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Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Closing with Haruo Kushi

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.
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JOHN LENNON SONG “IMAGINE” AND CLOSING WITH HARUO KUSHI

As Hisao said, our father, all of our father, or grandfather, was a dreamer.  My brother, Phiya on the piano. And let’s all sing a happy song together, as we did with Dennis.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today, ah haaa

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You hoo oo, you may say I’m a dreamer
but I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed of hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You hoo ooo
You may say, I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

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Thank you once again, everyone, for joining us this afternoon. You’re truly a part of our family. Represented on the stage here are all of Michio’s sons, children and grandchildren and we truly welcome you as part of our family and celebrate this time and this remembrance. Thank you so much everyone who shared here this afternoon.  We invite everybody to a reception which is at the Marriot Copley Place as you know. It’s on the back of your program.  It’s probably still cold out there but hopefully you’ll enjoy the brisk walk.  There will be an opportunity at that time for other people to share their memories and their thoughts including my other brothers who you just heard from Phiya’s wonderful piano playing but you’ll be able to hear from them as well as everyone else who wants to take the time and opportunity to do so. And so, thank you very much. A handful of us will be available to say, “Thank you” – my uncle, Michio’s brother, Midori and the immediate sons will join us, join you towards the back of the sanctuary and, obviously, take your time to head over to the Marriot Copley Place.  Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done over the decades to really celebrate and carry the spirit of what my father’s life was about. We are all dreamers and we can change the world. Thank you.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Hisao Kushi

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

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HISAO KUSHI

Uhh.  Hello!

I am Hisao Kushi. I am the youngest of the boys and it’s quite a sight – all of you here. I am, I guess here to talk about what it was like to be Michio Kushi’s son which as you can imagine was quite and adventure. As you can tell from all of these speaker and I am sure all of you have each had your challenges sort of trying to describe what Michio Kushi was like ‘cause he sort broke a lot of boundaries in terms of categorization.

So one of the challenges that I had and I know that my brother’s had is, as a kid, when you’re in school every year, every couple of years you have to take these standardized tests and, you know, you fill in last name, “Kushi”, first name, “Hisao” and one of the questions right there is: Father’s Occupation.  And that is a stumper right there, before you get to the test, that’s a problem.

So depending on the year I would pick a different occupation. So, one year I picked “teacher” because that’s what he did.  Lots of people came to our house, they learned stuff, went out into the world. He would travel around the world, he would give lectures he would…so, I’m like, “teacher”! And of course, that becomes a thing, you know, “So! What does your Dad do?”- “He’s a teacher!” – “Oh, where does he teach?” – “Um, you know, Europe.”  – “Is he a professor?” – “Mmm, not really!”

So, another year, because it became difficult to talk about him as a teacher, I wrote, and I remember this specifically, I wrote “author” and   remember because I wasn’t quite sure how to spell it. But I wrote, “author” but I figured well that would be pretty simple because he writes books. So again, it’s one of those things where people would say, “Oh what does your father do?” – “Hey, he’s an author! He write books.” – “Oh, great! What kind of books?” –  “Well, non-fiction? You know.” – “What are some of the books he’s written” – “Your Face Never Lies”.

As I got older, the answer to the question, “What does your father do” – I started to say, “He’s a philosopher”. And the thing is if you say, “philosopher” people are like – they don’t know what to do with that. “What does your father do?” – “He’s a philosopher.” – “Okay.” You know.

…he would say, “Make sure that your life’s goal, your life’s dream, is something that you can’t achieve during your lifetime.”

But I think that of the answers was sort of the most accurate because he was a big thinker. He was thinking about the big questions of the day. You know he would think about, “Why do we have five fingers? What is the nature of human violence? How do we raise people’s consciousness so that we end human sickness and tragedy?”

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One of the things that I remember him telling me as a kid, and he’s probably mentioned this to all of you too, he would say, “Make sure that your life’s goal, your life’s dream, is something that you can’t achieve during your lifetime.” Right? You know, dream big!  Try and get to sort of the fundamental questions and solve those.

