Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tokyo - Shimokitazawa

Was initially going to go to Kyoto today. But we missed the 10am subway plus I've managed to catch some kind of cold. So not feeling that great. So ended up going somewhere a bit closer in the afternoon.

Read a blurb on Shimokitazawa in the free 'Tokyo Pocket Guide Spring 2005' and it sounded interesting. It read: "This trendy artistic area has a maze of small shops and restaurants. It's a popular hub for young people and creative types. The station is only 1 express stop from Shibuya (Inokashira line) and 2 express stops from Shinjuku (Odakyu line).

So we managed to catch the express train. We got out and had a look around. Very market stall feel, almost Paddy's market style for a lot of it. It was on a much more intimate scale, rather than the mega storey department stores in the Ginza district etc. So there were a couple of blocks of this.

But only came across a couple of designy type shops. But then waited to cross a railway crossing and then we hit the 'design' shops. That part was pretty cool!! Kind of a mixture of Paddington, Newtown and Glebe. Some really cool innovative designy tshirts, cool arty illustration cards, modern architecture, cafes, jazz clubs, custom leather handbag shops, and some vintage clothing shops, collectable toy shops and more. It seemed to extend for a few blocks. Only had time to go down a couple of streets then got sidetracked round somewhere else, then somehow made our way to another exit of the station. Feeling pretty tired by this time and cough getting worse again. So decided to head back to Aoyama.

Was initially going to try to make it to Daikanyama as well which is meant to be an up-and-coming fashion area. But ran out of time. Keen to check out the emerging Japanese design scene over here if we get a chance. Seen bits of it so far.

Got a few boxes of: veggie curry and rice, chicken katsu pieces, and some vegie noodles ready to zap in the microwave and share.

Watched 'SWAT' last night on dvd. Some action, some jokes. Predictable but moved at at a good pace.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Thought we`d check out a bit of Tokyo`s gardens and architecture today. Went to a bit of the Imperial Gardens. Saw guards, moats, gates but didn`t quite get to the real green parts. Had some noodle soup lunch at My City. V.nice. Then went to Hibiya Park. Got a dose of greenery there. Took a couple of photos of the pond, the fountain, sculptures, flowery roof, and some cool cherry blossom trees. Went to the Tokyo International Forum building. Took quite a few photos of the glass roof. Passed by the Mitsuo Museum - calligraphy museum. Didn`t go in though. There was going to be some type of Snoopy associated calligraphy exhibition but it`s not on till the 29th April. Then stumbled across a Tourist Information Centre. Picked up some more district maps and info about other areas. Then had some coffee and cake at a cosy little place in Ginza. Now at the Apple store again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More Shibuya

Shibuya seems to be our natural stop on the way back to Aoyama. Went to Libro books and bought a couple of Taschen titles going for 1995 yen each - the Art title and the Architecture title. Great value. They`re special Taschen 25th b`day titles. Got the tip from Jean Snow`s blog ( Have bought a few Japanese/English type art, design, graphic magazines from Tower Records, Aoyama Book Centre, and Libro Books. Now wondering if I should just send them back via snail mail. Also got some cool fabric remnants from the Tao fabric shop in Shibuya. Want to experiment with some sewing when I get back to Sydney if I can find some time. Have to figure out how to use the sewing machine again first though. May go back there and get some more Japanese print fabric. Also visited the Blister shop and the Parco dept store. Had katsu egg soup dish with rice and miso soup from Ootaya earlier. Now at the Apple shop where they have free internet access on the 4th floor. They`re open till 9pm.

Watched `Lost in Translation` again last night. The apartment we`re staying at lend out dvds for free. I enjoyed the movie. Recognised many of the sights. Finished watching it around 5am. Getting to be a real night owl over here. Not sure why.

Going to Kyoto on Thursday. We got the JR railway pass from Sydney. So thought we should make use of it. Kyoto should be fun. Want to check out a few cultural sights of Tokyo but haven`t managed it so far.

