn and face your fears

- 0:32:04s - Stepping out of your comfort zone - learning about what makes you click

- 0:39:09s - Living in Japan and the fear of natural disasters

- 0:47:16s - Brigitte’s path to veganism

- 0:54:12s - Coming out as a vegan and first steps into advocacy: what’s the best approach?

- 1:00:52s - Brigitte’s path to activism and For Animals Japan

- 1:13:35s - Two rapid fire questions

 

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

Additional notes and links

- “À fleur de peau. Le roman initiatique des hypersensibles.”, by Saverio Tomasella.

- Tisane & Jasette, podcast and blog: https://www.youtube.com/user/oXAyaChanXo

https://www.tisaneetjasette.com/

- For Animals Japan (4AJ): https://www.facebook.com/foranimalsjapan/

- Earthling Ed free ebook: https://earthlinged.org/ebook

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

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日本でのアニマルライツ活動と言えば、岡田さんはその代表の一人でしょう。19年前から動物のために活動をしてきた岡田さんは、今はARCの代表理事を努めています。そのような大事な仕事で多忙な岡田さんと二時間ぐらい話せて、とてもありがたく思っています。

このエピソードでは、岡田さんが動物のために活動を始めたころの話、日本工場畜産の現実、日本人とヴィーガンやアニマルウェルフェアに関する意識、ペット産業と動物園、日本と海外の肉の比較、岡田さんの日常、などについて話しました。

- イントロ

- 0:01:30s - 岡田さんの自己紹介

- 0:01:57s - いつから動物活動を始めようと思ったか

- 0:03:35s - ピーター・シンガー『動物開放』を読んだ印象とヴィーガンへの道

- 0:06:58s - 2000年辺りの日本ヴィーガン外食オプションについて

- 0:08:57s - 日本人として、日本社会でヴィーガンであること

- 0:11:25s - ARCに努め始めたときの活動

- 0:12:46s - 活動の効果について

- 0:22:37s - 20年前からのARCでのスタッフ変更

- 0:25:39s - ARCと他組織との協力活動

- 0:30:01s - 日本工場畜産の現実:鶏

- 0:37:22s - 日本人とヴィーガンやアニマルウェルフェアに関する意識

- 0:39:46s - ペット産業と動物園について

- 0:49:17s - 日本工場畜産の現実、その2

- 0:55:07s - 肉なら、日本のより、輸入のほうが安全で、質がいい

- 0:58:24s - 和牛について

- 1:02:39s - 魚について

- 1:06:06s - 日本工場畜産の現実:乳製品

- 1:12:38s - 動物のためなら、一番止めたほうがいい動物製品=卵

- 1:14:21s - 岡田さんの日常

- 1:17:19s - 将来の日本でのヴィーガンライフスタイル

- 1:18:51s - ソイミートなどについて

- 1:23:50s - 日本人の問題意識について

- 1:25:25s - 岡田さんの家族-親戚よりも、赤の他人が説得しやすい

- 1:35:15s - 色々な小質問

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

追加情報やリンク:

- ARC Japan: https://arcj.org/

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

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

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Simon Wally is a passionate animal rights activist who started Foodfacts.jp, a website “...to inform the citizens of Japan (of) what the Japanese media are refusing to...”. Based in South Japan, Simon recently came to Tokyo where he shared his experience and message during a Tokyo Vegan Meetup Talk event. Asking him to be on the show was the obvious thing for me to do, and I am really grateful that Simon accepted to use some of his time in Tokyo to record our discussion.

This episode starts with Simon’s self introduction and how he gave up meat. We then discuss the three pillars of veganism, the birth of Foodfacts.jp, its place in the Japanese vegan activism scene, Extinction Rebellion, flexitarianism, the environmental cost of travelling, before ending by a few rapid fire questions.

It was a real pleasure to hear Simon express his feelings and opinions about all the topics we covered. I hope you will enjoy this episode as much as I did recording it.

 

Content

- Introduction

- 0:02:00s - Simon’s self introduction

- 0:07:58s - Becoming pescitarian

- 0:15:34s - Simon’s take on the three pillars of veganism

- 0:20:33s - The birth of Foodfacts.jp and the state of Japanese media

- 0:25:01s - Simon’s vision of the future

- 0:27:41s - Who is Foodfacts.jp meant for?

- 0:29:37s - Foodfacts.jp and relations with other Animal Rights organizations

- 0:40:37s - Every little action counts

- 0:47:21s - Extinction Rebellion

- 0:56:40s - Simon’s take on flexitarianism

- 1:02:36s - About travelling by plane

- 1:12:18s - The social cost of being vegan

- 1:15:26s - Simon’s message to you

- 1:16:15s - Rapid fire questions

 

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

 

Additional notes and links

- www.foodfacts.jp

- Simon’s FB profile: https://www.facebook.com/simon.whalley.509

- Extinction Rebellion: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/

- Extinction Rebellion Japan: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellionJapan/

- 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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Yuki Takahashi is a former globetrotter and researcher in the field of space exploration who now devotes his time to fight for the animals. He has been working for the ARCJ, the Animal Rights Center Japan, since April 2019.