And so, and his dream, as we’ve heard today and as we all knew, was a dream of One Peaceful World and that was a dream he shared with all of you and with us and allowed us to discover that it was a dream that we shared with him. And not only did he touch your lives, but his life was touched by all of you and so was all of us in the family. That made all of our lives including his much richer. It allowed him to do things the things that he wanted to do and that the world he felt called on him to do.

So, if I were answering that question today on the standardized test, and thank God I don’t have to, the real answer, and I think you’ve heard this throughout the speeches today is that he was a dreamer in a really simple and profound way. That was what he was at heart and for us, as his kids, the gift that he gave to us was the permission to dream big and to think about our place in the world and in the universe.  That is I think something that is unique in our upbringing and that was at the foundation of who we are and how we think about our place in the world.

And so, as a big dreamer and, he was also a man of action, so he could dream big but was constantly full of energy, it is, I can’t lie – it’s sad as – to lose that.  And so, I think it’s up to all of us to tap into those big dreams and to carry those forward in our lives.  I love you Papa.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Dennis Kucinich

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

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DENNIS KUCINICH

Good afternoon. To Midori and the Kushi Family, to the members of the Kushi Institute and all of the Kushi organizations who are represented here worldwide – this gathering is really a testament to Michio Kushi’s impact on the world

I’m Dennis Kucinich and I first met Michio Kushi thirty years ago when he and Aveline made an extraordinary presentation about diet and nutrition at a church in the Cleveland area. Their insight about the relationship between physiognomy and health and dietary habits regaled that audience with the consequences of literally becoming what you eat, if you ate a lot of chicken, pork and other animal products.

As Michio and Aveline made their presentation and dramatically would extend their stomachs, as if to say, you eat a lot of cow products you’re going to have a big stomach. If you eat a lot of chicken you may end up with certain tendencies. Well as they made this presentation you saw the audience squirming in the nakedness of the anthropomorphic implications of appetites, speculating about the diet of the stranger sitting next to them, imagining human beings presenting subtly as barnyard animals. It was a moment of high humor worthy of James Thurber’s “A Thurber Carnival”, where animals acquired human traits. Michio and Aveline had made their point: You are what you eat, so take care.

Michio Kushi, perhaps better than anyone in the last century, understood the transformational and redemptive power of food, its relationship to personal health, environmental integrity and world peace. His East-West apostolate was a commitment to the transcendent power immanent in every moment, the communion of spirit and matter, yin and yang, which made the partaking of food a holy sacrament of divine nourishment of the temple of self.

Michio Kushi understood the condition of inner harmony of mind, body and spirit arrived at through the macrobiotic diet came from a quickening of vibration and light as the substance of food united with the person consuming it. Knowing that what is innermost becomes outermost, Michio Kushi took the theory of the unity of matter to a higher spiritual expression, that of human unity, that we are all one, interdependent, interconnected across an infinity of time and space.

The potential for human unity came from each individual taking responsibility for his or her own health, pursuing the diet of a compassionate, non-violent harvest, respecting, preserving all which inhabit the natural world from harm and so achieving the reconciliation with the natural world which the philosopher Thomas Berry said is the great work of our lives.

The great work of Michio Kushi’s life was to raise the consciousness of the world about the power of food, the essentiality of dietary choices, the path toward health which strengthens the body and liberates the spirit.

At this moment in human history where the biosphere is threatened by short-sighted agricultural policies which selfishly waste precious water resources, poison the land, befoul the air, pollute gene pools, it is the gentle spirit of Michio Kushi, which can lead us back towards a Garden Eden filled with fruits, vegetables and grains from the cornucopia of life, where all are fed and all live in harmony, and thus we can turn the myth of the Fall of Man into an At-One-Ment, a celebration of return to Grace, the achievement of Enlightenment – – One Peaceful World.

This was the vision of Michio Kushi, now it is his legacy, to be resurrected by us to help save the planet from destruction. To save it with regenerative agriculture, agro-ecological principles, plant-based diets and the rejection of war as an instrument of policy.

We who were privileged to share a day or blessed to share a lifetime with Michio knew his genius rested upon simplicity of thinking, of personal habit, of living, of eating. His gift for clarity enabled breakthrough thinking which accelerated evolutionary thought in human health, ushering in new insights into medicine and healing.

