Monday, January 31, 2005

sniffer shot


have you ever wondered where your dog goes when you are at work all day? or out late at night? have you ever wondered what your dog looks at? sniffs? licks? digs? if so, you need the world's first doggie camera. tomy, has created a remote controlled or timer set camera that can be hung around your dog's neck. with a 8 MB memory installed, you can save up to 90 images.
A cute idea, especially if you are into bones, holes and others dog's bums. ???

(wonderful shot, tomy, 9240 yen)

on order for bella

Friday, January 28, 2005

happy birthday mummy (jan 28)

hope you have a lovely day!

love you

Thursday, January 27, 2005

up ya nose with a rubber hose


anyone allergic to dust, really should not be thinking of making their home in tokyo. the city is thick with it and house dust can be a major problem.  there are many products sold that claim to fight the dust, usually with enzymes dressed like mini super heros that attack the ugly sickly dust mite people; with ferocious joy.

but now there is a new product on the market that helps keep the ugly, sickly dust mite people out of your nose. simply rub a layer of this cream on the inside of your nostrils and 'hey presto' a dust free shnoze. (or you could save 1770 yen and just like me have a tokyo flu for most of the year with copious amounts of green snot...that keeps the dust out)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

happy australia day


happy australia day

for those of you who don't know, today is National Australia Day, a day to celebrate what is great about australia.  i was going to write my top ten reasons why 'i still call australia home' ... but instead i'm just going to leave you with the lyrics to the song i and thousands of other aussies will be belting out today...

I've been to cities that never close down

From New York to Rio and old London town

But no matter how far

Or how wide I roam

I still call Australia home.

I'm always travelin'

And I love bein' free

So I keep leavin' the sun and the sea

But my heart lies waiting over the foam

I still call Australia home.

All the sons and daughters spinning 'round the world

Away from their families and friends

Ah, but as the world gets older and colder

It's good to know where your journey ends.

And someday we'll all be together once more

When all the ships come back to the shore

Then I realize something I've always known

I still call Australia home.

No matter how far

Or how wide I roam

I still call Australia home.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

lucky bra stuffing


Triumph International, are set to release a new kind of bra pad this week (January 27). the special bra pads will be known as "Triumph good luck Daruma pads." triumph has blessed these pads, for students who are now preparing for entrance exams and struggling to find a job.  once you wear these pads, you will feel stronger and may be able to get what you want. for the girl who really wants everything, or just some added power and luck, triumph is soon to release matching "good luck panties". the good luck daruma bra pads will be sold on the internet for a limited time, at the affordable price of 1890 yen (a small price to pay for good luck and feeling strong).

a symbol of good luck and protection in japan, a daruma doll is traditionally given to someone starting a new venture, celebrating a birthday, or at the beginning of a New Year. one eye is painted and a wish is made for good luck. the other eye is painted when the goal is reached or the wish comes true.

the daruma is based on an ancient Buddhist monk who, after nine years sitting meditating in a cave, lost the use of his arms and legs. (i don't know about you...but i'm not sure if i want a reminder of a poor, old cripple, stuffed into my bra?? get me feeling kinda weird??)



Saturday, January 22, 2005

tokyo underground

hurrying, scurrying here and there we rarely stop to think about the subterranean design of the city, what  lay underfoot. taking a ride on the toei subway, odeo line one can get the feeling that they are really down in the depths of the city, sometimes an eerie feeling (especially if you get into a conversation with Anna about the sarin gas attacks in the tokyo subway, while click clacking through the confined tunnels).

gwen stephanie sings about the underground malls of harajuku, commuters cram into the underground subway system of tokyo. but there is an underground far deeper than most imagine. far beneath the gucci heels on the footpath, the bon jovi hairstyles and the overworked commuters...there is a space that is rumoured to offer a sense of peace that is unique to the human ear and spirit.


no, this is not a scene from the latest sci-fi blockbuster, this is not a generated image of the future


this is the submerged world beneath the saitama prefecture and extends through the tokyo underground.


this is the g-cans project, a buried structure that works to avoid the city and suburbs going under, during flash flood season. the site is really worth a look. adds another mysterious element to the city.

