Running Week 6

I’m on week 6 of couch to 5k. I’m over halfway done with the app. Tuesday was my hardest running day so far. Do you ever just have one of those workouts where everything seems to go wrong? My compression socks weren’t on the right way, it was my time of the month and my phone wasn’t shuffling the playlist the way I had hoped. Despite all of these mishaps, I finished my run. One thing that running has taught me is how much of a self-motivator you have to become. When I first started the app, it was challenging but not so challenging where I feel like I couldn’t do it. Now, I am running for 6 minutes at a time with small breaks in between. For someone who has never ran before, that was no easy feat. It takes a lot to get out there every other day regardless of what is going on in life and run. Now, I know I can run. It’s not just some pipe dream that I used to have. I am making myself go out there and do it for thirty minutes three times a week.

Food: So, I said I was going to try to be a vegetarian. That didn’t work. Actually, I don’t think I ever want to be a vegetarian again. I don’t disrespect those who are vegetarians, it just isn’t for me, at least, at this time. At the age of 26, I’ve discovered how to balance what I eat and how much I eat. I love making vegan/vegetarian meals, but I also love eating sauteed beef and vegetables over rice. I’m learning how important it is to balance your diet and that cutting out certain foods means finding replacements. Personally, I don’t always want to be looking for a replacement.

What I ate this week: After Thanksgiving, I had to get my life back on track. I don’t usually drink alcohol but I drank because my friend was in town. I made a Thanksgiving meal full of butter, sugar and salt. This week, I have been eating more fish and more vegetarian meals. I’m limiting my caffeine intake to just one cup of coffee per day. My sugar hasn’t been easy but my cravings have lessened over the week. The amount of oil and butter used in dishes has been cut down.

Vegetarian pizza bread with fried tofu
Roasted beef with brown rice and veggies
Korean food from Yoshinoya
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Gochujang Fried Chicken Bites

Gochujang Fried Chicken
Print Recipe
3 people
3 people
Gochujang Fried Chicken
Print Recipe
3 people
3 people
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Gochujang
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp corn starch
Other Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2-3 cups frying oil vegetable or grape seed oils are fine
Servings: people
  1. In a large bowl, add the ingredients for the marinade and whisk them together.
  2. Next, whisk together the ingredients for the batter.
  3. Then, cut the chicken into small cubes. Salt the pieces, just a little, and put them in a bowl.
  4. Place the oil in a large pot or wok and heat it up. To know when your oil is hot enough, take one piece of fried chicken that is battered and add it to the oil. If it doesn't bubble up and fry, then wait a few more minutes for the oil to heat up.
  5. When the oil is hot, batter the friend chicken pieces and add them to the oil. Cook the pieces for about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to move the pieces around the oil. You will know that the chicken is done when it is white.
  6. Finally, toss the pieces in the marinade and put them on a plate to serve.
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Running and Last Week’s Meals

Last week, I started using the Couch to 5 K app. I chose the Color Run Unicorn. In the past, I’ve tried running. Every time I’ve tried to run, I’ve made it about 3 weeks and then I stop. Usually, it’s because of knee
or hip pain. Most of that is due to me not stretching before I run. I know. You have to stretch and warm-up before you run.

Since I started using the app, I’ve found solace in running. The brisk fall breeze hitting my face as my Nike’s pound the pavement. I am able to think about more than what I’m going to do post-run. I can think about
the future and where/what I want to do next.

As I enter my second week of running, I’ve set some short-term running goals. My goals are to run four times this week (last week, I ran three times) and to run one time in the morning during my work week. I want to become a morning workout person, but I know that I need to ease into it.

Let’s talk about food. I’m trying to make the final switch to being a vegetarian. I love being a vegetarian. It’s great eating a lot of vegetables. I think that being a vegetarian is more fitting for me. Also, it helps me manage my weight. I’ve felt guilty after eating meat lately and I haven’t enjoyed the taste. However, I won’t be a strict vegetarian.

A black bean burger with roasted Dijon potatoes

When I travel to different places, I will probably eat meat. As a cook, I think it’s important to try as many foods as possible. Lastly, if someone invites me to their home and makes a dish with meat, I’m not going to turn it down. Honestly, unless you have an allergy or the food will make you sick, I think it’s silly to turn down food that someone has taken time to make you.

A vegan muffin and beet smoothie from the Asics cafe in Tokyo

Are you a vegetarian? If so, what do you like to cook and how often do you cook?

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Foreign Cutz

By: Gerald Stewart

The Black-Owned Businesses Abroad series is a recurring installment of interviews, photos, videos, promotions, and/or article contributions covering black entrepreneurs making their way in a society away from home. This article is spotlighting Foreign Cutz, a barber shop in Yokosuka Japan.

I went to Cordell’s shop, Foreign Cutz, for a haircut and beard trim. I’m happy with the result and the quality of his work is immediately recognizable. After my haircut, I chatted with Cordell and another customer while he cut the next person in line. This is a bit of his story from the talk we had:

What do you miss most after being in Japan for over ten years?
“Being from Memphis I would definitely have to say fried pork chops.”

Cordell reflected fondly on spending time in the kitchen back home. Also being from the South, I asked a bit more about my favorite food: southern BBQ. Cordell said he can actually barbecue a bit and also feels comfortable in a kitchen.

So what made you decide to open a barber shop, rather than a restaurant or anything else?
“Well I got into cooking later on, and cooking for myself is one thing but it’s different to sell it to other people.”

How did you get into cutting hair?
“I got one haircut a long time ago and it was awful. I got it fixed by my cousin and became really curious about how to do everything.”

