Friday, June 26, 2009

Hachiko - The Faithfull Dog

"The bronze statue of Hachiko sitting in front of the entrance of Shibuya station has become a meeting point for people around Shibuya station in Tokyo", Izumi-san told me the story of Hachiko when I visited Tokyo on Christmas Day 2007. That was the first time I heard the story about Hachiko, and today read the news about Hollywood movie: "Hachiko: A Dog's story" starring Richard Gere, which will be released this August in Japan.

According to "Collection of Hachiko's Materials," edited by Masaharu Hayashi and regarded as the most detailed record of the dog, Hachiko was born on a farm in Odate, Akita Prefecture, in November 1923.
The puppy was given to Hidesauro Ueno, a proffesore at Tokyo Imperial University who lived in Shibuya Ward, in January 1924. Ueno named the puppy Hachi (the suffix "ko" added for affection) and started taking him to Shibuya station on his way to the university. About a year later, however, Ueno died and Hachiko's life changed dramatically. Hachiko was entrusted to a household in the Asakusa district but often fled to Ueno's house in Shibuya. Finaly he was entrusted to a breeder in Shibuya and began to go and sit in front of the entrance of Shibuya station every evening to wait for his master. The dog became famous in October 1932 when a newspaper reported on it under the headline, "Story of a beloved old dog. Several years eagerly awaiting the return of his now-deceased master."

In March 1935, loyal Hachiko died on a street in Shibuya.

The front legs, ears and tail of the bronze statue of "Faithful Dog Hachiko," a symbol of Tokyo's busy Shibuya district, have become yellow-tinged and shiny from people touching them. "It is proof that he is loved and touched by everybody," said Takeshi Ando. The statue of Hachiko made by Ando's father, Teru, also a sculptor, was erected in April 1934.

Here is the official trailer of Hachiko: A Dog's story

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fuji Bakery

Looking for Japanese food in Sydney? You would find plenty of Japanese restaurants across the city, from an affordable Kura to the most expensive one like Tetsuya , but should you look for Japanese bakery, there is only one Japanese Bakery (as far as I know) located in Killarney Heights, north of the city. As an adventurous foodie, I didn't mind to take 20 minutes train-ride to Chatswood station and changed for another 15 minutes ride by Forest bus to find this Fuji Japanese Bakery nestled in a relatively quite suburb away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Once I stepped in the shop, looked around the range of breads, cakes, puddings, twisted doughnuts and other yummy looking desert. As I picked almost one of each from the display, the lady offered the Rum and Raisin roll, a rum flavoured chocolate cake with raisins, definitely it was an offer I couldn't refuse. The Chocolate mouse and Rum and raisin roll cost me $ 2.50 each.

Chocolate mouse & Rum raisin roll

The fruit bread like walnut bread with raisin costs $1.30, while another range of bread like ham and potato salad, ham and egg, tuna pan, mayonaise and cheese, and bacon roll cost around $2.70. These additive-free breads are really yummy, I would comeback again for some daifuku next time since it was sold out already.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hana Kohaku

As my craving for plum wine, today I continued the 'unfinished battle' to find my favorite Hana Kohaku in town :) After last week I only got Bohae Plum wine, today I kept wandering around the city , take a quick peek at liquor shops one after another and eventually I found it! It's a liquor shop in Chinatown I always passed by every weekend but never thought they would sell this Hana Kohaku. I need to take $40 out of my pocket for one bottle of 720 ml.

Hana Kohaku is a unique Japanese sake contains plum juice and extract thus tastes a bit sweet and the aroma of umeshu is just so enticing and thrilling your taste-buds. This Hana Kohaku is a product of Tatsuuma-Honkee brewing company from Nishinomiya-go of Nada district, the largest sake-producing region in Japan. This brewery is also the brewer of Sake 'Hakushika' brand, which brewed with selected rice and 'Miyamizu', natural water from Rokko Mountains. Miyamizu known as one of the best 100 waters of Japan which contains a lot of proper mineral for brewing sake. Sake brewed with Miyamizu is characterized by a dry taste.

Here is a taste-chart of Hakushika products:

(picture courtesy of Hakushika)
Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bohae Plum Wine

It's a lazy sunday for me as the temperature's getting cool and feels like a good time to hibernate. I was too lazy to cook so just prepared my Tuna rice bowl, apart from the rice, it took me not even 5 minutes as I used canned Tuna :) It's a bowl of warm jasmine rice served with Tuna mixed with mayonaise, topped with some roasted seaweed sprinkle and katsuoboshi (grated fish flake).

My Tuna rice bowl

Today's best part was: Plum wine! It's hard to find my favorite Hana-Kohaku sake (Japanese plum wine) in the city so I got this Korean Plum wine instead. It's an imported Korean Plum wine from Bohae brewery. This plum wine goes well with raw fish and fresh food, I really love the sweet taste and exotic aroma of Plum wine.

Korean Plum wine

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Passionflower Desert

Last weekend I happened to hang around with a best friend in the city and we ended up sitting in a desert cafe just off Town Hall station. This Passionflower cafe offers a range of tempting ice cream and desert, their signature's flavours include durian, Japanese green tea, taro, black sesame, lychee and rose petal, sticky rice and jackfruit.