Tokyo 6th Spiral Independent Creators Festival

On 2-5 May 2005. More info at:

Tokyo Student FIlm Festival 30 Apr 05

At the Tokyo Women's Plaza. Open 12.30pm. Starts at 1pm.
More info at:

Tokyo - Design Festa 14+15 May 05

"Design Festa is a freestyle International Art Event open to all creators, both professional and non-professional from all over the world to exhibit their creative talent. Design Festa is the biggest art event in Japan, with approximately 47,000 visitors and 5,700 exhibitors...

Design Festa is the ideal place for passionate artists who are looking for a great opportunity to show their artwork to a very large audience from all over the world. As well as the numerous art fans and music lovers who attend this event, Design Festa receives a high level of exposure from the media including the BBC, APTN, CBS, AFP, and Channel+, to name a few.

Design Festa welcomes all exhibitors from various genres and countries. We have no sponsors, judging, or age limit. This two day event is guaranteed to stimulate the creative energy amongst all visitors and exhibitors.

We always look forward to seeing artists exhibit their unique talent, and we welcome all visitors to come and enjoy this mind blowing event..."


Sunday, April 24, 2005

In Tokyo

In Tokyo at the moment. Have been here for a week now. Staying in Aoyama. Been catching their subway to: Ginza - kind of like Elizabeth St but magnified about 100 fold with 3, 4 level buildings dedicated to just the one label eg Chanel, also lots of dept stores there; Shibuya - great night spot, also lots of cool fashion shops, Seibu dept store is there, Tower Records has lots of cool design magazines and books and is open till 11pm; Odaiba - future city - felt a bit like Darling Harbour, has a replica of the Statue of Liberty, Rainbow Bridge, harbour views, v.touristy but pleasant, walked to Harajuku - cool, hip fashion area; Akihabara - electrical town - there are stalls and stalls, streetsa and streets of electrical gear from cameras to video cameras, tvs, videos, dvd players, mobile phones including the Marc Newson phone, manga dvds, computers, monitors, washing machines - everything all just displayed out like a street market setting - not behind glass or anything. Just one large market area of goodies.

Have taken lots of photos and digital video footage. Will sort through and post up when back in Sydney.

There's so much going on here food wise, goods wise, service wise, everything wise. Pretty cool all round so far. Just much, much denser and more frenetic than Sydney. Plus, it's a great place for night owls. Shops don't close till 7pm, 9pm or 11pm here depending on store, unlike the 5-6pm deal in Sydney. The trains run on time too! and the service is v.frequent. V. convenient.

Lots of people wear face masks. Not sure what the deal is with that.

V.inspired. Lots of sights, sounds, colour, flavours! Loving the food here. Love Japanese food anyway so this place is great!!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sushi train, cinemas on George St

Was in the city today and decided to go to the Sushi train in the cinemas on George St for a quick lunch/snack. Still almost full even though it was 3pm. It's good value there and the food's yummy. Most plates cost $2.50 and the sashimi type plates cost $6.

Location: Shop 2 City Hoyts, 505 George Street Sydney.


Unas in Ultimo

Have been to the Darlinghurst Unas a number of times. They're always very busy. Came across an ad (I think it was) in a freebie mag about Unas in Ultimo. So we drove down Broadway to look for it last night. I thought it would be close to the the Broadway shopping centre and it was. Same menu. They've been open a month apparently. Wasn't packed at around 6.30pm. I think people are still discovering they've opened another restaurant there. I love the veal scallopini which includes potato rosti and broccoli and carrots. Yum. Nice comfort food. Also the servings are very generous.

This branch is at 133-135 Broadway, Ultimo.


Natural Selection #4 and "Sharp Shooting" show in Auckland

"Dear Friend of Natural Selection,

Natural Selection 4 will be on-line by the end of the day on Wednesday 13 April (NZ time).

For those in Auckland on Wednesday, Natural Selection 4 is being launched at a show at AUT's St Paul St gallery at 5.30pm. The show is called "Sharp Shooting" and it is devoted to "self-published journals, zines, posters and ephemera by artists and designers".