Michio Kushi’s philosophy and writings helped to make what was once called Alternative Medicine, mainstream. His partnership with Alex Jack produced world-acclaimed texts on disease prevention and the achievement of total health, principles which are now a bedrock of integrative medicine.

Michio’s message was not simply about the wholeness of food, it was about the wholeness of life: You do not have to suffer, you can live, enjoy a long life, and be happy. For some this may seem cliché, but for Michio Kushi, the attainment of health, happiness and inner peace was in fact a goal of life, as was love, the love of his family, especially his beloved partner and wife, Aveline.

And when Aveline passed, Michio faced a great crisis because his love was no longer with him on his journey. Those who knew him know that his health began to suffer. His vital energy waned. Then he met Midori and he was revitalized, summoned back to life. Through Midori he reclaimed his own spark of light and love, which he carried forth to his final days.

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In 1999, I had the honor of welcoming Michio and Aveline Kushi to Washington, DC, at the celebration of the acquisition of their collection by the Smithsonian. A few days later, I introduced Michio Kushi to a major committee of the House of Representatives where he testified how a macrobiotic diet could be a powerful therapy for women suffering from certain types of cancer. As he concluded his testimony he added, joyfully, disease prevention or recovery could be enhanced by singing a happy song, every day. And he gave the Congressional Committee and example like “You are My Sunshine.”

So, let us take his wisdom, and at this moment call forth that expressive power of his joy. Please join me, if you wish, oh yes, in singing just a few lines from Michio’s happy song, “You are My Sunshine” and let’s sing a few lines to Michio:

“You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine,

You make me happy,

When skies are grey.

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you,

Please don’t take

My sunshine away.”

Our lives will forever be warmed by the mere thought of you, dear Michio.

 We abide in your light and your light abides in us. Thank you.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Michael Potter

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

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MICHAEL POTTER

Greetings, I’m Michael Potter from Michigan, Eden Foods.  I say, “Hello” to the Kushi family and to all of you. We have lost, humanity has lost a friend, a teacher, a great man. Our condolences to the family and especially to Midori, his wife. I like to believe – I like to think  that Michio is in a more peaceful place now than he was here on earth now. Wendy Esko and I  were commiserating the other day after learning of Michio’s passing and we  concluded that Michio’s passing is the end of an epoch, about a 60 year epoch – 1954 to 2014 – 60 years.

I really do believe he is in a more peaceful place. And speaking about “peaceful”:

When I was a young man, a teenager – 18 years old, 19 years old – I was of the opinion and of the school of thought that revolution was a violent thing.  Political power grew out of a barrel of a gun – Chairman Mao – things like that and I was involved with radical elements in my community. And, thank God! My sister handed me a book, “You Are All Sanpaku”!  And I made a decision, as a teenager, okay, I’m not going try to change things by being violent.  I am going to change things more fundamentally, more completely, more thoroughly, more effectively by focusing on diet; by focusing on the wisdom that my teachers, my macrobiotic teachers shared with me.

The “Order of the Universe” publications that I was reading at that time, they changed millions of people lives. They changed the direction of medicine, education, diet, agriculture.  But, you know, I experience violent opposition to the change that wants to happen; that has been encouraged; that has been seeded by Michio. Ignoramus Press, by the Georges Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, I was reading similar things at the same time.

The impact on humanity of macrobiotic teachings would be hard to over-estimate, in my opinion. Macrobiotic teachings stimulate – has stimulated the evolution of humanity and there is resistance to it.

Immediately preceding the beginning of the natural foods movement were the teachings of macrobiotics that were released to us and carried to us.  After that, after the macrobiotic teachings happened, the natural foods phenomena began to happen all over the planet – Europe, Australia, Japan, United States.   Macrobiotics was the origin of the natural foods movement.  It’s largely been co-opted by big money interests, but that’s another story.

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Universal consciousness was changed by macrobiotic teachers.  Mine, yours, humanity’s consciousness has been changed and, you know, I watched as the planet changed. I watched as this universal consciousness was impacted by macrobiotic teachings.  It’s more than spoken word or written word in books and lectures. It’s a consciousness amongst humanity that was impacted by macrobiotic teachings Macrobiotic principles – thank God I learned of them.  You know I like to think that – I tell people –Eden Foods is a principled company – it’s a principled natural food company.  I don’t often get to tell people though that those principles are the macrobiotic principles as defined, shared and taught to me by Michio Kushi.

