Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Miniature Japanese Food!

Last week in Vancouver, I visited – as I always do when I go out west – Aberdeen Centre, a huge and quite lovely Asian mall. I was casually strolling along with a friend when we spotted something remarkable: an ENTIRE STORE devoted to miniature Japanese food.

I already had a tiny collection – no pun intended – but this place had me salivating for more – again, no pun intended. Every conceivable meal you could ever eat in Japan was replicated in 1/6 scale, including Western food – one of my blind assortment packs revealed spaghetti and meatballs. There were also shelves and shelves of appliances so I picked up a blender and lovely toaster set. But better yet, the store was filled with huge dioramas under glass of incredibly detailed restaurant and kitchen scenes. Very inspiring.

Soon, my robots shall dine…

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Japadog!

Yeah, I know, Vancouver is really gorgeous and blah blah blah.

But what I really love about it is all the fantastic Japanese food! Authentic izakaya like Guu, Kingyo, Hapa and Zakkushi. Unbelievable ramen at Kintaro. The food court – yes the food court – at Aberdeen Centre. And my latest discovery: Japadog.

It’s not just a hot dog stand, it’s hot dogs Japanese style. You get toppings like shredded nori, Japanese mayonaise, miso sauce, stewed onions, and sprouts, all served up by extremely polite and chipper young “Japagirls”.

Thank you, Vancouver, for being my more easily accessible Tokyo. But please, please, build yourself a couple of proper Japanese toys stores!

Eat like an otaku!

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Last week, a friend of mine – a dear, dear friend indeed – returned from a trip to Japan and Korea with a box of goodies for me. I had only asked for a can of the special edition Evangelion UCC milk coffee. She brought two. Taking the hint, she went Eva crazy also getting me a bunch of Evangelion @ School stuff including two “at the beach” cell phone charms, an awesome superdeformed Eva 01 in kimono and geta, and a cute little Asuka in school uniform/sundress. There’s green tea toothpaste – that doesn’t really taste like tea– and “men’s” chewing gum that’s supposed to give its chewer better body odor. So far, I’m producing a slight rosy smell. Plus, she included tonnes of edible treats like Korean pocky and “fried chicken” snacks that tasted, remarkably, like fried chicken.

But the item that excited me most was two boxes of:

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The only things I could make out were the words “Akihabara”, “MOE” and “oden curry”. After a little bit of web research I discovered this is curry in a bag for otaku. Specifically, moe obsessed otaku as the blushing girl on the box is asking something like “are you hungry, big brother?”.

I don’t know if this is supposed to be fantasy come to life or fuel for otaku fantasies or a chance for non-otaku to go slumming, but I find it way, way more interesting than panties in vending machines. Here I was thinking that the otaku lifestyle is still pretty underground in Japan. It may be, but to be commodified like this, even with that cute little “Moe” stamp in the bottom right corner – as if imparting onto this product some sort of magical or medicinal quality – is something I did not expect.

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The next question is, of course, how does it taste? Well tonight, I made up a pot of sticky rice and boiled some water to heat up the curry. I turned on my anime music playlist and settled into full otaku mode. Two big surprises emerged from the bag: large and unusual items floating around in the sauce and completely, unequivocally, delicious curry. Curry rice is one of the most comforting meals known to man and this version, with the cute “little sister” on the box, soothes the otaku soul.

But getting back to the stuff floating in the sauce. First off, after molesting the bag in advance I can assure you that these items were much smaller in their precooked state. At first I was worried, but again the internet saved me. Turns out this is oden-style curry, oden being a kind of Japanese stew often including – as this one did – small boiled eggs, chikuwa (a tube of meat of some kind), konnyaku gel, daikon and a couple other small bits I couldn’t identify. If anyone else knows, please comment below.

Now its off to model building and anime watching in my little otaku heaven…

Me on Q on Maid Cafes

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appeared on Q this week with my nerd-loving friend Jian Ghomeshi – this time to talk about Maid Cafes and Canada’s own version of otaku heaven.

Once again, my thanks to the folks at Editor’s Choice for turning my bit into a podcast, which you can download here. Also, you can check out the photos I took – the waitresses are not the only ones in costume – mentioned in the piece.