Friday, October 30, 2009

Maid Cafe

I have been discussing about Maid Cafe with some blogger friends over the past few days. It started when I asked advise from an Osaka-jin blogger friend about restaurant and cafe in Osaka, then the thread goes on discussing about Maid Cafe and Butler Cafe in Japan. I don't consider myself as an Otaku but I do love anime and things so I love to visit one of the most unique cafes in Japan:Maid Cafe!

This kind of unique theme cafes originated in Akihabara, Tokyo around the year 1999. The service staffs of these restaurants (or bars) dress as elegant maids or as butlers. In a standard maid cafe the female employees dress up as French maids and refer to the customers as either Master (Goshujin-sama) or Mistress (Ojo-sama) and if for those who are happy to pay extra will be allowed to take picture with the maids. In other stores, the outfit and even the setting itself change. In school-themed cafes, customers are referred to as Senpai instead of Master or Mistress. Other themes include, little sister (imoto) and shrine girl (miko). Recently, with the booming of Maid Cafe, additional related service have become popular. These include ear cleaning, a foot or hand massage, photography session or even 'dates'with maids, but don't get it wrong, it's definitely not a brothel or that sort of things.
The popularity of Cosplay restaurants and maid cafes has spread to other regions in Japan, such as Osaka as well as other countries, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico and Canada.

I found a link for you who like to search for Maid Cafes in Japan, this Maid Cafe link makes it easy for you to search by region/city, theme and even some extra infos such as their menu and coupon. The link is in Japanese but you can easily translate it by using Google Translate.

By the way, the Este ears service from Atelier Mimi sounds really interesting :)
Only in Japan..

(Some 'Maids' promoting their Maid Cafe in Akihabara)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gumshara Ramen

Last week when I 'found' Kimama Kitchen inside the Eating World in Chinatown, I had to admit that I was wrong assuming that 'I wouldn't find a nice Japanese cuisine in this most-unlikely place'. While I was enjoying my King Curry and saw the folks lining up behind my table, I was wondering what these people queuing for? Oh.. they're queuing for another Japanese kitchen right on the corner. I couldn't hold myself to try this another-gem in a place I had ignored for years!
In less than a week I made my way to this ramen shop inside the Eating World food court in Chinatown. I couldn't even read their shop's name properly in the first place since the name written in a calligraphy style, first I read it as Cumshara and eventually I found out the right name, it's 'Gumshara'. It just looks like an ordinary Japanese ramen shop in a typical food court with black and red noren and the menu written in big cardboard with its picture. What's so special with their ramen then?
Here is their signboard written in English and Japanese: (I just 'copy-paste' their signboard since I didn't manage to take a picture)

Traditional Japanese Ramen
"Our soup is made by traditional Japanese way to cook which only uses only fresh pork bone and water, NO MSG is used. The richness of the soup comes from the marrow of the bone and the soft bone. It contains a lot of collagen, which is essential to maintain soft skin."

(My Tonkotsu ramen)

I tried their special menu Tonkotsu Ramen, when they served my ramen the staff said, 'if you find the soup too thick please let us know and we'd make it less thick. The soup indeed was thick and rich but I wouldn't make a fuss about that, and it's just so tasty! If you don't really like the thick soup, they also have hakata ramen which comes in light soup.
I overhead when some people asked the staff about their ramen and they said that the owner chef mastered the ramen cooking from the famous Muttepou ramen in Kyoto, no wonder!

(Gumshara Ramen inside Eating World in Chinatown)
Monday, October 19, 2009

Kimama Kitchen

It's been a while since my last post about Japanese eateries in town, not that I gave up my weekend hobby but hadn't found a good one worth a post. Last weekend eventually I found a good Japanese kitchen in the city, inside the Eating World Harbour Plaza in Chinatown just right at the end of Dixon street strip. If you enter the Harbour Plaza from Campbell street side, this Japanese kitchen is the first one on your right hand side. There was no name sign when we came to the counter and scrolling down the menu. Don't expect for ambience or good service since it's a food court but once you tried their crispy cutlet and yummy curry I believe you'd comeback to try another menu.

(King curry rice)

The king curry rice served on a 'king-size' white plate in generous portion, there were two choices for the rice, steam rice or fried rice, and I chose normal steam rice. The rice covered with yellow fried egg and topped with crispy chicken katsu. The curry sauce itself was not too strong which is good for me since I don't really like the strong curry flavor. Most of their dishes come with miso soup and the price is very affordable. I'd be very happy to recommend this Japanese kitchen for those who looking for an affordable Japanese casual dining in the city. I'd be back for sure to try their popular Karage don with teriyaki mayo!

(Beef teriyaki don)
Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree, a new tower under construction in Tokyo for terrestrial digital broadcasting will be the world's tallest self-standing tower with its 634 meters high.
At the foot of the new tower will be a 'town with a tower' spans about 400m from east to west, connecting plaza leading from Oshiage Station to the tower lobby on level four of the facility, three plazas in front of the station along Kitajukken River, and Shinsui Park will form a community where visitors and nearby residents will gather.
This tower stands in a major traditional international tourism zone of Japan. Located in Sumida ward, about 1km east of Asakusa and about 2km northeast of Ryogoku (a town famous for sumo wrestling), this new landmark of Tokyo will be open in spring 2012.
(Source: Tokyo Sky Tower)

(Pictures courtesy of: Tokyo Sky Tower)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009


A quick post about the very first Onigiri from my kitchen. Lightly salted rice balls stuffed with some seasoned vegetables (carrot, spring onion), mock abalone, and fried egg. Some were sprinkled with roasted black sesame seed and some others with grated seaweed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The 13th Japanese Film Festival

The 13th Japanese Film Festival is coming soon! It will be showing 21 selected Japanese films in Sydney from Nov.14 - Dec.1, consisting of some different genres such as drama, comedy, action, and anime as well. This year the festival will kick off in Hobart too, this is the only time for Japanese film mania in 6 Australia capital cities (Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne) to watch Japanese movies on the cinema. For more information about the movie list, schedule and ticketing in each cities please visit the official website: Japanese Film Festival.