The New York Times was in my office a little while ago and she was trying to get some understanding from me, “How did things start?”  I don’t know how to answer her question accurately. I couldn’t even begin to think of a suitable answer.  I went in to my closet and pulled out a stack of old “Order of the Universe”s. I put them on the table and I said, “That’s what started Eden Foods.” She got it.

And, I just want to, you know – in this environment and with you all, I just want to share – you know, I was thinking about coming here and being with you all and it’s an honor and I was driving in my car – “What am I going to say?” and I heard a song, “How do you sleep while your beds are burning?”   Ladies and Gentlemen, our food, our medicine, our – you know – we are being poisoned!  By and we need to – our beds are burning!  How can we sleep? We have to address these matters agriculturally, food-wise and medicine-wise.  Thank you.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Toyofumi Yoshida

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

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TOYOFUMI YOSHIDA

Dear All,

I am Toyofumi Yoshida of Mitoku Co., Ltd. In Tokyo, Japan. I was very shocked and saddened to learn of Kushi-sensei’s passing. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his family.  As you all – as you all know, Kushi-sensei left behind so many great accomplishments through his lifetime work of macrobiotic. All of us gathered here today prove that. I am sure each one of  us has special memories with Kushi-sensei.  I would like share a little piece of 47 years of history between Kushi-sensei and Mitoku Co., Ltd.  Mr. Kazama who was founder of Mitoku, who was also my father-in-law, passed away three years ago.

Kushi-sensei and Kazama were introduced through a mutual friend. Kushi-sensei needed macrobiotic quality food in the US.  I was told that Kushi-sensei was very set in his mind and he needed macrobiotic quality food and that was that. Kazama was not so sure but he decided believe Kushi-sensei and started to look for products that Kushi-sensei requested.

Back then in Japan, big new machine and mass production line are in. Everything was about making how  many more you can make as faster than you can. Olden traditional making were almost gone.  Japanese yen was 360 yen against one dollar – US one dollar.  US dollar was worth three times more than today’s rate.  Yen was not traded freely. Export and import were very difficult.  Against all that my father—in—law had travelled and researched all over Japan for long fermented miso made in the traditional wooden keg.  Tamari and Shoyu made from whole soybeans not from defatted soybeans which was major in at that time. Wakame, Kombu and other seaweeds – they were not well known in US.  Everything Kazama tried to put into shipping containers.  Japanese government wanted to check.

Now Japanese food were widely known all over the world. Tofu, sushi, tempura and the other Japanese food become trendy. Who’d have thought non-Japanese will eat seaweed; having miso and shoyu in the regular household kitchen. Kushi-sensei did and believed almost 50 years ago.  We have received so many ideas from Kushi-sensei for making good products for offer. Good products to make people happy and healthy.

I, on behalf of Mitoku, Co. Ltd., and I think I can speak for Mr. Yuko Okada of Muso Co., Ltd., also and other companies like us, along with all the producers that are committed to make old and traditional products will continue to our work to help Kushi-sensei’s mission and his work he left behind.  Thank you. Arigato Gozaimashita.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Francisco Varatojo

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

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FRANCISCO (CHICO) VARATOJO

Hello good afternoon! Midori and Norio, and Haruo, and Phiya and Hisao, thank you so much for asking me to pay this last tribute to your father. It’s an honor and pleasure. Everyone has spoke a lot about Michio in different ways. I will talk a little bit about my relationship with him and what I knew about Michio as a human being.

I got to know him in 1977, I believe August 16, 1977. I am not sure of the date, I am sure of the month.  I was 16 then. I was a young kid just starting macrobiotics and Michio, Aveline, and some of the children and some other friends, one of them – Bill Spear –  here tonight, here this afternoon, I’m sorry, were there.  So I went to the seminar. I sat in the first row and Michio called me on stage. I was extremely nervous, more than I am now, and I am a bit nervous. So, and you know we had this nail clipper demonstration – this famous counter-clockwise, clockwise things so – I got the counter-clockwise spiral and I thought he was reading my mind, knowing everything about my life, my past life, I really thought so! I was scared to death.  So, I think he put his hand on my shoulder and it was obvious I was pretty nervous.

