When it rains it really, really pours


You'd think that having gone through major surgery, radiation therapy, a burglary, my father's death, and all that kind of thing, my life would be so much easier by now.

But, noooo. It's actually sort of worse. It's now the Attack Of The House.

My kitchen is still in flatpack boxes. The Guy has been sanding and painting the walls, and got the undercoat up, and was getting ready to paint. The cabinets were supposed to go up over the weekend, with the countertop guy coming to measure on Monday, but that's been delayed because...suddenly, all the stuff that we had in storage in Switzerland is being delivered on Monday - because the next possible day would be like a few months from now or something. (We put everything from our old house in storage and became nomads for about a year before finding our current house.) That's a couple of hundred boxes worth of stuff (we didn't keep most of our furniture, thank goodness).

We have to frantically organize stuff here so we have enough room to put the boxes. Then, The Guy has to go back to the kitchen and get the cabs up, while I try to organize the stuff that came from Switzerland.

Did I mention that the rest of the house is also still unpainted, and that our absent construction guy comes back next week to resume work half-undone? We still have to go and pick up the paint tomorrow.

And my surgery wound still hasn't closed, and I'm still feeling so tired all the time?

And my eyes are really, really bothering me? (Nothing wrong with them except apparently some side effects of all the illnesses I've been having, plus I finally seem to be needing reading glasses. Ugh.)

The only 'cooking' I've been doing is boiling water for tea and making ramen and stuff. The Guy has continued to gamely try to make dinner and things (mainly pasta) with one rickety hotplate and a tiny toaster oven, and doing dishes in the bathroom sink (still our only water source) but I think for the next few days we are doing fast food. (Which tends to make me feel really awful, but it'll only be for a few days....hopefully.)

So, all kinds of h*ll and sh*t and other four-letter words are breaking out at the moment. Please bear with me and my lack of updates, yet again. Maybe one day I'll get to experience 'normal life' again. -_0

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Courage Maki !

Hang on in there, Maki San.
It does sound like you are in the "darkest before the dawn" days. I wish I could bring around something nice for you both to nibble on but the only platitudes I can provide are virtual ones. Please accept a big, big ehug from me. You deserve much better than this, I'm so sorry you have to work so hard just to stop yourself losing ground, it isn't fair. I can only hope that your relationship is growing through this, that is one flower bloom you may be able to eventually look back on with true fondness from this time.

Oh my! I hope you get healthy and life begins to settle after the craziness you have planned next week. I miss your smile coming through in your writing. My thoughts are with you, Makiko and your husband. Take care :)

Oh, my! I can't imagine dealing with all the trials you are being given. My thoughts are with you and your husband right now. I hope your get healthy and everything settles quickly after next week. I miss your smile coming through in your writing. Please take care, :) Noe

Yes, life really has a way of pissing on you when you're already down. Wish I could think of something to cheer you up. Big virtual hug from the UK.

I'm not a great crockpot fan but I love my Tefal Intellichef which I normally use as a rice cooker but is also fantastic as a slow cooker. It also fries, steams, boils and bake - all useful while you get the kitchen sorted. Take care.

sigh. You really are WAY overdue to have something go smoothly for you.

Wish you were a teeny bit closer - like my side of the Atlantic - I would happily show up to help organize boxes!

Hang in there!

That sounds like the pits. No wonder you've been doing a bit of swearing. Have a really good swear: it totally helps.

Reading glasses: it comes to most of us eventually. They're not that bad, trust me.

You're still the brilliant blogger and genius cook, and your fans will still be here when you feel better.

Thinking of you.

Oh my, I am so so sorry about all you are going through right now :( It is a lot to deal with and it's totally understandable that you are feeling down. But of course, though it might be hard to believe it now, it will get better and probably much sooner than you expect. Soon you will have a lovely house and you are lucky enough to already have a lovely husband (well I don't know him of course but he sounds totally lovely).
Lots of hugs and good vibes for you!

sending you love and energy

hope things get sorted out soon. at least try to aim for somewhat healthier fast food. remember your health is #1

Aw, Maki. Hang in there. There are many of us praying for you, your health, The Guy, and your home. It'll get better. *hugs*

I second Loretta. Sounds like a real PITA.
That wound doesn't sound good, I hope it's not painful. Thinking of you quite often, sending get well thoughts.

PS. I love your drawings.

May I be honest with you? I am glad I am not the only one going through hell right now. What's that expression, Misery loves company. Most blogs with their photos of morning sunlight streaming through windows; bouquets of flowers in canning jars, and perfectly arranged portraitures of food (usually something topped with a poached egg) piss me off right now. Thanks for keeping it real.



