Rice Water: The Miracle Growth Potion in Guangxi China

The Yao Women Of Guangxi And Their Rice Water Tradition

Asia has been known for centuries for its abundance in rice, wheat and grain. There is even a specific ethnic group in China known as the Yao women who take a special advantage of the miracle grain. Women of the Yao group use rice water to grow their luscious locks to an astounding length, it’s literally the most beautiful thing you will ever see in this crumbling world.

 

Yao Women of Guangxi With Their Hair Up
Yao Women of Guangxi China

The women of this village only cut their ONCE in their entire lifetime, and that is at the age of 18. The hair that was cut is then preserved by an elder of the village until the women are married. The hair is then sewn into the fabric of their clothing as a symbol of union. The hair of the Yao women traditionally was thought to be sacred and the only the husband is ever allowed to see it in its full length. Nevertheless, the Yao women wear their wear in one long (and I mean LONG) protective styled braid. Rice water has also taken a huge stance in the hair growth community as people turn to use it fermented, boiled or stagnant.

Yao Woman Of China Braid

5 Step Guide To Making The Perfect Rice Water

Now before we start this recipe it is important to note that there are diverse types of rice, and different methods to make the rice water. The type of rice doesn’t necessarily matter as I’ve used wild rice as well as white rice to make the rice water.

The first method of preparation I am going to talk about is the fermented method.

Fermented Rice Water Preparation

  1. Pick your rice and throw it in a decent sized container
  2. Fill the container with water and shift it around until the water becomes milky or murky (or you can just leave it alone since its fermenting)
  3. Separate the rice from the water, and put the rice water in a separate container (preferably a jar or spray bottle)
  4. Let the rice water sit in a warm environment to ferment (the warmer the environment the quicker the rice water ferments).
  5. After 1-2 days put the rice water in the fridge to stop fermentation.

And that’s pretty much how you make fermented rice water!

Bowl of rice for rice water


Fermented rice water is more acidic than regular rice water, obviously because it’s been fermenting. So, before you think of dousing your hair in this stinky concoction (yes, it stinks too), dilute the rice water by adding fresh water. This way you won’t burn your scalp off, and you still reap the benefits of the rice water. If you’re worried about the scent of sour socks filling up your bathroom, bedroom or wherever you choose to apply the rice water to your hair and scalp, then add a bit of natural oil to the mix and that should help. I tend to use Black Jamaican Peppermint Castor Oil for this purpose and peppermint works wonders for your hair and scalp. I also have a huge mint addiction too, so peppermint is a go-to for me. But feel free to use whatever oil you want, I’ve heard wonderful things about lavender oil. The Yao women are known to put orange peels in their rice water, which is mainly fermented.


The second method I am going to walk about is the boiling method. This method is the standard in the natural hair care community…

Boiled Rice Water Preparation

  1. Pick your rice and throw it in the pot
  2. Fill the pot with water and proceed to bring to a boil until the water turns milky
  3. Separate the rice water from the rice (be careful it’ll be hot)
  4. Put the rice water in a container that won’t melt right away (a glass spray bottle should do or a jar)
  5. Let it cool, and there’s your rice water!

The issue with the boiling method is said to be that chemically the proteins and vitamins in the rice deactivate at a certain temperature so some say that it is less effective than just letting the rice sit for fermentation or shifting it around to extract the nutrients. However, it is quicker than the fermentation method if you’re looking for a quick spritz session with your spray bottle.

4495560470_a818a5ecf7_z.jpg

The Rich Person Method

This is an alternative method to obtaining rice water if you’re not in the mood for any of this and happen to have access to a computer, internet, and a product name. Many online retailers sell both the fermented and the unfermented rice water pre-made in a bottle. I kid you not, this is a real thing!

5 Incredible Benefits of Rice Water For Hair and Skin

Yao Woman Elder Guangxi

Many people are unaware of the benefits of rinsing rice to make rice water. The nutrients that come from rinsing rice are ten-fold compared to cooking it. Let’s see, you’ve got Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, Folic Acid, Protein … can you imagine applying all of that to your hair or even your skin? You would be glowing from head to toe. HEAD – TO – TOE.

  1. Get a beautiful complexion – The ph. balance in rice water when applied to your skin will assist in getting rid of dark spots and tightening loose skin.
  2. Softer Hair: When rice water is applied to your hair it feels like you’ve been bathed in a tub of milk and honey, rice water makes your hair more pliable and less susceptible to breakage.
  3. Shinier Hair: This one is a giveaway.
  4. Diarrhoea: Rice water is said to help prevent and cure diarrhoea. Although there is little research done on this statement, there are plenty of personal testimonies.
  5. UV Protectant: Rice water acts as a natural sunscreen when applied to the skin and can help soothe itchiness, redness or flaking.

