Year of Fire Monkey


Lunar New Year has come at Feb 8th – the Year of Fire Monkey, many celebrations hosted around the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese American communities.  BALL Partners like to remind everyone – having fun with families, but not overdoing with holiday food, and continue to exercise during the holidays.

1) Keep the focus on fun, not food.
Indulge in only the most special holiday treats. For example in the Chinese new year eve dinner, the dumpling is the most special dish, and when families prepare the dumplings, they will hind the couple coins in the dumplings, who gets to bite on the coins, who will have the best luck at coming year.  It’s fun to eat the dumplings to find the coins, but keep in mind not overdoing it.
2) Staying physically active during the holidays.
A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year.  The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.
3) Toast the new year with just one glass of bubbly.
Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass by.
4) Continue on with your new year’s resolutions!
Whether it is your goal to become healthier, achieve a career goal, finish your education, or simply training to run a 5K marathon, believe in yourself that you can do it! It is much easier to follow through by planning and taking small steps throughout your entire year. (Suggesting having a planner would be helpful and motivate you to do something everyday!) Don’t try to go cold turkey on anything and try to slowly cut back on certain things or improve on other aspects of your life. Every little effort will count in the long run!
5) Pack up and go discover the world!
The new year represents new opportunities for everyone. Possibly a trip to a place you always wanted to visit? Plan it, save up, book it, and make sure to have your passport done a few months prior to your departure. (Minnesota now requires all people flying in states and international flights to have a passport so be aware.) Traveling to another place means you’ll get to discover other areas and experience different cultures!

American Heart Month

“February is American Heart Month. Talk to your doctor about #hearthealth” –


Original image belongs to

February is dedicated to sharing the awareness of taking care of our hearts. The path to a healthy lifestyle is always a continuous journey so positive choices you make now will benefit you in the long run. If you don’t know where to start, here are some tips on how to:

  • The easiest place to start is to eat healthier foods. Your food intake has a direct impact on your heart, especially on your cholesterol level. Tip: Avoid drinking sugary or fizzy drinks such as juice and pop. Many American’s are obese because of their diet of high fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Balance your meal! Eating healthier is easier than said so what can try first is to substitute unhealthy food for healthier alternatives. For example, if you like sweet snacks like chocolates, gummies, and such, switch it out with ripe fruits! And it is okay to indulge in your cravings once in a while.
  • Exercise regularly, not extensively. If you try to maintain a exercise schedule with healthy eating, you’ll lose weight more effectively and maintain your health/weight. Doing intense work out one or twice a week is better than doing it often because your body needs time to relax, rebuild, and reenergize.
  • Want to know what kind of fruits & veggies are in the winter season:
    • dates, kale, passion fruit, oranges, turnips, leeks
    • For more info on what’s in season, click here!


Korea: Metal & Flat Chopsticks

Take on glance at Korean chopsticks and you will notice the difference right away. Compared to other Asian countries that uses round chopsticks, Korean chopsticks are flat. And if you were to hold a pair of Korean chopsticks you would feel that it is more heavily weighed. That is because unlike most chopsticks which are made out of wood and bamboo, they are usually made out of metal or stainless steel.

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One theory suggested that silver chopsticks were used because it could detect poison and change color if there was any. This detection would’ve been very important in the royal palace where the king’s food was always inspected. Another theory of the origins of metal chopsticks was the availability of metal in Korea where it was much easier to obtain than wood and bamboo. Deforestation could’ve been another reason why the people turned to using metals. In the end, one can tell that Korea has distinctive chopsticks which they’re known for.


Belongs to rightful owner.

Here are some benefits to using Korean chopsticks:

  • Much more sanitary as they are easier to clean and maintain
  • Reusable and last longer compared to other materials
  • You don’t have to invest in high quality chopsticks as cheap ones are usually good quality
  • Chopsticks are paired with a spoon so it is cost effective


Ways to Create a Healthier Community

There are many issues in the community that needs to be addressed and fixed. But we cannot do that alone as it requires everyone’s active participation. We should make a team effort, to not only educate those in our community, but everyone else in this world.

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Original artwork belong to rightful owner.

“The National League of Cities (NLC) report states that one in three children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and that children aged 2-19 from low-income families are 1.7 times more likely to be obese.” –

Problems like obesity, racism, health inequality, and such will continue to exist. But we can always put effort in positive changes that will help make our world better. Here are a few tips on how to:

  • Listen to one another in a respective manner. Sure, we are all different, but that doesn’t mean we should be close minded to another. That is ignorance and the will to not listen to others only results in anger and frustration. Take the time to listen to your friends, relatives, and those around you. Although you may not agree with others, it is more about broadening your perspective and understanding how or why people think the way they do.
  • Encourage your community to become healthier! Whether it is making healthier choices, buying more to organic produces, reading and researching into what you are purchasing, or anything else, it is a great start to live a healthier lifestyle. You can become motivated by others or become part of someone’s else motivation. So share the healthy lifestyle with everyone you know and on your social media platforms and please do share it @biculturalliving.
  • Be the change you want to see! If no one is fighting for your cause, you can start an organization/club/group for those who may share the same goals as you. It does not have to be a big cause and small goals are more attainable. Such as fundraising for animal causes, health awarenesses, and more!

This Month in Japan | February

Kisaragi is the old Japanese name for February, meaning “wear still more clothes” to protect against cold February winters in Japan.

National Foundation Day is February 11 and is the only national holiday this month. This is the date that Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan, was enthroned as documented in the Nihon Shoki(Chronicles of Japan). Today, there are many celebrations and events that occur in February. It is a popular month to play in and enjoy the beauty of snow!” – Rightful owner

Listed down below are other events that occurs throughout Japan!

  • Setsubun (Feb 3) is thought to be the day before spring. During this period, people will visit shrines and pray for evil spirits to go away either by throwing beans outside of their house or by visiting shrines. And people eat roasted soybeans to bring in good luck and some believes it will bring in extra years of living.


  • Sapporo Snow Festival is held seven days in early Feb and features amazing snow statues. It is a popular attraction for people to attend because of the snow sculptures and the variety of regional foods that surrounds the area.
  • Ashikawa Winter Festival (early Feb) is another event that holds snow sculptures, festival foods, and winter activities. It is hosted in the city of Ashikawa and is another popular attraction, especially for family with children.


  • Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is celebrated for 10 days in early Feb where it features lanterns, festive foods, and fun snow sculptures as well! It is located in the western part of Hokkaido and usually occurs on similar days as the Sapporo Snow Festival.
  • Tokyo Marathon (February 28) is an annual marathon event that is hosted in Tokyo and it is one of the biggest marathon that occurs around the world.
  • Japanese Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) is a popular holiday and celebrated throughout Japan with a tradition of girls giving chocolates to the guys.