I used cold, controlled anger to take my mind off my condition and therapy. We were in an RV which was hit from behind by an idiot in a laundry delivery truck. We were lucky not to be killed let alone not injured. We were on the road, returning home and cutting very short our annual trip east. The reason? Three of four breast biopsies were positive: return home immediately. Then we were severely rear-ended about a day from home.

I had the breast surgery (twice), then had to wait for some healing before starting radiation. In that interim and into the radiation, I fought with the other guy's insurance company by phone for months and months. It was certainly distracting. And angering. And ultimately successful. I sympathize with you and offer this advice from my own bout.

Your ongoing travail should make you stronger, even in your current weakened state. You have not been knocked down yet, and you've had a series of serious, unusual, aggravating, even uncalled for incidents for a lifetime.

Don't give in to self-pity: get angry! Assert! You've got brains, a wonderful mate, and a love for food that's taken you to instructing us on many wonderful aspects and tastes of Japanese foods. You have fans around the world who CARE about you. How lucky can you be?

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs.

Maki, I am joining the virtual hugs queue. Glad you can come on here and leave some of the 'stuff'. Hope it helps. Also hope it helps knowing we are thinking of you, commiserating, while wishing we could do something practical. In all the disorder I do hope you can make time each day to do something that you love doing, please treat yourself as gently as you would a friend in such circumstances. お大事に

After rain the sun will definitely come!!
Everything will get better soon!!

Keep strong Maki,Please eat and drink well to heal well! Love N.

Poor Maki. I'm really sorry you are still having the eye trouble and everything else. May the tide turn and you return to good health very soon!

I 'third' Loretta. Your house resembles what you are going through in a way - both in transition, waiting for time and others - and both of you will come around and be healed one day soon. What a wonderful hubby you have, too. And a home you will love when it's finished being a challenge.

I think if you lived anywhere near anyone who reads this blog, you'd probably have more volunteer help than you could use. I know I'd sure come over to tetris boxes for you if needed, and I'm just a random lurker on your blogs.

I'm sending some mojo that you will get some sunshine in your life very soon. Take your time and take care of you! :D

My heart bleeds for you.
My own troubles threaten to bury me but are as nothing compared to yours.
I admire your strength and give you more.

You should feel really proud of yourself, Maki. Even amidst all these stressful things, you are able to express yourself in healthy, creative ways that allow you to share your experience with others positively. I for one benefit from your tweets and your blog posts because I can feel the human connection. You truly are an amazing person. A lot of people will tell you that you'll look back on these hellish days and be in awe of your own strength. I wish on a star tonight that you can get a glimps of that understanding right now :)

When we moved to our current home a few year back, through a series of things that were not under our control, we had just 3 weeks to do all the work needed in the new place (and much work was needed - including installing a new roof!) and I also had to pack all our stuff alone with two little kids in the house and my husband away for work. It was hell.
Since 3 weeks obviously weren't enough, we ended up living for a couple of months without any closets in the house and about 3 months with changing parts of the floor missing (tons of sand!) and without a kitchen... we had a fridge and upstairs in one of the rooms we had a microwave and electric kettle. We ate from paper plates because washing many dishes (us and the kids - eating 3 meals a day at home!) in the bathroom was too much for me.
So we went out to eat at least twice a week (not at fast food places, but at decent, inexpensive places) and now and then ordered pizza. And I learned how to make rice and pasta in the microwave, and we ate a lot of frozen vegetables with those rice and pasta.
It was horrible (did I mention it was winter time?) but we survived (every time I see paper plates with the same pattern we used then I feel like running away screaming...) and now have our beautiful home with my wonderful kitchen and a lovely floor (the roof still leaks... working on that, again!).
Dearest Maki, this too shall pass. Don't eat junk food. you need good healthy food to make you stronger and happier. Buy fresh fruits, cheese, bread and good quality prepared food (like vegetable or meat pies & rotisserie chicken) at the markets and eat that.

The only updates that really matter to me now are about YOU. Don't worry about the rest. We love you as a dear friend and we all want you to get well. I just hope things wil go better, a big hug.

Oooh, Maki-san! Sending you hugs! Concur with the above posts. And, thank you for keeping us updated (good, or not so good) -- we all want to be here for you! xoxo from nyc

Awww...hopefully you'll be able to laugh at this one day (though prolly not until many years later)! And you'll have a hell of a story to tell.
Shitty one-hob heating plates are surprisingly good for English hotpots and stews! How about leaving a pot on for hours to cook while you're sorting stuff? Though you'd prolly be the last person in the world to ever need cooking advice...
Best of luck with everything!

Hope you feel better. Please don't rush and make yourself sicker by posting on either websites while your not feeling 100%. I just discovered both websites 3 months ago & love them, so I'm happily going thru all your previous posts. I just wanted to thank you for it.