Friday, January 21, 2005

train trinkets


the hippest accessory for the tokyo trainspotter or daily commuter. a sleek looking yamanote line pin. available at any good junk vending machine.

definitely a practical fashion item...if you forget which stop you are supposed to getting off at, no worries - don your sparkling yamanote line pin, a dashing reminder.

the yamanote line is possibly the most important connecting train circle in tokyo, with trains departing in both directions every two minutes.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

international relations

Psychologists and academics, the world over have long tried to analyse and explore the issues that arise when two people from opposite ends of the cultural spectrum, get together to create a loving bond.

I think you will agree, that it would be difficult to find a more succinct exploration than this one; written by a friend's student...

About my friend's husbands > >I met a friends other day. >Her husbands are the people from Turkey and Muslim. >SocMy friends is Buddhist. >She said " I got married him very happy!" >But , It was said that a meal and prayer were very serious. >Because, He can not eat pork and alcohol. >Therefore , neither she nor pork is eaten and alcohol can not be drunk either. >She loves pork and alcohol!! >Sometimes, she is drinking alcohol secretly to him. >Another is the Koran. She said "A meaning is not understood well". >I heard her talk and considered, Although it was also hard by the same Japanease to live together, >I thought , It is serious to marry the man of different country and relingion. Dsc04393

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

tokyo shock


what are you scared of? for me it used to be spiders, plane crashes and failing. now it is this...

" a 70% chance that a magnitude 7 earthquake will clobber tokyo in the next 30 years"

"39 000 vending machines are expected to be knocked over"  ???

metropolis #563

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

for anna


want to be a forever udon lover.

i am a amateur udon (traditional japanese noodle) lover. under my deep spirit of inquiries the curry udon (udon with curry soup) was born in my kitchen. have been dreamed it must be superficially delicious if curry and udon eaten at home got together with.  foundations or professionals is not the matter in the cooking. mother of the curry udon is the amateur udon lover's creativity and the sensetive tongue. always want to face with udon at the view of amateur. believe a delicious crosses the border.

i am the cooking name udon lover.

Monday, January 17, 2005

venetian blinds...i mean masks


what's happening?

Alejandro Jaimes-Larrarte

Masks and other realities

Carnivale di Venezia

January 15 - February 28, 2005

BICE at Caretta Shiodome 47th floor

This captivating exhibition, created by international photographer Alejandro Jaimes-Larrante, celebrates the carnival of Venice. Showcasing (Alex's) earlier work, set in breathtaking surroundings; this 47th floor restaurant/ art space comes alive with the spirit and mystery of the venetian carnival as captured by the artist.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

wrapped up


buy a hair dye - get a bag full of leftover plastic waste.

at last count japan had a population of 127 333 002. that's alot of people for a little island. an island with a total area of 377,835 sq km.  to put that into perspective, australia currently has a population of approx. 19 913 144, mingling on an island with a total area of 7 686 850 sq km. provided i calculated it correctly, that works out at about 33 people per sq km in japan. in australia, every couple can have there own square km.

anyway enough with the stats (not one of my best subjects), this story is really about the logic behind the excessive product packaging in this country, this tiny little island, this soon to be 'wrapped in plastic' nation.

i am no environmental activitist and could hardly be considered a greenie (although i did keep a greenpeace membership for most of my university life) but i am really concerned about the way extra packaging is pushed and expected, in this country.  it doesn't take much to work out that a high population contained in a small area requires some serious waste management strategies. wouldn't it make environmental and financial sense to cut some of the waste at its source.  in my mind; more people, less space, minimal packaging, is simple logic. ??


Saturday, January 15, 2005

train line tragedy


the japan rail, chuo line, the fastest running train between tokyo and shinjuku station and stretching far out into the western suburbs, has been making a rather gruesome name for itself.  the disturbing rate of death by jumping (in front of the train) has seen many of the stations along this line spring into action, in an attempt to deter this horrific act.