This episode focuses mainly on Yuki’s path to working in Japan last spring. On the way, we explored how Yuki came to grow up both in the USA and in Japan, where he studied, his experience working for SpaceX, his five years of nomadism, and his time in Hawaii. We finally ended by a few rapid fire questions.

Yuki’s life sounds almost too unreal to be true. In contrast, as you will probably notice listening to this episode, he is very modest and never brags about his achievements. It was a real pleasure getting to know him more during the two hours and a half we talked together.

Last but not least, you will find in the show notes links to the main animal rights related organizations brought up during the episode, and Yuki’s Facebook profile, should you want to contact him.

Without further due, here is Yuki Takahashi.

 

Content

- Introduction

- 0:01:19s - Yuki’s self introduction

- 0:15:29s - Receiving his first Vegan Outreach leaflet...

- 0:25:14s - Working at SpaceX

- 0:34:36s - Starting five years of nomadic lifestyle

- 0:54:42s - Looking of an Animal Rights related job

- 1:01:03s - Volunteering experience at a farm animal sanctuary in Spain

- 1:17:49s - Living in Hawaii: part-time job and activism

- 1:26:33s - Getting an opportunity to work for the ARCJ

- 1:32:09s - Yuki’s family and veganism

- 1:43:05s - Yuki’s experience at being plant based in Japan

- 1:53:43s - Urban or countryside lifestyle?

- 2:02:11s - Yuki’s plans for the years to come

- 2:06:37s - Yuki’s take on how to approach veganism

- 2:21:14s - The future of veganism in Japan

- 2:25:26s - Rapid fire questions

 

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

 

Additional notes and links

- Yuki’s Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/yukimoon

- ARCJ: http://www.arcj.org/en/

- The Humane League: https://thehumaneleague.org/

- Vegan Outreach: https://veganoutreach.org/

- Farm Sanctuary: https://www.farmsanctuary.org/

- The Good Food Institute: https://www.gfi.org/

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

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Clara Nilda Nieto Hernandez is a professional dancer living in Santiago de Cuba. During my 3 weeks in Santiago, Clara was the link between Clave Cuba, the travel agency I went to Cuba with, and me. In addition to being a great dancer, she has also been exploring, since a few years ago, questions related to veganism. Having her on the podcast was a no brainer. Not only that, she also asked me to appear on her YouTube channel for an interview… which I might release at a later date.

This episode starts with Clara’s self introduction, before moving to her relationship with food, the current situation in Santiago de Cuba, being overweight, her vegetarian friend in town, what she could do to spread the vegan word, the importance of good food and, finally, why it matters to stay in touch with where meat comes from.

 

Content

- Introduction

- 0:01:38s - Clara’s self introduction

- 0:04:36s - Clara’s relationship to (animal) food, past and present.

- 0:13:37s - No real plant based food options in Santiago… yet.

- 0:15:31s - Health and being overweight.

- 0:23:23s - Clara’s plant based friend in Santiago.

- 0:25:42s - Taking action in Santiago to promote plant based foods.

- 0:33:24s - The importance of good food.

- 0:36:36s - Staying in touch with where meat comes from.

 

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

Additional notes and links

- Clara on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/claridancer/

- Clara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004945365281 

- Clara on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSa1_6oC7apDNaFpwHkNvUA

- Clave Cuba: https://www.clavecuba.com/

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

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Alexandre Derycz is currently working as a talent and model in the Tokyo area. In addition of being the only vegan advocate I know of in the Japan talent world, Alex also has a fascinating story that lead him to his job. Upon meeting him, I knew he had to be on the podcast! 

This episode starts with Alex’s self introduction, before moving to a wide range of topics like plurilingual upbringing, school as a teenager, veganism of course, or his experience living in Japan. We then end by a few rapid fire questions… recorded in less than ideal conditions: indeed, for the last 15 to 20 minutes of the interview we had to change rooms, and we ended next to a group of talents rehearsing for some audition. I did my best to clean up the background voices but for the very end, where I left some… entertaining interventions, let’s say.

Content

- Introduction

- 0:01:56s - Alex’s self introduction

- 0:08:08s - About plurilingual upbringing

- 0:12:16s - Alex as a child

- 0:13:50s - About school as a teenager

- 0:31:33s - Studying biology and Japanese at UCLA

- 0:43:48s - Alex’s long term goal of making the world a better place

- 0:46:09s - Veganism

- 0:51:21s - Accountability

- 0:52:26s - First steps

- 1:03:29s - Towards a 100% vegan family!