Oh Maki! It will stop raining and you'll see glimpses of the sun. We also think of you often (you're a household name in our house). The first comment really does say it all!

Sending warm thoughts from Vancouver.

Oh, Maki. I sympathize so much! When you think back on this ten, twenty years from now it will seem so much better.

In the meantime, yes, there are some side effects from chemo that can cause vision changes. And yes, you will need to sleep a lot as your body recovers.

If you were here in the States, I'd have some places for you to visit. But here's some ideas that might help:
-Mindful meditation. Its as little as 5 minutes a day to try and gather a center amongst the chaos. It really does help! I've seen people in treatment go from a mess to being relatively sane, and after treatment, can just help calm as your body recovers. All it is is focusing on your breath.
-Talk to a nutritionist if you can. Your body will have some different needs as it recovers, and then you're going to deal with the whole "instant menopause" thing, and vitamins, herbs, and other supplements can really help.
-You've got a loving spouse so I don't need to suggest that! :-)

Hang in there, Maki. The general rule in the support groups here in the states is that by 3 months, you'll start to feel a little better, by 1 year, you'll be almost there, and by 2 years, you'll feel like a new normal. (These aren't exact of course, just the unscientific experience of the volunteers and folks I've met in and out of treatment participating and working for cancer recovery centers).

Just wanted you to know that I think about you often. I pray that most of these issues will resolve themselves very soon. I know it is such a pain to move and remodel.

I lost my house due to this economy and did a big down size. After a year, I am still trying to get comfortable. As we speak the table (kitchen/dining room) is sitting on its side waiting to be finished. I have waited a year for this event and I do think I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Then it will be on to other projects and I hope they don't take as long.

I enjoy your writing and drawings. Please continue.


Just when you think you've had it, something happens to show you how strong you really are. Cancer treatment is tough and I never thought I would feel normal again. Chemo puts you on your butt, BUT I promise you will feel better. Don't get discouraged, do what you can do and realize your guilt is only coming from within. It will get done sooner or later...and it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme if it takes another month or two or three. You'll look back on these days and think it was only a bad dream...

All I can say is *hugs* and keep strong, lady. We're pulling for you.

I'm relieved that your post had nothing to do with your health, and that you are as well as you've been lately (touch wood).

My suggestion is that If you have a spare bedroom then have the movers fill up the room from the far corner, floor to ceiling, until the room is full or nearly full. You might shut the blinds/curtains before they start. Later you can dig out the room a box at a time. Since this might involve extra effort on the movers part, I'd have currency in your hand when you make the suggestion.

All the best, to you and your Mister!

I just used a (simple, but I love it) recipe from your book and as I read about this current stage of your life, I am struck by the contrast of what your first book is (a high point) and the potholes you are currently navigating around.
Life is beautiful. Life sucks. But it all counts as amazing!

Dear Maki, I recently discovered your website when looking for ways to cook with less oil-I am very overweight indeed.your recipes are a fantastic help,and I really appreciate your lighter touch with food.I am sending you an illuminating beam of goodwill,Maki, a field of healing love from a complete stranger. May you be well,, May you be happy, May your house progress in every way. Sion


I'm so sorry that things are so bad right now. I hope someone--perhaps a friend-- brings you a lovely casserole that nourishes you. Perhaps it is time to ask for some help? I know its tough to do that sometimes-- when I was sick, it was so hard for me to admit I needed the help of my friends and family as I was so determined The Everything was Just Fine. I hope you are not offended. . .just a thought . . .

I'm sending you good vibes, and am hoping things get better.

Yet more warm fuzzies and a hug coming your way.

Your blog helped me get through the death of my mom and the subsequent legal issues. Whenever I need some "haha no aji," I know I can depend on you.

Thank you so much and fighto!

I hope there are things in your boxes you are looking forward to getting! A rice cooker perhaps?

I know what you mean though. Having piles of stuff sitting in the middle of rooms can be oppressive. But, if you get them stacked right, perhaps they can double for furniture!



As we say in my culture: oy! You've had some tsuris - misery - alright,
And I am so very sorry you have to endure it. I want to echo earlier posts & note that fans will stay with you, and it is critical to give yourself a break. Also, if you have community to call on, please do ask - I know it's hard for me to ask, but when friends are in distress having something concrete and specific I can do for them is always such a relief for me - there is so much I can't do, but I can unpack a box. Do a load of laundry, make a healthy meal. Take care of yourself, and let others take care of you too..

sending much virtual hugs. Your internet fans, including me! care about you, and are glad to hear from you. Make sure you take care of yourself, okay?