regarding such a serious and important issue, no doubt the discussions, meetings and late nights at the office would have been countless as would have been the bowing, indecisiveness and saliva sucking.  however some innovative and perhaps unheard of ideas have been planned and executed. a seemingly attractive stretch for the depressed, between tachikawa and kunitachi stations, was given a rainbow-bright face lift in an attempt to either a) highlight any lurking activity or b) add some cheer to a seriously down soul contemplating death.  some platforms have replaced their drab grey concrete with fresh white tiles, possibly having a psychological effect on the depressed ??.  the deterant that causes the greatest amount of intrigue is the idea of covering the walls of some platforms with full length mirrors. for the sake of the possible-jumpers and their families, we hope that this measure does not create the opposite to its intended response.  a full length reflection of oneself, feeling worthless, lifeless and on the brink may actually be motivation to finish the job.

we do hope that all measures are effective in helping to alleviate this serious and sad issue, however feel that this social issue requires more than mirrors and rainbows and goes far deeper than asthetics.

as an added blow, the familties of the deceased are suspected to be the ones covering the cost of the tragedy, financially covering clean up, damage, commuter transportation and ticket refunds.

This story from the The Daily Mainichi newspaper gives an indication of the kind of 'inconvience' and financial impact these 'accidents' create.

'Woman Jumps to Death in Front of JR Train

Jan 20, 2000.  TOKYO — A woman killed herself by jumping in front of a JR Chuo Line train in Tokyo on Wednesday morning, temporarily halting service and inconveniencing nearly 90,000 commuters, police said. The unidentified woman, who appeared to be in her 30s, jumped in front of an oncoming rapid-service train bound for Takao at Asagaya Station in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, at around 7:20 a.m. and was killed instantly, according to police. Investigators suspect suicide and are attempting to identify the woman. The train was brought to a standstill for nearly 50 minutes and six other rapid-service trains on the line were canceled. Some 50 local trains were delayed for three to 48 minutes. At one point, more than 1,000 people crammed onto the platform at JR Mitaka Station and police had to be sent in to restore order, investigators said.'

a quick and extremely conservative calculation, would see the families reimbursing approx 20 million yen (about a quarter of a million australian) for ticket refunds alone. that added to the unthinkable pain.

we sure hope the countless meetings, discussions and late nights continue to equal a proactive response to this nasty social issue.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

sweet nirvana

there are very few times in one's life when all the elements come together to create a state of total peace, a state in which the highest and pure love can be felt and offered, a moment of being that slices through all conditional issues and can transcend any pain. many spend their lives searching for this calm. as i write this i feel a sense of sorrow for those of you who have not yet been given the chance to be surrounded by this kind of peace and love. it is not easy to attain, and i too had to travel far and wide in search of it. as with most aspects in life, this kind of abundance shows itself to you when you least expect it and often it a form that you may never have imagined. my awakening came to me in a small plastic wrap, and it wasn't until i read the inscription that i truely knew of its power and could recognise the force of 'okashi'. i guess deep down i always knew it to be the truth, but it took seiyo kyujitsu, to open my eyes and tell me.

for those of you in search of the power and the love, all you need is to get your hands on a hakata seiyo-wagashi.

as the package reads "the spirit of okashi. it is what gives a peaceful and pleasent mind to the human race. all the time man seeks romance in the okashi. we have been working hard and carefully, and work on. to weave the romance and fancy into each okashi. this, at last we have made up 'the hakata seiyo-wagashi' if you taste the feeling and the spirit of the okashi which value true tradition and living in the times, there is no pleasure better than it"

what exactly is okashi??

its a small snack...who would have thought something so small could bring so much greatness?

in another one of those glorious twists...i found not one but two okashis placed upon my desk.  the second, although much more scrumptious than the first, did not claim to offer the same all encompassing pleasure, the package merely reading " please share and enjoy the sweet taste with you jolly good time".






Monday, January 10, 2005

private coffee

there was something about this cafe rich coffee that caught my eye!


while it's easy to make childish jokes about the downstairs department using the english language, i began to realise that i had no knowledge of the japanese terms used for the various parts of the male and female anatomy. it didn't take too much research to find out that there is basically one word, no slang for 'the parts'. it turns out that the 'parts' my tasty beverage may or mat not have included, are referred to as 'tama'. try as i might, i could not dig up any other japanese words, puns or jokes for this region.  but it seems that some of the town and city name givers of this country had only one thing on their mind when they were deciding what to call the various suburbs and stations...'filth, pure filth'. a place i once thought of as a fresh and luscious city now conjures up a very different thought - 'tama' center.  a popular stop along the nambu line is minami 'tama'... minami meaning south and tama meaning, amoung other things...well you know - those thingies. hhhhmmmm very fishy.  i could delve deeper...but might just leave it at that for now!

hits are getting bigger!

what started out as a quiet gathering to celebrate sushi zume's first 500 hits...

soon turned into a raging karaoke fest!





thanks to everyone for an awesome party!