HINT: Try Drinking It. No, you won’t die, rice water is edible… unless it’s fermented. In that case, you may just want to stick to the external application only.

 

3 Perfect Japanese Learning Books For Beginners

3 Perfect Japanese Learning Books For Beginners

Japanese books for beginners aren’t all made the same. Language learning is a tedious process and finding the right materials to take you through to each stage can be bothersome. Today I’ll be guiding you through the basic layout of 3 Japanese books for beginners.

Here are my top 3 Japanese Learning Books For Beginners!


Genki I

Target Audience: Elementary Level I

Method: Dialogue Conversations, Vocabulary, Grammar, Speaking Repetition, Audio

Place Most Likely To Be Used: Any Japanese 100 Level Course

What Genki Will Do For You: Teach you how to read hiragana, a few basic kanji, introduce you to grammar concepts, get you accustomed to speaking Japanese

Recommendations While Using Genki I: Supplement your study time by reading the stories in the textbook aside from the dialogue.

Mary Genki I

Story Line: Mary is an exchange student you just arrived in Japan. If you’ve ever been an exchange student in Japan you know just how scary it can be at first, literally terrifying. Mary is looking for all the help and advice she can get while trying to learn more about Japan and Japanese. She meets a young man named Takeshi and they go on adventure after adventure. The storyline is designed to teach you a new aspect of Japanese culture while learning the language, just like Mary. Its an extremely interesting tale, and quite frankly I don’t think you’ll get bored of it… it reminded me of a comedy-drama.

 

Reminder: Be sure to also use the workbook to supplement your studies with written content.

Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese Workbook I [Second Edition] (Japanese Edition) (Japanese and English Edition)


Genki II

Target Audience: Elementary II- Lower Intermediate

Method: Dialogue Conversations, Vocabulary, Grammar, Speaking Repetition, Audio

Place Most Likely To Be Used: Any Japanese 200 Level – 300 Level Courses

What Genk II Will Do For You: Improve your reading speed, expand your common word vocabulary, teach you everyday grammar usage, expand common kanji knowledge.

Recommendations While Using Genki II: Supplement your study time by reading the stories in the textbook aside from the dialogue. Also be sure to practice the new grammar by creating new sentences of your own each and every day.

Story Line: Mary has become a bit more adapted to the lifestyle at this point and more or less she’s just doing her own thing now. Takeshi begins to come on to Mary (in a more friendly way of course, because this is a children’s book) and he starts to offer more social outings and hangouts to Mary. However, Mary becomes a bit rebellious and troublesome due to her homesickness, and the situation just flairs out of control for a couple chapters. How will it end?

Meet Mary Genki

Reminder: Be sure to also use the workbook to supplement your studies with written content.

Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese, Workbook 2, 2nd Edition (Book & CD-ROM) (English and Japanese Edition)

The combination of Genki 1 and Genki 2 are the ultimate Japanese books for beginners.


James: Heisig Remembering The Kanji

Target Audience: Elementary II –  Any Level

Method: Mnemonics, Kanji Memorization, Radical Memorization

Place Most Likely To Be Used: Independently, or alongside a kanji software such as WaniKani

What Heisig Remembering The Kanji Will Do For You: Upon completion, you will have memorized nearly 2,500 kanji’s English meaning, their radicals and have a creative story for each of them.

Recommendations While Using Heisig Remembering The Kanji: Since the book only teaches the English equivalent of the kanji, you want an alternative source of knowledge. If you plan to finish memorizing all 2,500+ basic kanji its recommended that you find a route that also allows you to memorize the kanji’s onyomi, kunyomi and gives you some vocabulary in context. The Kanji Study app is a great reference for that purpose.

The Crazy Kanji Rollercoaster

The Kanji Rollercoaster- An Epic Journey

If you’ve ever studied Japanese before you know exactly why that headliner caught your eye. Learning kanji is an entirely different process altogether than learning Japanese. That probably sounds strange because kanji is a part of the Japanese language, but there is a good reason for that statement. I finally decided to stop dicking around with my kanji studies in 2017, this would’ve been my third year of Japanese language studies. Yes, I put kanji off for three entire years! I certainly do regret it, because I am so much further behind than I should be in terms of literacy. In Japan, in order to be considered literate, you need to have knowledge of approximately 2000 basic kanji characters. Naturally, native Japanese speakers have a higher capacity of kanji – think about how many words you know in your native language (you probably can’t because you haven’t been counting), that’s how many kanji characters there are in existence.

The Great Ascent Up The Kanji Rollercoaster

Heisig Holds My Hand

The very first thing I turned to when I started to learn kanji was a book focused on mnemonics. It was James Heisig (Remembering the Kanji), and this book was a priceless resource (until I lent it out in college and never got it back, but that’s a different story). The book consists of all 2000 basic kanji characters plus a couple more, each with their own little unique mnemonic to help the reader visualize, memorize and internalize the kanji. The downside to this book was that it only gave you the English meaning of the kanji. So I ended up “knowing” about 800 English meanings of kanji (newsflash – I never finished all of 2000). It was still incredibly helpful though and revolutionized my approach to learning kanji.