You know he had this mantra, which he said to many, many people, particularly young people which was, “Please come to Boston!” So I think he spelled that mantra – I mean he used to say this to everyone. I remember him in, like, in all consultations saying, “Please come to Boston” and in classes. So, I got it too. And this was like an enchanted word – would actually made me fly to Boston a few months later, February actually. It was very, very cold like now, I remember. I landed in Logan Airport. It was 15 degrees Celsius in Lisbon and it was minus 20.  It was the coldest day of the winter, similar to the time we are in right now, for what was the biggest adventure of my life which was actually studying macrobiotics. Just out of, “Please come to Boston” sentence.

And over the years I was actually quite lucky to get to know Michio in many of his facets: Michio the father, Michio the husband, Michio the teacher, Michio the counselor, Michio the philosopher, Michio the politician, Michio the businessman.  Michio could embody all of these really well. I mean he was one time discussing politics and the other time he was closing a contract at the same time he was giving advice to someone who was sick. So, Michio had this personality who really embodied lots of personalities but I think for the ones, the ones of us present here – the teachers, the students, teachers who studied with him – I think Michio was, more than anything else, our teacher.  The one who drew spirals on the blackboard and the one who made the relationship with everything, like Evan Root was saying or taught oriental diagnosis or gave us consultations.

For me Michio was somehow, and someone else said this already, somehow my second father, not taking anything from you guys.  So it was like both Michio and Aveline were like my second parents pretty much literally I can think. He was always like, he was always like the big teacher. One of his capacities was actually this capacity of really drawing people. I remember people in his lectures, they would hardly understand his English, which was actually pretty bad most of the time, and – but they would feel drawn by his energy. They would feel drawn by his quality.  I remember one time we were actually in an airplane in Brazil and Michio stood up to go to the toilet or something and there was a lady who came out of nowhere on the plane and started, “Oh my God! You are a saint! You are something!”  and I thought, “What is going on?” Yet, she did not know him. She just picked up something and went after him and, of course as usual, I had to rescue him as a bodyguard, which was one of my functions very, very often– driving, bodyguarding, running away from places and so.

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If I would say something about him, Michio really had a huge dream.  He wanted everyone on the planet to eat well, he wanted a pristine environment and he wanted to discover transmutation and many of those things that some people are following right now. But he always wanted that with good manners and elegance. Michio had this thing about good manners and elegance. Like you, you had to shape up and dress well and speak well and be gentle.  So it was like, even in War he thought things should be, I don’t know, peaceful in war, I suppose – but with good manners. It was like – I think Michio really felt many times that he was like a Samurai and that his mission was the mission of a samurai and certainly his life does reflect that in many ways.

But he did pursue his dream relentlessly. I did work a lot with him and I met very few people with this drive and resilience. He was unstoppable.  Often times the second shift at home would start at midnight and when everyone was very tired. I remember working with him on proof reading some books. It was 4 o’clock in the morning. I was completely exhausted.  I am much younger than him. I was exhausted and Michio was reading and in my mind I was going, “He cannot be doing this right. We are too tired.  So, he is just pretending he is reading or something.”  And then he said, “Chico! We got to change this, this is no good!” I said, “What do you mean, Michio?” It was like a little sentence, something that was really not that important and he was really awake and I would say, “Oh boy, this is – this is amazing how he can do this! It’s amazing how he could actually have this incredible drive.”

He always – he was always wanted to change the world. He always had big plans for everything. He always targeted really high. He always targeted for the stars. Michio did never want anything small. Never, that I know of anyway.