- 1:06:00s - Importance of role models

- 1:20:42s - Living in Japan

- 1:24:35s - Scouted as a model

- 1:46:42s - Promoting veganism as a model

- 2:10:53s - Future of veganism in Japan

- 2:15:16s - Alex’s typical day

- 2:22:20s - Rapid fire questions

 

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

 

Additional notes and links

- Alex on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex_derycz/

- Alex on Ameblo (in Japanese): https://ameblo.jp/alexworld-official/

- Alex personal website (in construction): https://veganlife.co/

- 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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I’m back from my first trip to Cuba! But why did I fly out there? And why did I stay about 3 full weeks? This audiolog will answer these questions by first explaining why I chose couple dancing as my main hobby, before presenting the reasons that lead me to prefer Cuban salsa over all the other options on the dance market.  

While in Cuba, I recorded daily audiologs, more to keep an account of my experience there than to report about it on the Internet. Those recordings are somewhat randomly, somewhat thematically structured. I plan on preparing and releasing a few episodes in the weeks to come - one about vegan food in Cuba, another about my dancing experience over there, and maybe more. The former topic, food, will definitely make it on the podcast, but dancing, or any other topic that is not sufficiently related to what I want to talk about in length on ciplantgo, will only appear on ciplantgo’s Youtube channel. So should you want to know more about how I traveled and trained in Cuba, head / keep an eye on that Youtube channel, as there will be no Instagram or podcast posts about this.

Last but not least, photography. What used to be an important hobby of mine is still a form of artistic expression I enjoy. A few of the shots I took in Cuba made it through my selection process. I am sharing some of them on Instagram, all of them in the Youtube video; the best way to view them is on my Flickr though, to which you’ll find a link at the end of the show notes. 

- 0:02:34s: Why, as a teenager, I started martial arts?

- 0:08:40s: My encounter with, and my first steps dancing.

- 0:17:26s: (...since) Going back to dancing 3 years ago.

- 0:34:56s: What dancing means and represents to me.

- 0:44:25s: Pluses of couple dancing.

- 0:55:56s: Minuses of couple dancing.

- 0:57:38s: Conclusion

- 0:58:07s: Why Cuba?

 

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

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

- ciplantgo Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEPsP5lxKk8uZVBI8WaEKQQ

- My flickr (unrelated to ciplantgo): https://www.flickr.com/photos/florent_d/

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Plamen Iontchev is a Bulgarian nuclear physicist who’s been living in Tokyo for a few years. I met him at my first meetup in Kiba park. He is one of the most regular members, attending almost all the meetings, and also started a Meetup group called Team Vegan, centered around hiking, running and the like among vegans. With such an original profile, I was certain Plamen’s story would be more than interesting. Our two hours talk did not disappoint!

This episode starts with Plamen’s self introduction, followed by his life in Bulgaria and how he came to live an active and plant-based lifestyle, how he became pescitarian for ‘health’ reasons  (and a warning from us about how fish is not that healthy after all), Plamen’s discussions with his daughter who had just turned vegan, which circumstances saw him go vegetarian, how reconnecting with calves made him take the last step toward veganism, Plamen discovering the reality of the egg industry and then me taking the time to point out that a balanced vegan diet is healthy, before adding some information about calf rearing and egg production, what brought Plamen to search for other vegans, and then stumbling on the Tokyo Vegan Meetup, how his eating habits and social life changed (for the better) after becoming vegan, what he knows about how it was being vegan in Sofia when his daughter went plant-based, me leading a discussion about vegan activism and whether it’s optional or mandatory, Plamen’s experience of the vegan scene in Vienna, how we position ourselves regarding leather or same-ish items, Plamen learning about to what extent veganism can be healthy, how he came to live in Japan, his experience being vegan in Tokyo, what hiking and running brought to his life, Plamen’s unusual cholesterol levels and what he did about it, and finally some rapid fire questions.

Before jumping in, a last few words about the ‘Atkins diet’ that helped Plamen address his cholesterol problem, and whether doing it vegan or not sounds possible to me. Short answer: maybe, but not with the four foods brought up by Plamen (sauerkraut, tofu, seitan and mushrooms). And in any case, I strongly recommend not going on an Atkins diet, period. More details at the end of the podcast and in the show notes. 

And now, without further due, I give you Plamen Iontchev.