Climbing The Kanji Coaster

WaniKani Helps Me Get To The Top

After my pleasant experience with (Remembering the Kanji), I began searching for similar resources with the same approach behind them, mnemonics. Suddenly, I came across a blog by the name of Tofugu. Just so we’re clear if you study Japanese and you haven’t heard of Tofugu you’ve been living under a boulder *clears throat* pardon me, a rock in the words of Spongebob. Tofugu is like THE Japan/Japanese blog, and it is packed to the brim with useful resources, tips and strategies for all things Japan. One of their resources was an online software program Wanikani. Which translates into crab alligator in Japanese, I thought “Wow, this is kind of crazy… I like it.”. Wanikani promises any serious learner that it is possible to learn all 2000 kanji, their readings and 6500 vocabularies in a span of a year using their platform. For those of you who know me, you know I like results, but you also know that I can be very lazy. I went into this program and 1 year 6 months later I’ve yet to complete it, however, I’m almost halfway done at level 27 out of 60, 950 kanji and 3200 vocabularies. You know when you think you know something, but then get exposed to something completely new in that area and then realize that you knew nothing? That’s kanji in a nutshell.
Wanikani Dashboard

Trying To Come Off The Kanji Coaster

Whose Helping Me Get Down?

Well, you don’t ever come off the kanji coaster, you’ll be on it for the rest of your natural life…at least I know I will. Kanji is such a beautiful yet complex structure of language, it’s so hard to leave it alone once you’ve started. And god forbid that you do leave it, it’ll hurt you much more than you hurt it – like a bad breakup. Our memory loves to recycle junk, so to be sure that kanji doesn’t end up as junk you just have to keep exposing yourself to it. Eventually, your brain will say “Hey I kind of need this, and that, oh and I can’t forget these other 2000 over here.”
Another great program that’s really assisted me with the descent down is a software called Glossika. Its mainly focused on audio repetition, but its always a great feeling when you can read the sentence in Japanese before the audio is voiced.
Netflix, of course, is in its own league when it comes to kanji. If you’ve never tried buying a VPN, setting it to Japan and binge-watching your favourite shows with Japanese subtitles, are you really living?

Personal Goals

Currently, I’m attempting to stuff down at least 500 more before its time for the JLPT 2 in December 2018. Apparently, I’m not that far off from knowing the kanji required and I’m actually blazing through my Wanikani levels. With the right diet, mindset and stress balls I think its quite possible. Let me know some of your goals in the comments!

Top 10 Must See Attractions In Africa

Top 10 Must Sees In Africa

Many people have made up their minds to visit all the continents in the world during their lifetime. A lot of people have plans to visit Africa on their next vacation but have no idea on where to visit. This article provides information on the top 10 most see landmarks in Africa.

Africa is the second largest continent in the world, it also doubles as the second most populated continent in the world. Known to be one of the poorest continents in the world hasn’t affected the continent from making some breathtaking most see landmarks. Africa has been underrated in terms of choosing a place for vacation. The world-class museums, parks, natural tourist centres have put Africa on the same level as other continents in terms of the quality of fun you get while you are in Africa. If you are a lover of adventure. You should consider going to some of these places.

Here are the top 10 most see landmarks in Africa.

1) The pyramids of Giza in Egypt

The pyramid of Giza, this is one of the seven wonders of the world. The oldest and only one remaining of the seven wonders. Located in Giza which is outskirt of Cairo, the capital city of Egypt. This beautiful site has 6 pyramids to its name. This is one the most loved places for tourist that visit Egypt. You can’t go to Egypt and not go to see the pyramids.

Pyramids of giza in africa

2) Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Lake Nakuru is close to Nakuru town. “Nakuru” which means *dusty place” in Maasai, which is one of the popular languages in Kenya. The beautiful Lake Nakuru has a lot of algae gathered around it t, which is one of the things that attract the flamingos. The lake is about 6 feet deep, the lake is also about 1754m above sea level. This is one of the amazing landmarks to visit, with the amazing view of wildlife most especially the pink flamingos.

Lake Nakuru in Kenya - Flamingos

3) Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

This is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. The water that flows through this fall comes from Africa’s largest river – Zambezi river. The Zambezi borders Zimbabwe and Zambia though it is more visible from Zimbabwe. This waterfall was named after a town in Zimbabwe. Over a million people visit this place annually.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

4) Mount Sinai, Egypt

This is one of the mountains found in the holy books. This mount is also called Mount of Moses, Mount Horeb or Gabal Musa. This is a must-see for religious folks. This is the mountain where the 10 commandments were given to Moses as recorded in the Holy books. A visit to this mountain will make you feel an inch closer to God.

