Flasher Usagi

May 17, 2007

The designers of this ad for NOVA corporation clearly weren’t thinking too hard. Their mascot is the NOVA Usagi, a hybrid pink rabbit with a beak. As if looking like a deformed chimera that’s escaped from a genetics lab wasn’t enough, in the picture below, the Usagi appears to be waving his winky around like a depraved flasher!

Life: The Bargain

May 15, 2007

After spotting this huge sign I spent the rest of the day pondering what its profound slogan could mean. The deep, philosophical message left me baffled. Is life inherently a great deal? Should you value each moment of your life as if it were a wonderful bargain? What on earth were they trying to tell me?
Then somebody explained to me that it was just a department store called “Life” that was having a bargain sale. Hmph.


May 13, 2007

“Wesley” is a legendarily mental bar in Fujisawa city, down a side-street near the station. I have been there countless times but never before about two AM. A trip to Wesley is always eventful, you meet new people, and lots of fun and surreal occurrences happen. The walls of the place are evidence of this, plastered with a photos of past customers, and covered with the gibberish marker-pen writings of over-excited drunkards. It’s a bona fide history museum, a rogues’ gallery of generations of wasted English teachers.

What really makes the place is the eccentric bar-owner, Yo-Chan, an affable host who looks not unlike a Japanese John Lennon, complete with round spectacles and a middle-parting. A big fan of music, Yo-Chan named his bar after a Jazz musician called Wesley…something. If you’re lucky, Yo Chan will get out his guitar for a sing-along.

Yo-Chan always persuades his customers to drink his specialty, the “Shine Shine” (“die die!”) a huge, milky monster of a cocktail, which renders the rest of the night a total blur. Oddly, everyone in the place seems to drink it, though. If you’re feeling particularly foolhardy, I’d recommend the snappily named “Shine Shine with red shit,” a turbo-charged, hardcore version of the the original Shine Shine. The “red shit” is a kind of intensely strong Jamaican Rum, but the name could just as easily mean that your shit will be red the next day.

If you’re in Fujisawa, pop in. Leave your mark on the wall for posterity, and neck a Shine Shine or two.

Tel: 0466-28-4493
You can see the address and a map at this web page.

Confrontational T-Shirts

May 12, 2007

I saw these two girls at a music festival in Tokyo and pestered them for a photograph. Do you think they were trying to tell me something?

I’m guessing the two girls didn’t meet by coincidence. I wonder if they felt the need to stand next to each other all day.

Refreshingly Honest Bar Sign

May 4, 2007

Here’s a sign I spotted outside a bar in Yokohama. Presumably the sign is supposed to say “Shot Bar.” Either that, or they’re refreshingly honest.

Funny Thai Food Stand

May 1, 2007

Here’s a picture of a Thai food stall with a preposterous name. I took the picture last year at the annual Thai food festival in Yoyogi park, Tokyo. (“Ming Pooh” is British slang for “stinky excrement”, fact fans.)

“Japanese” Cocktails

May 1, 2007

I recently learned of a cocktail known as “The Japanese Cocktail.” Nobody knows how the cocktail received its name (including my local Japanese bartenders, who’ve never heard of it) but it appeared in the first ever bar-tending book, “How To Mix Drinks” (1867) by Jerry Thomas.
Suffice to say, it probably isn’t actually Japanese. According to DrinkBoy.com, “The Japanese Cocktail is a wonderful cocktail that is very easy to make. It’s slightly sweet almond flavor makes it a very approachable cocktail for almost anybody.”
Here’s the recipe:
* 2 ounces brandy
* 1/2 ounce orgeat (almond syrup)
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Sounds good! Unfortunately, orgeat and Angostura bitters are not easy to get hold of in these parts, so I won’t be trying it anytime soon.

Another cocktail, which I have actually tried, is “the Japanese Slipper.” It’s quite easy to get the ingredients for this one, (including Midori, a sweet melon cordial made by Suntory.)
Here’s the recipe from the International Bartenders Association (IBA) website:

JAPANESE SLIPPER (cocktail glass )
3.0 cl. Midori
3.0 cl. Cointreau
3.0 cl. Lemon juice
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of honeydew melon.

The Japanese Slipper is rather sweet and fruity- a little girly for my taste. Much more up my street is “the Kamikaze,” another cocktail which I highly doubt originates in Japan, but is guaranteed to get the party started. Here’s the recipe for that, also from the IBA site-

KAMIKAZE (cocktail glass )
3.0 cl. Vodka
3.0 cl. Cointreau
3.0 cl. Lemon juice
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Why not try all three inauthentic Japanese cocktails in a row to jump start your evening? Might be a laugh.