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The faces behind SL Tokyo: A day in the life: Cat メンバーの1日

By Cat @minaacv

Cat is one of the faces behind Sustainable Living Tokyo. Read below to know more about her and how she is living her best sustainable life!

A day in the life of Sustainable Living Tokyo team

- Why did you become Sustainable?

The concept of sustainability is nothing too new to me. Living in an Asian household (Japanese/Vietnamese), my parents tend to keep containers and boxes whenever we get them. Since I was a kid, I have always liked to keep things to upcycle or make crafts with them so being sustainable just naturally comes as a part of my life. I usually keep things until I finally find something useful to do with them or else just simply throwing things away and calling it “trash” is irresponsible for me. However, it was actually the TED talk by Bea Johnson about living waste-free that was the deciding factor for me to shift my mindset seriously and be more mindful in my daily life activities so our future generations wouldn't carry this burden with them. I learned that we as individuals create things but we are also throwing them away as quickly as we get them. Our planet is not responsible for our trash. We are responsible for everything we consume and throw away because it doesn’t just disappear in the rubbish bin.

In late 2018, I discovered “Sustainable Living Tokyo” and this community encouraged me to carry on this journey when I was struggling and lost. Having dinner and talking about living sustainably with some of the members in the group, at the end of the night, I felt so connected with the community that it motivated me to do better. Some new things I started doing after this event include bringing my own containers to refill detergents, tofu shops, brushing with charcoal powder instead of toothpaste, and using loofah sponge for dishes! Even though it all seems new and strange to people around me, I hope that seeing me do this could make them think about how their everyday actions could impact our future.

- How do you start your day? Do you follow any morning routine?

My day doesn’t really have a consistent routine but I usually like to drink water and eat a light “brunch”. I’m not a morning person so gradually I just skip breakfast and do a simple brunch instead. I learned that it works better for my body and mood so do what works best for you!

Apart from eating, after I wake up I check my plants and open the curtains and window to let the sun and wind penetrate the house. The early morning sun always calms me down and seeing my plants in the morning makes me feel warm and happy. Other than that, playing with my dog gets my energy going every time.

- What kind of lunch do you usually make/eat/buy?

Usually, I lean towards having vegetables in all of my meals and stay away from meat as much as possible. Since I’m living with my parents right now, I can’t fully stay away from certain things but I do what I can as an individual. For brunch, bread and eggs with lettuce or tomatoes are what I usually crave. Actually, because I love bread so much, I decided to learn to make my own bread so I don’t have to buy pre-packaged ones!

- How do you spend your afternoon and evenings?

In the afternoon, sometimes I take a short walk along my neighborhood to get some fresh air outside my home. Usually, there are not many people walking around my neighborhood so it’s not so risky to be outside at this time. I also check if there are any dirty dishes needed to be washed and get done before dinner! Keeping my kitchen clean and tidy is important for me to prepare my meals. After that, I usually find something to cook or search for recipes online. I also like to get my work done if I finish everything else early or spend my time relaxing and watching movies with my boyfriend.

- Tell us about grocery shopping and meal planning if any.

My grocery shopping happens once a week and depends on what I have in the pantry, sometimes I just stay home to make sure I use up everything before new things start to come in. To reduce food waste and reduce my plastic waste, I only get whatever I can on the shopping trip that is plastic-free and not too over my budget. It’s hard to get plastic-free produce near my home but my usual cart tends to have potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions along with my own bag or containers for tofu. The only exceptions I can get are bananas and leafy greens which are always (most of the time) in plastic. I also look in the discount section to save some greens or vegetables from getting thrown away. After I get home, I wrap my greens in damp towels and place them into the fridge and briefly start summarizing my recipes for days to come. It doesn’t always go as planned, but that’s okay because I’m not sticking to meal planning; just getting an idea of what I can do before it goes bad. It’s like a learning experience for me. I like to understand every kind of vegetable and where it comes from. This always makes me feel inspired to cook and appreciate my food!

- How do you spend your free time?

