Lactose Intolerant

24.01.2014 § Leave a comment

A few years ago, I was surprise to hear my gastroenterologist tell me that 100% of Asians are lactose intolerant. So I have been drinking soy milk all this time. Today Brentano’s intern introduced me to Lactaid, a milk that is lactose free. She said she has been drinking it for two years. Really? I got curious and immediately started reading the carton.

I don’t know when I started this habit of reading labels. I grew up in an era when we bought food by weight or by pieces from local markets. If you bought pork, the butcher would weigh the meat and tie a string of raffia on it so you could carry the meat without touching it. The packaging material included large leaves, like lotus leaves. Old newspaper was a luxury since it cost money to buy newspaper—although come to think of it now, that would have been the most toxic packing material you could have in those days. We would go to the deli next door to buy our daily supplies with our own bowls, go to the produce market to buy vegetables and put them in our baskets without any packaging. No plastic bags, no labels, nor would we know where the food was produced. My mother told me about how she bought sesame oil in her youth: They would bring their own bottles to the oil shop with its big drums of oil, and the shopkeeper would weight the sesame oil and shoot the oil through a funnel into her narrow necked bottle. « Read the rest of this entry »

Bathtubs and Robes

12.07.2012 § Leave a comment

A Cultural Difference

I got into the habit of taking hot baths after experiencing the hot spring bath culture in Japan, and I started to notice the difference between the hotels in Japan and the US. First, the bathtubs in Japan are shorter but deeper so the water covers a person up to her neck. By contrast, the hotel tubs in the US are longer but shallower. If a person wants to warm up her knees and shoulders at the same time it is a bit hard. One has to sit up straight to soak her knees or lie down completely and bend her knees to soak her shoulders in hot water. Atami Hot Springs

Atami Hot Springs

Atami Hot Springs

I also noticed that the hotels in Japan always prepare you with a toothbrush and toothpaste and a pair of disposable slippers.  None of these could be found at the Minneapolis Hilton I checked into when I visited our representative in Minnesota.  « Read the rest of this entry »

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