Last year was the biggest and most successful year audience attendance reaching just a record number of just over 10,000 Australia wide. I still remember how excited and happy I was when I won the lucky draw and got a show bag from Nagano City Tourism. Why Nagano? because the movie I watched was promoting Nagano City Tourism, the shooting location was in Hakuba with the magnificent view of snowy mountains. The adorable Rena Tanaka and the stunning beauty of white mountains are just perfect. The English title is Season of Snow and the Japanese title is G-season or Giniro no season, I really love this movie and even bought the DVD for my collection :) If you'd like to view the trailer you can click the banner below:


Here are some snippet for this year Japanese Film Festival:

The Blue bird, a film tackling the age-old problem of school bullying in Japan sees Mr Murauchi, a stuttering substitute teacher, enter in the aftermath of student Noguchi's suicide attempt. The school is trying to forget about the incident but Mr Murauchi persists in using his unconventional teaching method with an important lesson for all.

A masked villain known as K20 terrorizes the streets with his crafty burglary when an innocent acrobat is mistaken for K20 and is arrested, he must find the real masked murderer to clear his name. This movie is quite popular with the star Takeshi Kaneshiro as the heroine.

It seems like dining is on the agenda at Dome Fuji Station, a Japanese research base in the South Pole. Based on a true story, Chef Nishimura delivers mouth-watering extravagant dishes for the team of eight. This is one of scrumptious film filled with food, ice and laughter.

Members of the Kyoto University Azure Dragons are prepared to battle it out in the ancient game of 'Harumo'. Team members summon an army of CGI-related demons in a supernatural combat match to attack opposing teams from another universities.

A period drama set in the late of Edo era, Noe, a widow married into a new family is miserable and unable to adjust to her new life. In the midst of a drought with the added burden of heavy taxes, the farmers are struggling to make ends meet. Yachiro, a samurai in love with Noe, decides to take action, setting in motion some changes in the despondent life of Noe.

A haunting, intriguing mystery about a family's hidden secret that begins to unravel when a serial arsonist leaves behind a graffiti-style clues at crime scenes. Brothers Izumi and Haru are drawn to the events and decide to investigate the matter. Unknowingly, each step brings them closer to unlocking an unexpected truth.

On the run, Kamui is a ninja in search of freedom. His journey leads him to an old fisherman's village where he gradually learns to love. But there are others pursuing him - ninja of his own clan, pirates, shark hunter and a captain of manipulation hatching a plan with Kamui as the prey..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Murata Seiko-chan

'Murata Seiko-chan', a cute female unicycle-riding robot from Murata manufacturing Co, was showing off her skill on a tiny bar during the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) Japan 2009, on Tuesday at Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba.

Murata Seiko-chan
(Picture courtesy of Mainichi News)

Another debut from Nissan was 'Eporo', a group of miniature robots that model fish behavior to move around in groups while avoiding obstacles.

Nissan's Eporo
(Picture courtesy of Mainichi News)

And among the best attractions was 'HRP-4C', the girlie humanoid in a new look sang a song for visitors accompanied by a similarly cybernetic piano player.

HRP-4C, the cute humanoid
(Picture courtesy of Mainichi News)

This Asia's largest electronic show runs through this Saturday and is expected to draw some 200,000 visitors

(Source: Mainichi News)
Monday, October 5, 2009

Otaku Car Festival

Only in Japan..

I wish I were in Tokyo last weekend, visiting 'Otaku' Car Festival in Odaiba on Sunday, October 4. Fans flocked to this unique festival in Tokyo's Odaiba, with some 830 vehicles adorned with illustration of popular anime and video game characters on display.
The second 'Itasha G Fesuta' was organized by a graphic magazine specializing in 'itasha' a Japanese term for cars with their bodies colorfully painted with characters from anime, manga and video games. In addition to a live painting performance on a Lincoln Limousine, featured were an array of cars, bikes and bicycles that were decorated by anime fans as well as cosplayers dressed as popular characters.
(Source: Mainichi News)

(All pictures courtesy of Mainichi)
Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tulip Time

It's Tulip Time in Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. More than a dozen of private gardens open for Tulip festival in this region with admission fee around $5 - $8. Despite the wet and freezing weekend, with the the top of 11 C only, we drove for 2 hours from city to Bowral where the Corbett Gardens Bowral, the centerpiece of Tulip Time, showcases an amazing display of vibrant color , music and performance.

Corbett Gardens Bowral

Tulip Time has been wowing crowds with 100,000 tulips and 25,000 flowering annuals, bursting with vivid color leaving visitors breathless at the amazing array of color and beauty. The Corbett Gardens open from 9.00 am - 4.00 pm daily, 24 September to 7 October 2009, with $8 admission fee for adults. There was also a Fine Food and Wine street fair on Wingecarribee street Bowral, just next to Corbett Gardens.

Here are some of my today's favorite shots.

Blushing pink tulip..

Rose or tulip? Rose-shaped tulip!

cherry blossoms over tulips..

Red leaves don't always mean autumn..

Friday, October 2, 2009

'Pinky' Nagoya Castle

I found this pinky Nagoya Castle picture from Mainichi. The castle lit up in pink as part of the "Pink Ribbon" breast cancer awareness campaign in Nagoya's Naka Ward, on Thursday, Oct.1, the caste was illuminated for about four hours until 11 pm n Thursday.