By Lauren Allen
Yoshi Wada, 68, describes life as a constant and flowing work in progress. Between his sustainable lifestyle and his active pursuit of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Yoshi believes heavily in the idea that action cures everything; no action, no cure, no healing.
As I drive up Yoshi’s driveway, I am mesmerized by the whimsical branch fences that line my path to his home. I get out of the car and immediately feel a child like sense of excitement, and I begin to explore the vision of a home that he had created. Behind me is his dojo, where he pursues his passion of martial arts and is able to share it with his community. To the left of that is a rust red kiln and a pottery studio owned by a woman whom he shares the property with.
I then walk down the path surrounded by fruit trees to find Yoshi feeding cabbage to his pigs, chickens, and tortoise. A neighbor accompanied by her dog approaches and introduces herself to me; she has a box of lettuce and corn to feed the pigs in one hand and is shaking mine with the other. She is an herbalist and lives just at the end of the street.
Yoshi’s home is open and unique, with sourdough rising in the corner of the kitchen and his homemade ginger sauce sitting on the table. I proceed to walk onto the deck and am pleasantly surprised by a pizza oven, sauna, and outdoor shower (which I found out later were all built by Yoshi). After watering his fruit trees, Yoshi and his nervous smiling face join me so I can learn more about the haven he has created for himself.
Yoshi moved to California in 1978 and began to pursue a career in alternative and holistic medicine. For 20 years he learned and performed acupuncture and chiropractics until he came to the realization that those means of healing are solely “a good band-aid”. Yoshi is interested in healing, not pain relief.
Yoshi lead an unhealthy life until he was 21. He illustrates his pre-adolescent life as a constant battle with headaches, stiffness, fatigue, allergies, indigestion, and paleness. He would carry a bottle of pain pills in his pocket and self medicate whenever necessary. Things took a turn when Yoshi, giggling as he spoke, expressed his gratitude toward Bruce Lee for giving Yoshi the inspiration he needed.
“I can do that too”, Yoshi expressed with a light in his eyes as he proceeded to share with me about the martial arts temple he joined in curiosity of his exciting new passion. “I began stretching for hour and hours, and after four or five months, the headaches were gone, my stiffness was gone”, Yoshi expressed as he touched his hand to his toes with ease.
Yoshi removed himself from his acupuncture and chiropractic profession. He stopped taking pills. He came to a deep understanding of the people he was treating. “They are missing the most important process”, the important process that Yoshi describes is action. His clients would depend on medicine too much, but in order to truly heal, Yoshi expressed, one has to force oneself to improve.
Yoshi’s center of focus had completely changed. He now pursues what he loves and what excites him. Martial arts are a daily practice for Yoshi, pizza parties are a weekly occurrence with Yoshi and his friends, Yoshi works on different projects around his property everyday, he nourishes his body and soul with healthy foods.
When I asked Yoshi if he is happy leading the life he lives, he explained that, “I don’t like routine, I wanted excitement and different”. All it took for Yoshi to lead a happy life was to visualize his ideal lifestyle, and to find others that had the same vision. Together, Yoshi and his community made his vision a reality. He finally found the excitement he was looking for, but nevertheless, Yoshi reminded me that “my lifestyle is a constant work in progress”.