Mount Sinai Egypt

5) Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Africa’s tallest mountain, not many can boast that they have been here. The mountain is 4,900 meters from the base level. It has 3 cones – Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. It takes about 6-7 days to get to the top of this mountain. This is a must see place for adventure lovers.

Mount Kilimanjiro

6) Obudu cattle Resort, Nigeria

Located in Obudu plateau in Cross River state, Nigeria. This place was discovered in the mid-1950s. This resort is also close to the Cameroon border. The Obudu mountain is about 1,600m high. The resort also has a beautiful ranch. A visit to Obudu is a visit to nature.

Obudu Cattle Resort

7)Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Also known as “Africa’s Garden of Eden”. This is one of the most breathtaking placed you would ever visit in Africa. It is believed that over 3 million years ago there was a volcanic eruption in this place which later created a cone in the volcanic caldera. The volcanic crater forms a beautiful backdrop to the fertile lands around it.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area- The creation crator

8) River Nile, Egypt

This is known to be one of the longest rivers in the world. It is about 6,853km long. Cruises are offered around Cairo and Luxor which are cites around this river. The river has so many creatures in it, ranging from hippocampus, baboons and many species of birds. Most historical site in Egypt is close to this river.

The River Nile In Egypt

9) Lion Park, South Africa

Located in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you need to see a lot of wildlife, this park is the place to see. This has amazing wildlife, you get to see the likes of white lions, cheetahs, Gemsbok, giraffes, zebras and many more.

Lion Park In South Africa

10) Serengeti National park, Tanzania

Located in Mara and Simiyu in Tanzania. About a million wildebeest move yearly from Ngorongoro reserve in the month of January and get to Serengeti around June. They move to Masai Mara in Kenya around September then, they return to their starting point. A visit to Serengeti around June would be a great idea to see the wildebeest migrate from one region to another.

Serengeti National Park
A rainstorm pours over the Serengeti in the distance.

 


Fodor’s Essential South Africa: with The Best Safari Destinations (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Madagascar (Travel Guide)

Top 10 Cape Town & the Winelands (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide)

An Overview Of India’s Caste System

History of India’s Caste System

The caste system in India is one of the oldest forms of social structures. Its roots can be traced to nearly 2000 years ago. Manu Smriti a book regarded as an authority of Hindi law justifies this system as a need to maintain order and regularity in the society. Originally caste system was created for the division of labour but soon it began hereditary and rigid.

Origin and Structure of The Caste System

The four different groups are

  1. Brahmins: They consist of teachers and intellectuals.
  2. Kshatriyas: They are the warriors and rulers.
  3. Vaishyas: They are traders and businessmen.
  4. Shudras: They are the people who did menial jobs and served the other three castes.Structure of The Caste System

The exact origin of the caste system is not known but in Hindu religion, it is believed that it originated from Brahma, Hindu God of creation. Accordingly, it is believed that Brahmins originated from the forehead, Kshatriyas from the hands, Vaishyas from the thighs and Shudras from the feet of Brahma.

Later more castes and sub-castes developed. Outside the caste system were the Dalits or untouchables. They were considered impure and mere contact with them caused contamination. They could not eat with others or visit temples and pray with others. They could not draw water from the well used by higher castes. Even their shadow could not fall on any member of the upper caste.

Features of the caste system

Divisions of society and hierarchy

Each caste had its own social group and lived in segregated colonies. A strict hierarchy was maintained in places of interaction. Caste and occupation were hereditary. Members of each caste had a particular name which referred to their caste or profession.

Marriage

Endogamy or marriage within members of the caste was strictly followed. Violations could lead to ostracism and loss of caste.

Food

The Caste system had rigid rules when it came to food. Members of higher castes would not accept food or water from members of lower castes. Even vessels were separate. Food cooked by Brahmins could be eaten by all. Cleanliness and purity were given highest importance and wells were separate.

The caste system led to the exploitation of lower castes by the higher castes.

The caste system in India today

Despite the passage of time and rule by Muslim and British, caste system continues. Even people who convert to Islam or Christianity continue to hold their hierarchy. The Indian Constitution has banned caste discrimination. Quotas for the lower castes; and Scheduled Castes & Tribes in government jobs and educational institutions are being given to removing disparity.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Leaders like Gandhi worked hard to abolish untouchability. Leaders from lower castes have also been successful in abolishing this system. Dr Ambedkar a renowned social reformer and KR Narayan first Dalit President of India are few examples.

Urbanization has helped to remove social grouping. Inter-caste marriages and intermingling in schools and residential areas have increased.

However, the caste system has raised its ugly head politically. Electoral voting tends to be caste based. This is creating division in society and politicians should avoid fanning these flames.