Black Women in Japan 2nd Annual Convention: Empowering the Mind, Body and Soul

The Black Women in Japan Convention was an event that touched my soul. I walked in feeling excited, but anxious. For some reason, I was nervous about my outfit. I didn’t know if I was dressing for “the cookout” or for “church”. However, I walked out feeling like a powerful and enlightened being, almost superhuman.
The convention began with introductions by the women who made this convention happen. One of the founders, Avril Haye-Matsui, opened by saying “You’re at home. You are around sisters.” As she spoke, the room was silent. Eyes were widened and ears opened when Avril told us the importance of the convention and where we hope to go from here.

Avril Haye-Matsui

The Importance of Black Women’s Health

Throughout the convention, there were different workshops focusing on mental health, physical health and self-care. I had the opportunity to attend the Mindfully Me and the Be Your Own Advocate workshops. The Mindfully Me workshop was led by Kisstopher Musick. She has an MS in Psychology and has worked in the field for over 20 years. During the Mindfully Me workshop, we discussed how to describe ourselves more objectively than subjectively, self-care and the importance of black, female mental health in Japan. The ability to talk about mental health with other black women was incredible. It’s hard living in a homogeneous society, especially when your community is underrepresented. Having a woman like Kisstopher guide us through this discussion was helpful.

Kisstopher Musick

The Be Your Own Advocate workshop was led by Florence Orim, M.D. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss physical health and tips on how to navigate the Japanese healthcare system. Also, we had an opportunity to ask questions about our current health situations. I’ve only been in Japan for about six months and I am still learning about my health insurance and the healthcare system. Regardless of the amount of time I’ve lived here, Japanese bedside manner and ways of discussing health are different. I learned that I wasn’t the only one who had inhibitions about visiting the doctor. Dr.Orim taught us that getting a second opinion and communicating with doctors are necessary. After leaving both of these workshops, I felt more confident and comfortable about making decisions regarding my health.

Professional Development

One of my favorite aspects of the conference was how balanced it was. There were workshops about health, fitness, spirituality and professional development. I attended the Easy Product Photography workshop. It was led by Tia Haygood, a professional photographer working in Tokyo. Tia taught us about how to take photos of products, how we can improve our photography and budget-friendly equipment we can use. Although I take a lot of photos, I still found this workshop helpful. I was able to learn about what items work best for food photography and product photography. Plus, we got a chance to practice shooting photos and received feedback from Tia.


The Next Steps

The last day of the convention was the most difficult for me. I wanted more time with these courageous, smart and beautiful black women. I truly believe that being a black woman in a foreign country is special. Not all of us have the opportunity to live abroad. However, living abroad as a black woman can be challenging. When you are a black woman living abroad, sometimes you feel the need to represent the whole black female population. If you mess up, someone is going to remember and it could affect the next black woman they meet. After that weekend, I feel less of a need to carry that burden. I know that my sisters represent us well.

If you’re a black woman in Japan or considering moving to Japan, you can contact the group on Facebook @ black women in Japan (bwij). You can also follow the group on Instagram @BWIJ.

Continue Reading

Healthy Whole Wheat Protein Pancakes

A few months ago, I watched a video on YouTube that featured a woman who makes protein pancakes everyday for breakfast. I thought that was a great idea for breakfast. Who wouldn’t want to eat pancakes every day? I did a little research and found some recipes online. Most of them called for protein powder or had a ridiculous amount of ingredients that I didn’t have or couldn’t afford.

After a some failed attempts and convenience store breakfasts, I decided to try to create my own protein pancake recipe. I found whole wheat flour and flax meal at Kaldi, a supermarket chain in Japan, for under 500 yen. I knew that ground flax meal could be used instead of whole eggs and that it was a great plant-based protein option. Also, whole wheat flour is better for you then bleached white flour.

My first attempt was pretty successful. I enjoyed the nuttiness of the flax meal. Plus, using soy milk instead of dairy milk made the pancake more appetizing and less like a treat. However, they were a little dense. I knew I needed to fix this before I could post it on the blog. I found out that if you use too much flax meal, then it will thicken whatever you are making. For example, your pancake batter will be too thick and you’ll have to add more milk to the batter. I applied this tip to my second the second round. The second attempt was the best. The ratio of soy milk to flax meal was good and resulted in a pancake that wasn’t dense.

I’m really happy to have created a protein pancake recipe that isn’t terribly expensive and can be eaten every day. If you attempt this recipe, don’t be afraid to add to the original. I think they would be really good with bananas, chia seeds or peanut butter. The pancakes last for up to five days in the fridge.

Have you tried making protein pancakes?
If so, what are your tips for making them healthy and delicious?

Like this post? Pin it!

Healthy Whole Wheat Protein Pancakes
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Healthy Whole Wheat Protein Pancakes
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • 2 cups soy milk
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, flax meal, salt, ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir the dry ingredients until they are well incorporated.
  2. Next, add the soy milk to the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour mixture and milk together until it forms a batter. The batter shouldn't be lumpy.
  3. Then, fold the walnuts into the batter.
  4. Next, heat a medium sized frying pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil or butter. I used grape seed oil because it heats quickly.
  5. In your pan, pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of batter in the pan. When the pancake begins to form bubbles in the middle, flip the pancake and allow it to cook for about fifteen to thirty seconds.
  6. Repeat this process until your have used all of the batter.
Share this Recipe
 
Continue Reading

Eggy French Toast Casserole

Growing up, I used to love french toast. I looked forward to eating it at school and at home. However, when I would help make it at home, I despised how long it took to make. Waiting for the thick slices of french bread to soak up the sweet, eggy milk took hours. Actually, it didn’t take hours; it only took half an hour, but I was a kid and had no clear sense of time.

Even as a grownup, I still love french toast. I get excited to place two thick slices on my plate, top it with syrup and unsalted butter. I cut it up into small squares to make it “last longer”, but it never does. However, I don’t like making it. I think it’s a little time consuming. I have to stand over the stove and wait for a slice of bread to thoroughly cook.If you take it off too early, then you’re going to have a stomachache. If you leave it on for too long, then you’ve ruined your breakfast.To me, it’s a waste of time.

When I moved into my second apartment in China, I got an oven and began making casseroles. This was something that I never really did in the states. I saw it as being lazy and wasn’t something that “good cooks did”. My perspective changed the more I worked and read about cooking. This leads us to me discovering the french toast casserole. It has to be one of the best breakfast dishes to make. It’s easy, sweet and, because it is moist, keeps well for about three days.

French Toast Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
French Toast Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 loaf white bread a whole baguette is okay too. make sure to slice it into small pieces.
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 cup milk dairy milk, soy milk and nut milk are all okay to use
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 banana(sliced) optional
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the bread into small square squares. They should be about an inch, or two and a half centimeters, long.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs and milk together. Next, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt
  4. Then, take the bread and fold it into the milk and egg mixture. Allow the bread to soak for five minutes.
  5. Next, pour the bread into a well-greased casserole dish and disperse the cubes of butter on top. Optional: Add the sliced banana after adding the butter.
  6. Bake the french toast casserole for forty-five minutes. Start checking on the casserole at the thirty minute mark. To ensure that it's thoroughly cooked, place a toothpick through the middle and pull it out. If it comes out without any residue. then the casserole is finished. If there is residue, then allow it to cook for another fifteen minutes.
  7. Serve hot with syrup or jam.
Share this Recipe
Continue Reading
1 2 3 8