There will be a limited edition of Natural Selection 4 screen-printed envelopes, designed by Jelle Crama from Belgium, for sale at the event (to keep your print-out all nice and dark).

So, what’s in the issue? Featured in 4/25ths of Natural Selection 4:

Fiona Bate’s "Sacrificial Mutilation & Interspecies Love in Contemporary Art".
Nick Austin on his great-aunt's 80th birthday dinner.
Matthew Hyland on the "teeth of the underdog’s saw".
Terrence Handscomb on the medical arts in Los Angeles.

There is, of course, 21/25ths more...

Sharp Shooting is supported by Canon New Zealand.
Exhibition continues until 14 May 2005.

St. Paul St.
School of Art & Design
Auckland University of Technology
WM107, 34 St. Paul Street
Central Auckland

Telephone: 64 9 9179999 extn. 8313
Facsimile: 64 9 9179916"

Rachel Gilbert interview in SMH

SMH interviews Rachel Gilbert in an article titled: 'Questions for Rachel Gilbert'.

"Former Sydneysider Rachel Gilbert, 22, has been appointed head designer for hotel heiress Nicky Hilton's new fashion label. She talks to Holly Byrnes...


Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Andrew Denton interview with Michael Stipe

Andrew Denton interviewed Michael Stipe of R.E.M. on Enough Rope on Monday night. It was a cool interview.

The transcript of the interview can be found at:

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Special preview of The Interpreter + Q+A with Sydney Pollack - 12 April

Popcorn Taxi presents a special preview of The Interpreter + Q&A with acclaimed director/ producer Sydney Pollack

"Popcorn Taxi is proud to announce a special preview of the outstanding new thriller THE INTERPRETER starring NICOLE KIDMAN and SEAN PENN. After the screening join Academy Award winning director SYDNEY POLLACK for an exclusive interview and audience Q&A (live via phone direct from Berlin), with ABC Radio National's JULIE RIGG.

THE INTERPRETER is set against the high stakes background of geo-politics and counter-terrorism in the tension filled atmosphere of the United Nations. The film has NICOLE KIDMAN as an interpreter unwittingly caught up in an assassination plot. SEAN PENN is a government agent assigned to protect her - but is she telling all she knows?

For director POLLACK whose credits include the Oscar winning OUT OF AFRICA (1985) and TOOTSIE (1982), the film is a welcome return to a genre he has excelled in with films like ABSENCE OF MALICE (1981), THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975) and THE FIRM (1993). THE INTERPRETER is the first movie ever to be allowed to shoot inside the UN itself. It features a fast-paced, politically sophisticated screenplay that daringly provokes controversial questions about current US foreign policy. It's also a ripping yarn and a touching human story."


Time: 7.30pm
Date: Tuesday, March 12th, 2005
Where: Valhalla Cinema
Address: 166 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Entry: $15 / $13 Conc.

NOTE: Advance bookings will NOT be available for this session. Cash sales only.
All tickets will be sold on a first come basis from 6:00pm at the cinema on the night.


Search-engine savvy librarian shares some of her expertise

Article where Mary Ellen Bates talks about the values of the librarian/ info professional and some of the things Google doesn't search. Plus you can't talk to Google, like you can to a librarian.


AGIdeas Design Conference - 26, 27, 28 April in Melbourne

The AGIdeas International Design Forum will include the following speakers:

Adam Elliot, David Webster from IDEO, USA, David Carson, USA, Philip Brophy, Paul Cohen - Mother, UK, Garth Walker, South Africa, Jennifer Sterling, USA, Shiego Fukuda, Japan, Vince Frost, Australia and many others.

Sounds like a really interesting line-up.

Hamer Hall The Arts Centre
100 St Kilda Road
26, 27, 28 April
9:30am - 5:30pm

Article on Neil Perry

Article on Neil Perry in the SMH titled 'Heat of the son'. Also has a recipe for chocolate cake, how to fry an egg, and his top 5 cookbooks.

Saturday, April 2, 2005