what can't you deep fry?
I often tell people about how Osaka's heavy food, down-to-earth people, comedians and drinking problems have so much in common with my dear Glasgow. I decided to marry the cuisines of Lanarkshire and Kansai recently when I deep-fried some Okonomiyaki. It looked really heavy - a chore to eat - but it was surprisingly light. Top scran - Recommended eating for anyone not yet obese.
Posted by stupot at 06:33 PM Monday 30 Apr
I had a nightmare the other day. I have made a cliche of the word so just to clarify to myself and anyone else who hasn't had one for a while - I had a dream that frightened me so much I woke up in a sweat, screaming for help. It really has been a very long time - I remember the particularly nasty ones - the American Werewolf in London inspired one, where beasts in Nazi uniforms jumped out from our redcurrant bushes and sprayed my mum with automatic fire. The Day After inspired one saw a nuclear explosion happen when we were changing for PE which was followed by TV 'fuzz' and then nothing. I've always been grateful to my modern studies teacher for sharing that film with us. But the other night was bizarre - the setting was the room I was sleeping in - so it appeared to be very real. There was just a presence in the room - nothing visible - just like a poltergeist I imagine. Something was just around but I couldn't move a muscle. Eventually the light went out and more indescribable but sinister movement. Then, after more time, one of my ribs was dislodged - kinda pulled half out. After that I started shouting for help - eventually waking up just after I'd resorted to screaming in Japanese. The neighbours must think I'm mental.
Posted by stupot at 12:51 AM Sunday 29 Apr
There's something to be said if you can find beauty in a draincover, but it's not that difficult in Japan. They often act as a clue as to where you are - being the visual embodiment of an area in just a few lines. When I escape a new subway station I always look for the north arrow you find at the entrance, just to get my bearings. I also like to see what the place is known for and for that I try and find a drain cover. In Taishi it's the twin peaks and temple complex. There's a wonderful selection here which illustrates the diversity and beauty of such a common item. On the flip side of the deal, when it rains, draincovers are a cyclists worst enemy. Today it rained and so caution was observed.
Posted by stupot at 12:04 PM Sunday 22 Apr
I gave a talk at the Apple store in Osaka on Tuesday to a design group that meets once a month. Good bunch of folk. I don't really talk in front of big audiences so it was a bit strange. Everyone said they liked it though. Met some really good people as well which was a nice bonus. There's some pics here if you really don't have anything better to do.
Posted by stupot at 05:22 PM Saturday 21 Apr
Posted by stupot at 01:24 PM Saturday 21 Apr
'It's getting pretty busy. I'm sitting right in the middle of kitashinchi, late on a friday afternoon, and the pace of deliveries to Osaka's entertainment district is at it's weekly peak. Old 'butchers' bicycles, mopeds and mini-vans litter the street before driving off and being replaced, minutes later, by the next delivery. Mainly it's all alcohol around here - I'm sitting outside a sake-ya, the workers busily filling crates with expensive whisky and sake. Fish, meat and vegetables arrive from around the city and face cloths come too. So many trades are involved. It's non-stop and exciting. Satisfying for those involved. A few tourists come and go but middle aged women in kimono far out-number them. The suits they will please later in the evening already out-number the kimono, but for now, the men in aprons out-number all. This is a thriving community with it's traditions and wealth and payment system of trust - the sights and sounds of which warrant an hour or so of study.'
Posted by stupot at 12:17 AM Saturday 21 Apr
you can see some photo's of kyoto here.
Posted by stupot at 03:28 PM Thursday 19 Apr
The town I live in is famous for being named after Shotoku Taishi - a crown prince, way back when 'things were better and children didn't have everything so bloody easy'- who was a big advocate of Buddism early on in Japan. He comissioned the Shitennoji temple in Osaka and presumably the large complex of buildings in our local shrine has a lot to do with him too. The pagoda looked good behind the sakura. That pink on dark brown is very 2007.
Posted by stupot at 11:38 PM Tuesday 10 Apr
Having survived the partying of last week it's back to the quiet life in the country once again. Strolling around the upper, old town of Taishi is great - the alley's, the kids playing, the cherry blossom fluttering about, the peace. Today I met a few local's slightly bamboozled as to why someone would not only stray as far as their village, but attempt to draw the impossible Japanese roof. I was wondering the same.
Posted by stupot at 05:00 PM Monday 9 Apr
the Sakai Suji Club
Yesterday was Dan and Miko's wedding and the best man speech has thankfully come and gone. As has 4 days of being drunk (my body is not happy). I went out a few weeks ago, in what was still winter, to draw Dan and Miko's wedding venue - the Sakai Suji Club. Nice Gaff - a colonial bank building near Nagahoridori. In the end I left it as just black ink because I thought the slpotches of rain that bled into it looked nice.
Posted by stupot at 06:05 PM Saturday 7 Apr
Posted by stupot at 06:50 PM Thursday 5 Apr
concrete in a jungle
After visiting the ward office to change my address and national health insurance (it took about an hour and a half and, at one point, 6 public servants), I came home via Chikatsu Asuka Museum (Ando Tadao, 1994). It's only about a kilometre and a half from my house in Taishi and whilst it's not the kind of architecture I'd like to live in, the design actually does, and will continue to, blend in to it's surroundings. I reckon in 100 years it'll look great. I drew by the edge of a nature trail before getting up, with a numb arse, to go and jot down a couple of details. Today was surprisingly cold but people were happy to greet strangers along the way - something I've missed in the city. The women in the cafe did a double take when I spoke to them, in that way rural people do when they're confronted with foreign country people speaking their own language - even just to say "one coffee please". There were a few hardy family's up the trail doing hanami but I know how chilly it was to be sitting about. The fresh weather will hopefully prolong the sakura though.
Posted by stupot at 06:52 PM Tuesday 3 Apr
I had some small errands to do today so I went into nearby Tondabayashi on the bike (20 mins south from Kintetsu Tennoji stn). I managed to change address using the ATM at the bank and find a framers. Afterward I passed through Jinaichou - a place I had only been once, at night, about 2 and half years ago when I got lost on the way home. It's a beautiful old village within the town which I promised myself I'd revisit. I sketched at leisure and listened to an elderly local who was happy to have an ear. I got a bit of what she said - managing to distinguish between the Meiji and Taisho architecture by window details and building height. I thought about the fact that toward the end of the Meiji era (it finished in 1912) the 4 storey sandstone building where I used to live in Glasgow was being built. Oh yeah, and the Kousa came today - visibility was down to a few kilometres.
Posted by stupot at 05:14 PM Monday 2 Apr