Sunday, January 09, 2005

almost a cafe

the tokyo cafe scene is a brimming, coffee drinkers playground. the ever increasing number of cafes are always crammed with studious customers, chain smokers and shoppers in need of a break.  the popular chains such as starbucks, tullys, doutor and excellsior, as well as the countless independant, chic cafes, offer caffeine hits ranging from 200 to 900 yen.  the sea of cafes are popular destinations and a cuppa is never more than a few minutes walk away.

on the coat tails of this city style, many hybrid cafes have surfaced. the city has seen a number of bookstores, internet services and music stores also taking on a cafe style. 

recently, sushi zume has noticed some 'try-hard' cafes popping up. this umbrella store's name asks shoppers to consider the possibilities, perhaps use their imagination a little. 'Like a cafe?' (isn't it? don't you think? kind of?) oh's like a cafe without coffee, cakes, seats or smokers.

like a cafe?

and as if there wasn't already enough freedom for smokers in this city, smoking-only cafes have been spotted. this cafe, ingeniously named 'smokers' style', gives nicotine lovers the added bonus of dining in a haze of luscious tabacco smoke, while sucking back their tasty durries.

smokers style

robots in disguise

designed by kiyonori kikutake, the sofitel tower in ueno tokyo certainly is a unique structure.

an online tourist advertisement gives their interpretation of the design... "Seen with your eyes, the structure appears to be a stack of five trapeziums. Seen with your mind, it becomes a cross between a Japanese temple and the tree of life"

sushi zume's interpretation... 'seen with your eyes it looks like a big christmas tree (or a really awesome place to own an apartment). Seen with your eyes crossed and head tilted a little to the side it becomes,  Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, and the greatest warrior in the history of the Transformers.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

what are YOU having for lunch?

in tokyo, the importance of stylish appearance and neat presentation is a powerful force.

so much so that even tasty morsels purchased from the local bakery are packaged just as exquisitely as an evening dress or designer piece.

designer bread

what's not so posh about this is the designer bread price, that you get used to paying. this little treat of sandwiches, a mini size half loaf and a small circle of flat bread cost 948 yen. Right now that's about $12 Australian and $9 US 

but who could resist these tiny, bite-size sandwiches? cute huh?

cute sandwich

in a strange and glorious twist...after paying an exorbitant utility bill at the local conbini, the cute girl that works there (and she really is cute - often wonder how one person could be so cheery selling sake, porn and cup noodles) handed me this free, full size (3 pieces) loaf of 'fine aroma' bread.
ain't life grand?

good smell

Friday, January 07, 2005

don't do it!


if you are a foreigner living in tokyo and you are thinking about giving up coffee...


this might happen to you too!

uh oh


Thursday, January 06, 2005

i love tokyo

where else could you buy a pink glitter  80's style powerboard?

Akihabara Tokyo Japan


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

louis louis

to say that many japanese love brand names, would be a shocking and disrespectful understatement! brand obsession appears to be a firmly rooted social norm that spans most age groups, sub cultures and pay packets.

Dior - Omotesando

in a recent street survey, conducted by sushi zume's favourite off line magazine, tokyo graffiti - 100 young japanese women were photographed with their most used accessory - their purse. of the 100 women questioned, 81% showed off a brand name purse-louis vuitton, gucci, prada, dior etc... 100% of these women were aged 20 years or below. many of them stating their occupation as student or 'office lady'.

tokyo graffiti vol 1

it appears that young or old, rich or not so rich, everyone wants a piece of louis!

louis vuitton omotesando tokyo

** sushi zume strongly believes that this brand brainwash requires some serious unpacking! stay tuned to read about sushi taking it to the streets, asking "why? why? why?" and "how on earth do you afford one of those?"