 

- Introduction

- 0:03:00s - Plamen’s self introduction

- 0:05:50s - His life in Bulgaria and how he came to a plant-based + exercise lifestyle

                 0:15:25s - Pescitarian for ‘health’ reasons - how fish is not that healthy after all

                 0:17:05s - Plamen’s discussions with his just turned vegan daughter

                 0:22:05s - Going vegetarian

                 0:23:50s - Reconnecting with calves and going vegan

                 0:29:30s - Discovering the reality of the egg industry

                 0:30:20s - Me taking the time to point out that a balanced vegan diet is healthy, then adding some information about calf rearing and egg production

- 0:39:20s - Searching for other vegans… and stumbling on the Tokyo Vegan Meetup

- 0:48:45s - How Plamen’s eating habits and social life changed (for the better) after becoming vegan

- 0:55:30s - Being vegan in Sofia when Plamen’s daughter went plant-based

- 0:56:25s - Vegan activism: optional or mandatory? Where to draw the/your ethical baseline, and why?

- 1:06:15s - Plamen’s experience of the vegan scene in Vienna

- 1:09:15s - Vegans and leather (or same-ish items), or how we vegans often see the glass half empty…

- 1:17:05s - Plamen learning about to what extent veganism can be healthy

- 1:21:40s - Plamen’s path to Japan

- 1:24:20s - Being vegan in Tokyo when Plamen arrived here

- 1:29:00s - What hiking and running brought to Plamen

- 1:33:50s - Plamen’s unusual cholesterol levels and what he did about it

- 1:45:10s - Back to running!

- 1:54:50s - Rapid fire questions & Tokyo Team Vegan

During our conversation, Plamen explained to me how he was able to address his high cholesterol problem with a ‘vegan’ Atkins diet he devised himself. First, about the Atkins diet itself. This is what the official website tells us:

“The Atkins Diet is designed to "flip the body's metabolic switch" from burning carbs to burning fat.”

And here are the macros they give for the two of their three diet plans; the only two ones that are ketogenic.

Atkins 20 (original) = 60-70% fat, 20-30% prot, 5-10% carbs

Atkins 40 = 55-65% fat, 20-30% prot, 10-15% carbs

Both are very high in fat. Now, let’s have a look at the nutrients of sauerkraut, seitan, tofu and mushroom.

Sauerkraut (100gr carbs 4.3 / 0.9 prot / 0.1 fat / 19 cal)

Seitan (100gr carbs 14 / 75 prot / 1.9 fat / 370 cal) 

Tofu (100gr carbs 2.1 / 10.3 prot / 5.3 fat / 76 cal)

Mushrooms (white 100gr 3.3 carbs  / 3.1 prot / 0.3 fat / 22 cal)

First conclusion: all four foods contain close to no fat; the fattiest one being tofu with 5%. So in order to get even 55% of daily calories from those 4 foods, you would need to eat an insane amount of tofu, much more than the carbs you are allowed on such a diet.

Second conclusion: three out of those four foods are mostly water and fiber, which means they have a very, very low caloric density. Even eating seitan only, you would need to way too many carbs for what an Atkins diet is supposed to be.

Final conclusion: I don’t see how the math would magically work for one to be on an Atkins diet while eating only those four foods. Even a super restrictive seitan only 1000 calories per day diet - which is only half of what an adult male needs to sustain himself one day; obviously not sustainable for two months - would mean you have to eat a little more than 42 grams of carbs. And that is without eating anything else, which means you would lack a lot of other very important nutrients, vitamins and minerals… which Plamen told us he supplemented. I have copied an additional detailed account of his experience he sent me after I reached out to him about this quite unusual outro. Here is his reply related to his ‘Atkins’ diet:

“My secret with this vegan ‘Atkins’ diet was not the calorie intake. Actually if you are overweight you have a lot of calories stored  as fat in your body and this is the whole point to get rid of them by burning it. I thought that the reason that you may end in ER is not the calories but the other micronutrients like vitamins and minerals that you stop taking when you go in this crazy diet. I was fully aware of the danger and was taking daily from multivitamins about 4 daily doses each day. Much more than normal so to check deficiencies even if there is low absorption. Also controlling my BMI not to get below 23. In that way I was fully ok from a health standpoint. Just some unpleasant feelings since your body becomes not vegan for this period, meaning you start eating your own flesh (mostly fat). But the moment you eat some carbs you get so pleasant feeling but weight stop going down. Anyway I don't recommend my diet to anyone but I think I almost did the limit of the rate by which the body weight can be reduced - about 1kg/week.”

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether his diet could have been labelled as ‘Atkins’ or not. What matters is that he solved his cholesterol problem without suffering serious health consequences following his extremely restrictive 2 months diet. That being said, I’ll repeat what I said in the introduction of this podcast: I strongly recommend avoiding any such restrictive diets, whether people call them ketogenic, Atkins or Paleo.

 

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

Additional notes and links

- 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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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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