We have known Brandy for about a year now. A creative and cool renaissance woman with a talent for making sustainable art, Brandy currently lives in Osaka with her husband (he’s vegan, too) and is loving the Kansai area. We hope you enjoy getting to know her better!
Tell us about yourself, Brandy.
I’m Brandy, a British-American and I’ve been living in Japan for about two and a half years. I design and make clothes using reclaimed materials such as vintage and deadstock(@rrreceremony on instagram). Sometimes I teach mending workshops in person, or you can learn how to fix your clothes or other things via my YouTube channel (RRReceremony).
Vegan life in Japan
I went vegetarian in 2008 and decided to go vegan about seven years ago. Starting out in Japan was a little tricky as I lived in a city that had no restaurants that even had vegan options. The only thing I could eat out was fries or edamame. Plus I couldn’t read kanji super well yet so things that were actually vegan but had emulsifier(乳化剤) in it, looked like milk to me. I lost a lot of weight but after learning more Japanese and meeting my Japanese husband I quickly discovered there was so much more I could eat! I love how much variety of tofu(including mock meat, desserts, and soy cheeses) you can find in supermarkets. I also love accidentally vegan desserts like certain daifuku, zenzai, or taiyaki.
Do you have a favourite vegan recipe with ingredients you can find fairly readily in Japan?
Awhile back I actually bought a Vegan-Japanese cookbook in London which is really useful as despite the fact it’s been written and sold in England it has lots of native-Japanese vegetables and ingredients in the cookbook. It’s called the enlightened kitchen. There’s also a good YouTube channel with recipes: Ali’s Japanese Recipes for Vegans.
My favourite vegan-Japanese recipe to make at home is probably an unagi style donburi, I cover tofu with nori, coat it with a potato starch batter, and fry it to replace the eel. Then we make a sauce with soy sauce, mirin, and a little bit of maple syrup, put it all on top of rice and we like to add avocado for fun.
Who are your favourite vegan accounts on Instagram?
My all time fave is: yesitsallvegan. Most of her posts are in London but she does travel sometimes, regardless I love her content and it at least serves as food inspiration since I’m so far away. I also like BOSH tv as their videos are really easy to follow, however the ingredients aren’t always available here(puff pastry!). In Japan I like @veganmama.u, @meg_vegan, @_trick_or_treats_, and @veganinkyoto. I also started my own: @reallyveganosaka because I felt it was lacking in Osaka!
What’s your favourite vegan restaurant, cafe or brand in Japan?
This is so hard to answer! My favourite restaurant is probably Base Island Kitchen(Osaka) which is an omni-restaurant but the owner is so knowledgeable and experimental towards vegan food. They always produce delicious and exciting menus. But if I were to pick a totally vegan placebo Osaka I would choose Neu Cat Cafe as they rescue cats, allow adoption, and have a really amazing cafe upstairs. In Tokyo I love the Hemp Cafe bear Ebisu, it’s seriously good.
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