environmentally peaceful

paper cranes hang on a peace memorial in ueno park.each crane, recycled japanese junk mail

new meaning to the term 'greenpeace'
origami crane - ueno

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

beware of the alien stalker

at precisely 4:30 pm, each afternoon, a musical melody sounds through the streets of tachikawa, tokyo. much like the tune an icecream van would belt out to alert kids it was time to whip out their pocket money.  for many months i thought that's exactly what is was and often wondered what a tokyo ice cream van would look like.  i visualised some hip harajuku punk serving elaborately decorated soft serve from a hot pink, bedazzled van. but something didn't add up when i continued to hear what i thought was an ice cream van cruising the streets at 4:30pm on frosty winter afternoons, thought it a little strange, didn't seem to make good business sense, but also figured...'this IS tokyo'.

i had questioned some friends about the melody but no one really seemed to know what i was talking about. when 4:30pm approached and i heard the ice cream van, i launched to my feet pointing out to the street "that noise, hear it? that's the noise i've been telling you about! what is it?" barely looking up from his magazine zume replied "all kids have to go home". still confused i again questioned "no, that sound, like a song, is it an ice cream truck?" this time looking at me like I was the weird one zume repeated "it's time for all kids to go home. when they hear that noise it means it's getting late and it's time to go homely safely. they have to be careful"

oh of course, silly me, why didn't i know that?? makes perfect sense, right? the musical melody wasn't a reminder to eat dessert, it was like a neighbourhood pied piper luring the children home safely.

which got me to thinking. recently i have noticed some rather odd signs posted in the neighbourhood. my japanese is far from perfect and the posters really could be about anything, but the the blue oval underneath the alien's outstretched arms reads su-to-ka, sound it out...its the japanese pronounciation of an english, su-to-ka...that's right STALKER. these signs, hung on every second pole, are obviously warning children and women to watch out for the alien-like stalker, that leaps out from behind poles wearing a strange devil/frog costume (possibly bought from Tokyu Hands).

alien frog stalker

Monday, January 03, 2005

pretty ain't it?

the tokyo gas dome set against a candy-sweet sunset...ahhh tokyo, can't you just taste the pollution?

tachikawa tokyo

one fish, two fish, red fish, globe fish

"anyone who says that they don't like japanese food, simply hasn't tried it"  sushi zume
takoyaki cooking

from the boiling to the bizarre, japanese food is as diverse as it is beautiful. much more than raw fish and rice, japanese food can be a sensory delight, visually spectacular and  orally lush.

recently i was asked by a co worker, as she puffed out her cheeks, "do you know fugu ?" of course the simpsons episode instantly sprang to my mind. "yer i know fugu, but i've never eaten it". i think i detected a glimmer of naughtiness in her eye, as if something in her seemingly innocent mind said 'let's scare the aussie girl' as she excitedly blurted out "oh let's eat, let's eat, you eat fugu with us", again puffing her cheeks out. "it's poisonous, right?" i said whilst playing charades, acting like someone had just fixed a noose around my neck causing my eyes to roll back in my head and my tongue to hang out to one side. "dai jou bu, dai jou bu" (no worries, no worries) she replied, again with 'that look'.

while i wasn't too concerned about eating the famous deadly japanese fish, i did wonder if i should take some precautions, maybe call my family and friends, write a will...something, just in case. of course i didn't do any of these things, but it's the thought that counts right?

i think i was just as excited as my co workers were as we all piled into the car and made our way to the japanese restaurant. they chattered about this and that but would often stop and say to me, with eyes wide and cheeks puffed out "growbe fish". one of them had obviously typed 'fugu' into their cute little electronic dictionary and the answer had appeared "globe fish".

as we entered the restaurant we were greeted by an older lady in kimono and a tank full of "growbe fish".  the fugu looked rather cute i thought. although they are not famous for their good looks they are sometimes kept as pets, i remembered having seen them mini size for sale at a shinjuku department store. after much ooooowwing and ahhhhing, we were finally seated in a cosy corner of the traditional style japanese restaurant. the usual lengthy ordering process and waiting thirstily for the first "kampai" (cheers) followed, but before long there it was in front of me...the infamous fugu. to be honest i was shocked, not by its grotesque appearance, but quite the opposite. we were each given a plate that displayed a round of paper thin, almost transparent fish pieces accompanied by a small bundle of negi (spring onions) and a small bowl of dipping sauce.

