Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Continued Benefits of Natto!

Before I go on a glorified rant on my love for natto, I want to explain a bit about myself. Back in freshman year of college I went on medication, and after about a year or so, I stopped taking it. Shortly after I started experiencing an annoying sensation in my legs and arms when I tried to sleep at night. It made me want to get out of bed and start running. Later on I found out it was Restless Leg Syndrome.

It's hard to explain but it kept me up all night long and I'd lose out on a lot of sleep because of it. I'd wake up feeling super tired because I spent more than half of the night kicking my legs and flailing my arms around so the sensation would go away. Doing this helped but it's hard to fall asleep when you keep having to consciously move your limbs around.

This continued on for about 3 years. It only stopped after a few weeks of being here in Japan. And so it made me curious as to why it suddenly disappeared. So after doing a bit of quick internet research(lame I know) I figured out that for most people, after taking a B-12 vitamin shot, their RLS went away. This B-12 is a tricky vitamin. It's found on a lot of things, and foods, but it can be difficult to find it on a reliable and edible source. Why? because B-12 is a bacteria, which during most cooking and food preparation processes is removed. However, on more naturally (fermented) prepared foods B-12 still remains.

Now I wondered what have I been eating in Japan that contains a reliable source of B-12? Yup you guessed it, natto! I've eaten natto at least twice a day, on a daily basis since being here. I sleep so well at night now, it's just great! I no longer wake up at random intervals through the night tossing and turning.

I'm sure my research methods teacher would yell at me for making such a silly statement without sufficient evidence to back up my theory. Once I get back to America I would like to continue this theory with more official research.

Although it has only been 2 and a half months since my RLS has gone away, it is said that the symptoms are often intermittent and may disappear and reappear after a couple months without reason. But for now, I will enjoy my undisturbed sleep at night.

Snow in Kyushu

Let me begin by saying, field trips are awesome and I wish schools in CMS and other schools in America would allow field trips again. These Japanese field trips are so much fun, they allow you to visit historical landmark sites and see the beautiful scenery that only the locals know about. Also on 2 separate field trips they let us try their locally made alcohol, YAY!

This Saturday I went on an optional field trip to Ono River and around the nearby area. It was a cold day in Oita city! But after last Wednesday's weather I falsely believed I would be fine wearing a short sleeve shirt underneath a cloth jacket (it wasn't even a real jacket!). Our first location was a waterfall and river, it was windy and cold, but bearable still.

Then we rode further up the mountain where it began to snow. The picturesque view of snow falling onto the sleepy mountain town reminded me of a snow globe. While the scene was very lovely and breath-taking, I knew at this point I was officially screwed, because I was going to freeze my butt off. And indeed I was right.

Being cold had an upside though, when we stopped to have lunch, the hot food combined with the view of snow falling outside the window was just perfect. I couldn't have asked for anything more than to be there in that cozy room eating Japanese noodle soup with a hot cup of green tea (although a jacket would've been nice too!).

Next we went to a town that makes sake. It was pretty cool, but I was too busy keeping warm to pay attention. Then we went to a park at the foot of a mountain. Needless to say, it was quite cold but also very beautiful and serene.

Throughout the trip, there was a little kid probably 11 years old that had on nothing but a long sleeve shirt and a pair of ripped jeans and he wasn't cold at all. It made me remember when I was a kid, even in the coldest weather I would rarely ever wear a jacket because I never felt that cold, and my parents would always get mad and yell at me to put a jacket on. Geez that kid makes me feel so old! what I wouldn't give to be him at that moment, because at least I wouldn't have felt so unbearably cold.

Just thinking about that day makes me cold. I did have gloves though!...