Posted by: joyoffengshui | January 7, 2015

Sho Chiku Bai, Steadfastness, Perseverance & Resilience Feng Shui

IMG_3286The year 2015 is well underway here in Los Angeles, and in our home.
This year my husband, daughter and I are busy clearing, giving away, tidying up our home, and we are fortunate to have an abundance of pine and bamboo surrounding us in our yard. I just need to find some plum to add resilience to our lives.

Good feng shui begins with the person. At the center of the bagua – the template used to measure an auspicious home or business – is the earth element, and the intention is good health. If you are healthy, you can meditate, you can work hard, and you can find out if you are on the right path. You don’t need a psychic to help you, because you can find the answers yourself. But you need to be healthy – so this means seeing a physician at least once a year, eating healthy foods, including one fresh local fruit a day, and listening to your body so you can take care of yourself if there is a blockage.

Next I believe you need good feng shui – you need to examine your home and office to make sure your environment is clear and does not represent blockages that can keep you from moving forward positively. You can hire a consultant, or follow the template from the form school or compass school. Or you can take it one step further, following the template from the Black Hat Sect Tantric Buddhist school, and use mundane and transcendental cures to make change.

The new year begins because the environment has changed due to the influences of the universe, the sun and the moon. We are in the yin cycle, the month of January, when the days are still short, it is cooler, and there is less sun. We should look at this as a new beginning, and start with looking at ourselves. I highly recommend taking advantage of this time to be still, to do exercises to strengthen and energize your body, and to learn balance in all facets of your life – this can include doing meditation, qi gong, and tai chi.

Then before the Chinese new year – the solar new year on February 4 and the lunar New Year on February 19, make sure your home and business are tidy and prepared to offer support to you as you make way to fulfill your intentions.

I am here to help – and it will make a difference. Happy New Year 2015, the Year of the Sheep.

In gratitude, Janet Mitsui Brown,

Posted by: joyoffengshui | December 15, 2014

Symbols of Hope in December


I’m a Buddhist and I happen to belong to two Temples in Los Angeles. At one Temple I happened to see a most beautiful leaf on the ground and I picked it up. I thought it was gingko biloba at first, but later I found out it was a leaf from the peepal tree – a species of the Banyan fig, or what is now known as the Bodhi tree.

I dried the leaf, thinking its beauty made it special, and I have it on our side board, right in front of our Buddha in meditation. Then I happened to notice the date was December 8th – the Buddhist holiday commemorating the day Buddha achieved enlightment – or Bodhi in Sanskrit.

Siddhartha Gautama, the young Buddha (the name for enlightened one, a name Siddhartha Gautama achieved at age 35) realized that enlightment was to be found through meditation, and so he meditated in Bodhl Gaya, India, under the famous Bodhi Tree.

The leaf is a symbol of the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the person who became Buddha. And serendipitously on December 8 there it was.

And then – in front of our house, in a fountain my husband made for me is a stone that says “wish” – it’s a small stone that lights up at night and it sits in front of another Buddha. Well, last night was stormy here in Los Angeles, and palm leaves fell on lawns, plants overturned, and trees fell. But I noticed the “wish” stone did not move. Its sitting right there, perched on a rock in front of our Buddha.

In recognizing these two incidents I know I’m on the right path, and it happened in December, a special month. December may be yin with its dark, short days, but there is hope in its symbols if you look hard enough.

In gratitude, Janet Mitsui Brown, http://www.thejoyoffengshui.comIMG_3248

Posted by: joyoffengshui | July 16, 2014

Celebrating Life With Feng Shui

Mid July, this is a yang time of year here in Los Angeles – lots of sunshine, long daylight hours, and the best of all, weekend Obon festivals.   The Obon festival in Southern California is a traditional gathering, almost every weekend at a different venue, usually on the grounds of a Buddhist temple, to express respect & gratitude to the spirits of our ancestors.

There is a service, honoring those who have departed – and then there are dances – we call it a gathering of joy — everyone joins together in a ring or circle, doing traditional folk dances expressing joy, being alive together, at this moment.

To fuel the dancers there is wonderful traditional street food – teriyaki chicken plates, hot corn on the cob, sushi plates, and Japanese noodles called udon. On a warm summer night, eating homemade delicacies, and then dancing at dusk, it is a memorable experience — a true gathering of joyfulness.

Appreciating this happy moment is important because life is transitory – and it will change as the yang/yin t’ai chi cycle indicates. The warm summer days will end and transition to cooler fall days, and then the days will be shorter and cooler, and winter will prevail in the yin dark cycle – (but bringing balance with holiday celebrations).

Then, as the t’ai chi circle indicates, spring will arrive, the light in each day will lengthen, and the circle will be complete – and it will be summer once again.

During this 2014 yang summer, there have already been life passings in my circle – and though we celebrate life, we experience the passing of life with sadness. Fortunately we celebrate Obon, to remember the spirit and respect the souls of those who have gone before us. Yang to yin and back again to yang…

This is what feng shui is about – remembering the cycles, enjoying both yang and yin moments.