We picked a green tea latte and a set of their masterpice desert which comprises two scoops of taro and black sesame ice cream, banana crepes, a small glass of tiramisu, green tea mousse, glutinous rice balls with black sesame and pancakes. This set priced at $25 but you can share with 1-2 friends.

Masterpiece set

Green tea latte
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Okonomiyaki Robot

Only in Japan..

Interesting news from Japan Times:

Several robot showed off their unique skills during the International Food Machinery and Technology Exhibition which runs through Friday at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward. During the "Robot Food Park" demonstration, Okonomoyaki Robot, developed by Osaka-based Toyo Riki Co., boasted its prowess in cooking 'Okonomiyaki' - Osaka's trademark pancake. 

The robot, about the size of a human, skillfully uses its two arms to mix the dough, oil up a pan and flip the okonomiyaki when the time is right. It can even communicate verbally, asking the audience questions such as whether they want mayonnaise on their okonomiyaki.

Wow!.. Wish I were there to have my okonomiyaki cooked and served by that robot.

(Photo courtesy of Japan Times/Satoko Kawsaki)
Monday, June 8, 2009

Green tea coke

Only in Japan..

I hardly drink soft drinks like coke but I do love drinking tea. Jasmine, oolong and green tea are my favorite ones. How about Green tea coke? Sounds so Japanese for me..
I believed the great benefit of antioxidant from green tea but I doubt it will change my perception about coke even it comes in green tea flavour.

Green tea-flavoured Coca Cola hit Japanese stores this Monday (June 8). They claimed that it contains tea antioxidants called catechins, leaves a slight green tea aftertaste and is mainly targeted at health-conscius woman in their 20s and 30s, Coca Cola (Japan) Co. spokesman Katsuya Sato said. 

"We wanted to cater to people who are looking for something that tastes good but is also good for health and beauty," he said.

Rival Pepsi Cola is countering with another exotic cola, Japanese basil-flavoured Pepsi Shiso, which will hit stores in late Jue. 

Source: Japan Times

Green tea coke
(Photo courtesy of AP Photo)
Sunday, June 7, 2009

Spider roll

After got swollen gums since last week eventually went to dentist yesterday, got x-rayed and the dentist said 'we need to take your tooth out!' ... really? It's something I didn't expect at all but what could I say? So got my wisdom tooth taken out yesterday and it was bleeding all night long, the worst was beside I had to endure the pain I also had to endure my starving as I practically didn't eat anything the whole day except 3 portions of instant cream soup for my dinner. Sounds wierd for you? You may think how would someone still bother eating something while suffering bleeding gums after got a tooth taken out! :) 
Thanks God my gums stopped bleeding when I woke up this morning, so off the church headed to Sakae right away for lunch since it's only a stroll walk down to Liverpool street strip in the city. We ordered fish teriyaki, Tokyo yakiniku which comprises grilled wagyu beef and onion topped with fragant white radish, spring onions and special sauce served with garden salad, rice and miso soup. Anything else? asked the cute waitress, wait.. what's this spider roll? It's a sushi roll with soft-shell crab, vegetables and mayonaise, she explained. Ha! so it has nothing to do with spider at all just the way it served looks like a spider. Ok then, can I have one of  Spider roll and one umeshu as well please?

The spider roll

Tokyo yakiniku

Fish teriyaki

Umeshu (plum wine)

Gochiso-sama deshta! It was a feast!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bijin Tokei

Bijin Tokei (literally means Beautiful girl clock) is a cool and unique widget by Tokyo-based Phiria Design. The gadget showing diferent picture of Japanese girl every minute holding up a blackboard displaying current time depending on where you live. If you visit the Bijin Tokei website, you can see the profile of each girl on the picture, including their names, birthday, home, blood type, and their 3 size :)

Here are some of the hot girls holding up the analog blackboard sign.

(Photos courtesy of Bijin Tokei)

I have put this widget on my side bar and it's showing the right time in Sydney,  is it showing the right time on your place as well?

Wanna get this awesome widget? You can get it here
Monday, June 1, 2009

Bug Sushi

Only in Japan..

Warning: this post is not for squeamish. 

Source: Japan Times
'Tanoshii Konchu Ryori' is a bug cuisine cookbook published by Shoichi Uchiyama, a Japan's leading insect eating evangelist. But be prepared before opening the 256-page book, some of the 64 color photos of bug recipes may leave you feeling a little queasy.
The meals in the pictures range from huge cockroaches soaked in pink vinegar soup, half-raw fat hornet larvae, huge moth pupae simmered with sugar, and a pizza covered with giant water bugs, spiders, caterpillars and adult hornets. 

Uchiyama, who lives in Tokyo and holds a food sanitation license, has his own reason to justify his bug eating crusade. Academic studies have shown insect are rich in nutrition and many are even more nutritionally balance than meat of fish, Uchiyama pointed out. In addition, they grow much faster and require less feed than animals and fish, ane leftover vegetables are enough to farm many kinds of bugs. They grow in small spaces and don't compete with human beings over food, Uchiyama said, "I think a food shortage will emerge as a global problem in the near future. Insects will play a big role in solving the problem."

Uchiyama's argument may sound bizzare, but U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is in complete agreement.

You can visit Uchiyama's famous blog on

Insect sushi
(Photo courtesy of

Spider sushi
(Photo courtesy of

Larvae sushi
(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

I am not a squeamish person but I would think twice to try those little creepy crawly cuisine, how about you?