I love to be in the kitchen so when in doubt, look for me in the kitchen area! (laughs). Since I enjoy eating (everything), I’m always keen to learn more about the food I eat and experiment with flavors that are new to me. Growing up in an Asian household, I came to love vegetables because, from my Vietnamese side, my mother eats a lot of vegetables; and I mean all kinds of vegetables you can think of. Moving to my father’s hometown in Japan, was an interesting tasting experience for me. I was not alienated by the idea of Japanese cooking, but I couldn’t feel the flavors because of the complexity of Vietnamese seasonings I was accustomed to. Here in Japan, I gradually developed my sense of cooking through the simple and light combination of flavors. It’s easy to get plastic-free produce in Viet Nam, but for sure Japan has always been the country that allowed me to grow, whether it is as a person or through the food themselves.

As a habit, I also find my relaxing time by cleaning and organizing. It’s more like something that calms me down whenever I feel stress or feeling blue. Other than that, I simply enjoy crafting something, catching up with friends, or watching movies. Believe it or not, I always have something to do or waiting for me to do. In my view, life is never boring. Every moment counts so appreciate it with everything you do! 🖤

Sustainable Living Tokyo メンバーの1日


サステナビリティというコンセプトは、私にとっては何も新しいものではありません。アジア系(ベトナム/日本)の家庭で育っており、両親は入れ物や箱などを手に入れた時にはいつも取っておいていました。小さい頃から、私は手元にあるものをアップサイクルしたり手芸をするのが好きだったので、サステナブルに暮らすことはもともと私の生活の一部だったのです。ものをすぐに「ゴミ」として捨ててしまうことは、私はとても無責任なことだと思っていて、いつか何かの役に立つのではないかと考えてものを取っておきます。とはいうものの、私が真剣にマインドセットを変えようと思った実際のきっかけは、ゼロウェイストの暮らしに関するBea JohnsonのTEDトークです。次世代に負担を掛けないように、日々の暮らし方について考えるようになりました。人は物を作ったりしますが、それら商品を手に入れてもすぐに捨てていることに気が付きました。私たちのゴミに対して、地球には何の責任もありません。ゴミはゴミ箱の中で勝手に消えるわけではないので、私たちが消費することや捨てることに責任を持つべきです。

2018年、私がサステナブルな生活で行き詰っているときにSustainable Living Tokyoと出会い、そのコミュニティが大きな励みとなりました。グループディナーのイベントに参加してサステナブルな暮らしについて話せたことで、私はこのコミュニティとの繋がりを強く感じ、より頑張る活力をもらいました。このイベントの後に新たに始めたことは、量り売り洗剤ショップや豆腐屋さんに自分の容器を持っていったり、歯磨きペーストの代わりに炭パウダーを使ったり、洗い物にへちまスポンジを使ったりすることです。私のこのような行動は、周りからは奇異な目で見られていますが、私の生活スタイルを見ることで彼らが日々の行動について考えてくれたら、未来にいい影響があると思います。

・どのように1日を始めますか? 何か朝の日課はありますか?

これといって朝の日課はありませんが、お水を飲んで軽いブランチを取ることが好きです。私は朝型人間ではないので、朝食を抜くことが多く簡単なブランチで済ませます。この方法が私にとっては身体にも気分にも良いと感じたからです。皆さんも自分に合う方法で過ごしてくださいね! 食べ物以外では、植物の状態をチェックして、カーテンと窓を開けて太陽光と風を入れます。朝の太陽を見ると落ち着きますし、植物を見ると温かい気持ちになって幸せになります。他には、犬と遊ぶことで元気になれます。








キッチンに立つことが好きです。「どこにいるんだろう?」と思ったら、キッチンを探してみてください(笑) 私は食べることが好きなので、食べているものについて学んだり、新しい味に挑戦してみることが大好きです。アジア系の家庭で育ったので、野菜は大好きです。ベトナム人である母はあらゆる野菜、それはもうあなたが思いつくすべてのものを食べます。父の故郷である日本に引っ越したことは、新たな味との出会いでした。日本料理に全く慣れていないわけではありませんが、その味を感じることはできませんでした。なぜなら、私はベトナムの複雑な味付けに慣れてしまっていたからです。日本では、シンプルで軽い味付けの料理を少しずつ身に付けています。ベトナムの方がプラスチックフリーの食品を手に入れやすいのはもちろんです。でも、日本では食や人との交流を通じていつも自分の成長を感じています。



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