…And then, a final thought…life is in continuous transition – so this means you and your environment are constantly changing…so your feng shui changes too. Its wise to be aware of these changes and make adjustments accordingly. If you feel an occasional imbalance, remember your personal chi (qi) or feng shui might need adjusting.

In harmony and balance, and in gratitude, Janet Mitsui Brown,




Posted by: joyoffengshui | June 30, 2014

Feng Shui in Hanoi Day One & Two

The first evening after catching up with our daughter in Hanoi we retired for much needed rest. A wonderful shower after an extended journey is refreshing – but with a time difference of plus 14 hours I woke up at 3:00am and could not get back to sleep, so I meditated – a good use of time.

At 6:00am I prepared for the day. Breakfast begins service at 7:00am…the Vietnamese rise early because of the heat, and try to get work done in the morning. At 12 noon it is very warm due to the humidity, so most take naps from 12 to 2:00 and then resume work around 3:00.

The hotel offered Western and Vietnamese breakfast. Fresh fruit – pineapple, mango, dragon fruit in abundance, orange juice, tea…and a breakfast made to order, of one’s choice. I began with the western breakfast – eggs, toast and fruit, and was not disappointed.   We met other Fulbrights who were departing to different locales –   the 2013-2014 Fulbright session was over, and everyone wanted to take advantage of travel opportunities in Southeast Asia before making the journey home.

After breakfast, daughter set us up with a local tour group that assigns young students to tour foreigners to enhance their English or language skills called Hanoi Free Tour Guides. We were assigned two lovely young ladies, Hoai Phuong Pham and Hao Phung, who showed us the Temple of Literature in Hanoi – the temple of Confucius in Hanoi, and Vietnam’s first national university.   We walked through five courtyards, and lit incense to give thanks for this moving educational expedition.

It was a warm day and we broke for lunch at Koto Cafe, a restaurant that serves as a platform for Vietnamese disadvantaged young trainees practicing hospitality service & culinary arts.  KOTO stands for “Know One, Teach One” – as a social enterprise it has trained over 400 students. The food was a welcome oasis, and the chosen Vietnamese fare – vegetables, fish, chicken, noodles – was precisely cooked and the hospitality was friendly & professional. KOTO does a superb job.

Food and meals were to be a highlight of our visit to Vietnam. Our family enjoys well-prepared food – especially fresh fruits and vegetables – prepared precisely, with flair, and we were not disappointed. The Vietnamese meals we enjoyed were amazing, and it was a privilege to have the opportunity to enjoy this exceptional cuisine.  And just a note – the Vienamese do enjoy different forms of protein – I refrained from tasting foods I was not used to, as it doesn’t suit my palate, but its something I respect of the culture.

That evening our daughter took us to a contemporary Vietnamese coffee house L’Usine, where we discovered tasty salads and a spectacular authentic banh mi sandwich. Attached to it is a fun boutique.   The Vietnamese use fresh produce daily (it is a must), and there is freshly baked light but crispy French bread, an influence from the early French colonialists. Good food is important to one’s balance and health – and enjoying it indicates feng shui wealth & prosperity.   We ate & drank to that!

Breakfast in Hanoi

Breakfast in Hanoi


In gratitude, Janet Mitsui Brown,


Posted by: joyoffengshui | June 25, 2014

Feng Shui in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hi there…I know it’s been awhile…

I have been spending time in Vietnam with my husband, reuniting with my daughter, who was a Fulbright scholar in the town of Thai Nguyen, two hours north of Hanoi, Vietnam. Besides re-discovering Vietnam with our daughter, I was eager to learn more about feng shui in Vietnam and Cambodia.

We flew to Hanoi, and daughter met us at the airport the final day in May – a tearful happy reunion after a year of separation.

Basking in joy, we were driven to our hotel. This was the same hotel my daughter was based at during her meetings with Fulbright and the US Embassy. Jetlagged, we rested here– even though it was evening, it was muggy and warm, and the Hanoi humidity took some getting used to– but we are with our daughter and this is an adventure, so it didn’t matter.

We met the staff that cared for our daughter the past year in the lobby as we checked in. Welcoming us was a picture of the Fulbright group 2014 – who stayed at the hotel for the duration of their contracts.

The lobby was air-conditioned but the hallway was not and the humidity fogged my glasses when we left the lobby. We entered our assigned hotel room and placed the key card in the designated pocket by the door, and the electricity was connected – and so was the air conditioner. There was a welcome note and a bouquet of lilies that sweetened our entrance. It was the first day of our visit to Hanoi — a joyful moment.

The room was organized well, and the furniture was welcoming. I was told that fortunetellers are important here for interior positioning, and the furniture was positioned for good health and prosperity during our stay. Directions, space patterns, and shapes are important appropriately and the Hanoi Rising Dragon Hotel heeded these instructions. Welcome to Hanoi!

A view of Old Quarter Hanoi

A view of Old Quarter Hanoi

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