But he had, and I really miss this, he had an incredible sense of humor.  Sometime peculiar. Sometimes a little not so easy to grasp. But he had a very funny sense of humor which he could use in consultations very often.  Not everyone understood what he meant sometimes. But I remember one time I had with him, which is not a big story, but was something that was quite impressive for me.  We were travelling together in Europe, after Aveline died, so we were just visiting several countries in Europe.  We had this dinner in which, you know how these dinners go, they take forever, everyone is asking questions and Michio would always say, “Yes” and there’s a point he says, “Chico!  Let’s go out.” So, I find a sort of a good excuse. We come out. It’s a very beautiful spring day and it’s very late. It’s about one o’clock in the morning. We come out to the street. We want a bench to sit but there’s no bench to sit so we both ended up sitting on the sidewalk dressed up in suits.  And, we sit down and Michio starts telling jokes.  You know these jokes about, “There was this Italian and a Jew….”.  He started, and I have never heard him do anything like that, so he goes – he makes up this joke and replaces the Italians and the Jews by the macrobiotic people and the Japanese. You go no, I know. And I started playing the game and I would add the Portuguese and we were laughing like crazy. We were laughing like crazy.  Then we went to the hotel and I said, “Gosh, I never heard Michio telling jokes! This was the first time.” This is and he actually – he knows jokes! He knew all these jokes about Japanese people, which I won’t say here. But he could be really, really funny about it and lately in these last few years, I would always call him on his birthday. So I would say, “Happy birthday, Michio!” and he would reply back, “Happy birthday to you too, Chico!”  We were not born the same day, by the way, and I’ll just have to stop at some point. He’s really funny.  And so, I will miss, I will miss, his… I will really miss his sense of humor.

I mean, I do think, and quite a few people have said here, that Michio really played a very important role in the contemporary world.  He did contribute to many, many, changes in the areas of health, of course, diet, environment, ecology, spiritual development, personal development. Michio really had an enormous task there and he did – I do hope that the coming generations would actually appreciate his work and that they would, they will give him the acknowledgement he deserves.  I mean, a few people have said this already but if it wasn’t for Michio and Aveline, and yes, of course other people too, but these two in particular, many of the things we do take for granted right now we actually – we would not have.  Like, Alex did mention eating brown rice at a hotel or even sleeping in a futon, or dressing in nice quality cotton, or actually having organic food. As far as I know both Michio and Aveline went to the farmers in America and paid a fortune just to be able to get organic rice that no one wanted to grow.

And they were really relentless about it. They were…and Michio really carried it with the energy of a samurai and he didn’t care much about his health. On respect to this his drive was a lot more important than how he was feeling. I’ve seen Michio sick a few times. I remember one instance he was in Lisbon for a seminar. He was visibly tired. He was actually feverish. He was – he was really not feeling so well and we had about four hundred people. So, I opened the curtains and I see all the people waiting. We’re late and Michio tells me, “Chico, do you think we can cancel?”  And I say, “Ya, Michio we can cancel but this is really going to be a problem. We have 400 people in the room. Cancelling this event is going to be very difficult but I will if you tell me so. I will go there and stop it.” He said, “No, no, no, no. no I will do it.” So we walked on to the stage and he was very tired and started warming up and warming up and warming up.  He ended up with a standing ovation.

So, I will just finish by saying that while I mostly admired on him was his uncanny capacity to actually jump from, you know, to transcend logical and intellectual thought and to tune in to his intuition and to have a glimpse of the spiritual world.  Michio could do it better than anyone else. So thank you very much Michio. Please rest in peace. Thank you very much.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Horriah Nelissen

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

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HORRIAH NELISSEN

Hello everybody!  Dear friends, my name is Horriah Nelissen.  I am the oldest daughter of Adelbert and Wieke Nelissen from the Kushi Institute of Europe in Amsterdam. I will read a message from my mother, Wieke Nelissen, and in spirit of my father who recently passed in the beginning of September.

Adelbert and Weike Nelissen

Adelbert and Wieke Nelissen

Both Wieke and Adelbert, my parents, have seen Michio and Aveline as their great teachers and guides on their path of macrobiotics.  For their children, I am the oldest of five children, Michio and Aveline were like grandparents to us. For a long period of time Michio and Aveline were both present several times per year in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities where seminars took place. Their first encounter was in 1975 when Michio and Aveline visited Europe for the first time. At that time Adelbert and Wieke were already practicing macrobiotics for 8 years.  They started in 1968, learning from the book of “Zen Macrobiotics” by George Ohsawa. Their understanding of macrobiotics was little, limited at the time – writing down in a diary “Horriah”, me, “got one raisin! Oh, oh, oh will that be okay?”  I read that diary and, oh, I’m glad that I’m still alive!  They started already, the first macrobiotic food store in Amsterdam and sourdough bakery called, “Manna”.