You have a picture with Nelly on facebook, are there any other celebrities or notable people you’ve cut?
Cordell has cut Nelly, Fabo of D4L, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y. Gray from Empire, and Joey BadA$$.

What was it like working on them?
Cordell cut Nelly and members of his team in 2016. Nelly was personable and down-to-Earth.

Who was the most interesting person you cut?
Joey BadA$$ was the most interesting because he was “natural, real, and entertaining”.

Given your experience and clientele, what do you say to people who think the price is too high?
ig: @fadedU
That picture really says it all- “Look at the equipment. All that stuff, it factors in, and as a barber, you have to value yourself.”

Another customer there, also from the US, agreed that the price is not unreasonable. “Quality is a big factor. For many people, hair is your safety net, and if your hair gets messed up, it changes your whole image.”

Cordell agreed and shared stories of people he had known personally still trying to get a discount for a first time or a list of other reasons. “What I don’t understand is- people won’t go to Walmart or the corner store asking for a discount, so why would you come to my shop and ask me?”

The value Cordell places on his eye for style and experience is justified in his work. Having lived in six different cities in Asia, including three in Japan, I can say going to Cordell gave me the best and easiest haircut I’ve gotten abroad. A big part of that is my own lack of command of the local language. However, even with solid translation and multiple example images, it can take other experienced barbers three or four visits to get my hair cut and styled to my liking. This is probably due to simple differences in style and trends, but the result is that it can take me a solid two months to get what I might otherwise call my ‘usual’. The day I went to see Cordell I wanted to see what he could do with little suggestion. So I told him that I usually like a relatively short fade but I was open to letting him work. When the chair turned around, I knew that was a good choice. One feature I didn’t expect was that Cordell saw something I didn’t know about: He shaved just a bit of the top of my moustache which resulted in a visible separation between my nose and my facial hair which actually made the hair look fuller than when it follows its own lines.

Can you share your top tips for healthy, stylish hair?
“In this environment, depending on who you are and your hair type, keep moisturized. For example with newly locked hair, it’s pretty easy to maintain but you have to keep it moisturized. For black people, wash about three times a week, not every day, and depending on style wrap it up at night.”

Cordell also said he liked the pomade he recently started using, that he used to style my hair. It gave my hair a finished look, but without being so hard that I couldn’t still run my hands through it. Cordell used the “White Lightning” product by Mason’s Pomade.

How often should people be getting their hair cut?
“Every two weeks.”

Are there any do’s and don’ts for haircut day?
“Please, wash your hair. And don’t come in with product in it. It can mess up the clippers and make the haircut take longer.”

For those people that don’t have the time or money to get cut that often, do you have any tips to make a haircut last?
Shorter cuts are obviously going to last longer, and be easier to style. On top of that, Cordell recommends steering away from ‘hard parts’ and designs if you’re on a budget or can’t come in for a fresh haircut regularly.

On the other hand, if someone has some spare time and money to spend on their appearance, are there any style choices you like to work with?
“I’m really into fades, drop fades, high n’ tight, I just think something about it looks good.” Cordell mentioned he also likes to do designs, especially those that are unique or have some personal interest to the customer. “I had a guy in here the other day that wanted an ‘A’ in a circle cut in like the name of the performer, Anarchy. Designs really let me work on technique and I’m always on youtube thinking about what I can try next.”

What has it been like running a business here?
Cordell arrived in 2007. He got out of the Navy in 2014 and said he felt unsure of what to do next. While considering his options of using his GI bill for further education and also considering different jobs, Cordell was having a hard time.

“I was working contract jobs and it was actually my wife’s idea to open a shop. I was mobile before opening this shop in November of 2017 and I was constantly running around to different places. I just remember one day I passed out. I guess I was dehydrated and I woke up in the hospital and the first thing I thought of was ‘Where’s my equipment? What time is it? I have to get to my next client.’ And the nurse looked at me and was like ‘you’re not going anywhere.’ My wife did a bunch of stuff for me preparing for this and I was just so grateful. The one thing I was worried about going from mobile to having a shop was ‘are my clients going to follow me?’”

Cordell said all but one or two of his clients did decide to come to his shop, and at least one of those exceptions started mentioning booking an appointment soon.

Have you noticed any big differences between your experiences and those of non-black expat business owners?
Cordell said that he hasn’t had any bad experiences in the shop or while he’s actually working.

“But outside of the shop I do have stuff that’s said get back to me, but I don’t let it bother me. For example a customer had someone ask who cut her hair and when she told the guy about me he said something like ‘oh I’m going to take all of his customers.’ But she just said ‘Yeah, good luck with that.’ And that’s what I think about it too.”

On the topic of entrepreneurship in general, Cordell said he has a contact who isn’t a Person of Color that is something of a mentor to him.

“He owns a chicken spot and some apartment buildings and other things. He gets cut here and he encourages me to diversify. Our businesses are different so there’s not a direct comparison. But one thing I remember he told me was to be like a spider -if one leg gets cut off, you should have other things going on so you still have more to rely on.”

Can you recommend any other resources, sites, or contacts for black expats?
Cordell mentioned that he is actually going to be participating in an episode of Raw Urban Mobile, a podcast about life in Japan.
Check out the show and look out for his episode at

If you’d like to be a part of the BOBA series, leave a message in the contact section of the blog.

Follow Cordell on Facebook @Foreigncutz
Address:2 Chome−43 Yokosuka, Kanagawa,Japan
Phone number:070-2190-1361

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