before devouring the dish, i wondered what might happen should i end up with a deadly piece on my plate, put there accidently by the apprentice in the kitchen. would i simply slump to the floor? would it be a dramatic death, with foam and convultions? however it soon became apparent to me that i was more likely to die of starvation than food poisoning. the aim of this fugu game was to wrap the sticky, clear piece of fugu around the skinny tube of negi, dip it into the sauce and then get it to your mouth using a pair of oddly designed chopsticks, all the while being eyed by your colleagues.  lucky for me i have become quite skilled in the art of chopstick use aswell as making a japanese-style fuss even if i don't particularly love what i'm doing/eating/seeing/hearing (some people call that faking it, some japanese might call it good manners). after all the build up and the anticipation, i was left thinking 'fugu is not all it's cracked up to be' and 'is that it? cos im bloody starving!'

little did i know things had only just begun, the first round of fugu was merely offered to tempt the taste buds, get us wanting/ needing more. next came the fugu nabe. a gorgeous steaming hot pot of deliciously fresh vegetables, delectable noodles, scrumptious lemon and soy dipping sauce and the boney, barely edible, almost tasteless fugu.

i'm not saying that i didn't enjoy fugu, it was certainly a great experience. but it would be true to say that half the fun of "growbe fish" was much like the fun of  the "lucky dip". the excitment, the unknown, the anticipation, the fact that i had the money to throw around on expensive deadly fish.



izakaya tachikawa tokyo

izakaya - japanese tavern/bar/inexpensive hangout

tokyo is jam packed with this style of bar, from the cheap to the sleek

sushi zume has found a new fav

smokey, friendly, and always packed with salary men and women in pursuit of facial redness

Sunday, January 02, 2005

3 more words

remember we said they might not stay the same...

today, sushi zume is thinking of tokyo as




tokyo lucky dip

As a child I remember paying 20 cents for a lucky dip at the lolly shop or toy store. After handing over my hard earned money to the guy/girl behind the counter, I would almost burst with excitment as I plunged my hand through a messy hole cut into the top of a cheaply covered cardboard box. The lucky dip boxes were usually separated by gender, often there was a 'boy's' box and a 'girl's' box, of course I always grabbed from the girls box but wondered long and hard what might be in the 'boy's' lucky dips. The results were often not so lucky, I'd usually make away with a cheap useless toy or some sort of lolly, which didn't seem so bad at the time. Looking back, it was not the prize that mattered it was the rush I got when I saw a) that the shop had a sparkley lucky dip box and b) that I had enough money in my pocket to throw around on such things. It was not the the result that mattered so much, it was the anticipation, the excitment, the hope that I might get 'lucky' and end up with some value for money or at the very least more 'stuff'.

Perhaps it is that same excitment, anticipation and expectation of luck that compells 25 000 Tokyoites to line up on a freezing cold winter morning, at the front of an inner city department store, to get their lucky dip. Fukubukuro (fuku meaning luck or fortune, bukuro meaning bag) are found in most Tokyo stores at the end of the year. These 'lucky sacks' come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Fukubukuro are usually categorised by size, product type, brand, colour and of course price. Young girl's clothing stores were selling brightly coloured bags for 5000 yen, while some electronic stores were selling various fukubukuro for 10 000 - 30 000 yen. The real eye openers were the 'fortune bags' being sold for a small fortune at some of the leading Tokyo department stores, sparkling price tags putting a 50 - 100 million yen price on luck. The odds would have to be pretty high for the average shopper to plunge their grubby mitts into that kind of lucky dip.

lucky bags

To an outsider, this yearly tradition may appear to be a very lucrative way for an over stocked shop to clear it's merchandise. But according to a local Tokyoite, "many people believe that if they get something that they's gonna be their year".

Some fukubukuro even have enticing names. The 'ren-ai kachigumi' (winner of love) might tickle your fancy? Or how bout the 'hatsu-yume' (first dreams of the year)? Sounds tempting.

And yes I was lured for a moment, to perhaps try my luck, plunge my hand into that lucky dip for old times sake, but I have a feeling it's 'gonna be my year' anyway, so maybe I'll pass on the 'lucky bag' for now.

Lots of fuku to you all!

lucky bags