And the first Michio Kushi Seminar of Europe took place in London and Michio was speaking there for a group of acupuncturists.  My father was there and he attended those lecture and he was so overwhelmed by Michio’s teaching that he immediately phoned home to all the workers of Manna Company which was already growing at the time.  They had to drop their work immediately and come to Paris where Michio and Aveline would teach next, as soon as possible.

Paris was for Michio and Aveline like entering the Lion’s Den since in France several of the old students of Ohsawa were teaching there and Michio was a little bit seen as an intruder with too many modern ideas about macrobiotics.  The seminar was very successful and Michio and Aveline took the most challenging step into the world of macrobiotically successfully.

That same year in the fall, Michio came for the first time to Holland and taught for over 300 very grateful students.  For Adelbert and Wieke Michio was it was like Michio and Aveline made order in their macrobiotic life – their daily experience.  Suddenly everything made more sense to them so that one raisin became a normal box, I think.

And it was in the beginning for them, for a long relationship, between my parents and Michio and Aveline. Adelbert organized more than forty times all kinds of seminars with Michio and Aveline with students from all over Europe in many different languages. You cannot maybe imagine, but it had to be translated always in maybe eight different languages for all the teachings.

The Kushi Institute of Europe was established in 1978 as an educational center for leadership programs.  Here are some of the absolute highlights of the seminars and conferences Adelbert and Wieke organized for Michio and Aveline.  In the 80s a conference for medical professionals was organized for the World Health Organization in Brazzaville, former Congo resulting in to a conference in France in Bergerac for very interested Doctors.  In Brazzaville Adelbert visited markets as preparation before Michio came and in small villages he would gather all different kinds of products as samples to present the macrobiotic standard diet to those World Health Organization Doctors. Even he found brown rice and tofu. So it became clear that in a poor country like Brazzaville, a macrobiotic standard diet was possible to eat.

In the 80s the Kushi Institute in Amsterdam organized a number of conferences on AIDS and Cancer.  Although Michio and Adelbert had various meetings with the Chairman of the Governmental Cancer Organization, the interest in healing power of macrobiotic food was very low at the time. Healthcare in Holland was so well organized, why would people take care for their own health if everything was paid by the Government? On the contrary and at the same time there were numbers of people very interested in the philosophy and the macrobiotic diet and also in family members, which became, at the end, one of the trademarks of the Kushi Institute of Europe.

Between 1980 and 2000 Michio and Aveline conducted several times, four levels of spiritual development training in the south of Holland in a monastery.  And other very popular seminars were “New Medicine for Humanity”, “The Destiny of Mankind”, “The Cause of War and the Art of Peace”, “The Essence of Macrobiotics”.

When Michio and Aveline came for the first time to Holland, Wieke and Adelbert made them taste sourdough bread from their bakery. Especially Aveline was immediately very fond of this traditional Dutch bread.  And also they introduced them to Tempeh. You might well know Tempeh by now, but Tempeh was originally a fermented soybean product from Indonesia, a former colony of Holland. And Aveline and Michio didn’t know this food – not originally Japanese.  So they decided to put this immediately, together with the sourdough bread, into the macrobiotic standard diet and now tempeh is spread actually all over the world.

Michio loved Amsterdam but not the weather.  Still some of you maybe also know.  He would always make a joke saying, “Welcome to the Winter Conference!” even in the middle of the summer. And once he tried to adapt to the Dutch habits by trying to ride a bicycle. But he didn’t come far.  After a hundred meters he gave up, actually.  In Holland you have also bikes with side wheels.  Maybe we should have given one like that.

The last time Michio visited Amsterdam was to celebrate his 80th birthday. Many of his old students gathered for a big party with delicious food and artistic performances of professional macrobiotic musicians and dancers. It was a wonderful evening during which everybody could express his or her gratefulness for Michio’s teachings. In Holland his many students and especially our family will remember and cherish Michio and Aveline for their wonderful teachings and guidance for so many years.  Adelbert always spoke so highly of them and always felt extremely connected with both of them.  May their spirits guide us all to One Peaceful World. Thank you.

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