I have only just begun reading you blogs and they are life savers for poor college student like myself. Even though I have literally just begun reading, I have o much respect and love for you and what you do for anyone who is in a bad enough economic situation and can't seem to eat right. All this you do with nothing but well wishes and sympathy over the internet. I wish I could come and visit and help you paint and cook and take care of your wound. You have an aura that even the distance of the internet can't cover up. You have my most sincere sympathy and hope. It will all get better soon. I promise. The world needs more people like you who understand struggle and still push to help others. Thank you.

I hope that things in your life start to fall in the right places soon. It's not always rain...That's something to look forward to, right? I hope soon it will be days of sun and beautiful rainbows for you. Take care!

I hope that things in your life start to fall in the right places soon. It's not always rain...That's something to look forward to, right? I hope soon it will be days of sun and beautiful rainbows for you. Take care!

Hang in there and stay strong!
It's a possibility, but not very likely that the house will, indeed, stay unpainted and messy *forever*... Plus, it sounds like you're on the way to get stuff done! It will get done!
Do something nice for yourself in the meantime. It'll help :)

Take care! Every storm will end.

Hello Maki, I am new to your site, and as I started to scroll though it, first off all, I found your sketch really cute and artistic, which led me to read your blog, and secondly, after reading it, made me feel sad for you and your situation and want to tell you that I pray things will get better at your house and most of all that your wound heals soon and you wont be in pain any more. I have saved this site to my computer cause I already like it and look foward to what you have to offer about japanese food, cooking it, and anything else you shear on it.

Thank you,
Josie (^u^)//

Oh man. I'm so sorry to hear about all of your woes :( I hope you feel better soon and your house is back in order quick!

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley

I just found your website and bought your book. Your sketches are incredible - hope you get better soon!

Sending good thoughts your way, Maki! I have dropped by yet again to refer to your sterling bechamel recipe and I so wish I had some brilliant guidance on your situation to offer in return! Please take good care of yourself.

Don't give up! You will prevail. Just take it easy for now.

I just found your blog yesterday, and it's so wonderful! Unpacking SUCKS I'm doing that now still, and my other house just flooded. It sucks, but you can get through it!! Hang in there Maki-san! Once it's all complete you can stand in your newly re-done house and breathe deep and think only of what masterpiece you are going to cook next! My husband is so excited to try all the recipes I found on your site! ありがとうございます! 頑張って!

Hello maki:

Just read this page which I have not seen before....I assume the house you are fixing up is the one in France...

Sounds like you still need lots of down and quiet time for healing and recovery !! Sending you best wishes for better health and energy !!!

With love
Twanya Schmidt
Freeport NY

I'm late on this, but wishing you all the best! If you were closer, I would be so happy to share my food or my kitchen with you! Alas, I am in the USA, so all I can send is my good wishes for tranquility, health, and an eventual respite from all of the "rain"!

I've been following your blog for a couple years, but I've never commented-
What you need to do is REST! Is it possible to hire some locals (there are always people starving for work) to move your things into a portable storage device (I think there's a company called POD or something- it's like a storage shed, but it's temporary and they bring it and pick it up). I'm so sorry for your hardship, please take care <3

hi, I felt the need to comment. MANY of my family were cancer patients, none of them were obese or even remotely overweight, their daily stressful life probably triggered it. some survived some didn't. my aunt left us last year because of that, she was in her early 60s so we didn't want to give her the "you should go on a diet" nonsense, she just ate whatever she wanted until she left.

I kinda know what you're going through. cheer up and look at the bright side.

Dear Maki,

I really enjoy your justhungry and justbento blogs, and I check them frequently because I love to hear updates from you. I feel like I get to know a lot about you through your blog, not just your food interests, and I have to comment on this one, because I am just so happy that you haven't had to post something like this in a while! I am glad you do share these things, don't get me wrong, but I just wanted you to know that I am happy for you that things seem to be going better in your life these days, and I hope you are well. Thank you so much for sharing your love of bento, and food in general, and a little bit of yourself with us, your readers.

Maki-san - You have incredible courage, stamina and energy to have pushed through so many life difficulties and challenges recently. May your path ahead be with the wind at your back and a smile on your face.

I totally understand how you feel. When we moved into our current home, we had a roof leak so we put all of our furniture in our storage shed. There was a hurricane in our area which blew the roof off the storage shed which destroyed all our furniture. It's a good thing our neighbor told us about this site: http://howtobuildashedi.org/ which enabled us to build a new shed to replace the old one. However, we still had to buy new furniture. :(

Hi Maki,
I have following your Just Hungry and using your recipes for over a year now. Everything I make has been very good. Even my Japanese Daughter-in-law likes the things I cook for her.
I am so sorry for the cancer and treatments you are going through.
Just know that there is someone in Texas who has you in her thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.