Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

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Part I …

March 21, 2009

Well, Nihon. I’m going to have to post in parts, chunks, bits. The reason for this is that I observed many different sides of Japan and another flame of interest in me has been sparked (interests are awesome, but they suck all your time when you want to be pursuing other interests).

I saw lots of very cool stuff. I met people that amazed me with their kindness and their willingness to talk and put up with my daft attempt at speaking some Japanese. I saw and listened to brilliant musicians play. I also saw an amazing and different (but essentially the same) form of capitalism. I saw artefacts of Japanese culture that spoke to me from a whole new and interesting perspective. I listened to and attempted to speak the amazing language that can be subtle but on closer inspection very expressive and straightfoward at the same time. I saw some weird things. I saw some dark stuff beneath a rather polite surface. I could go on forever. So, the point is that I can’t just write about all this stuff in one post. Hence… the chunks.

Part I: Food

Food in Japan is interesting. For a vegan, it is both challenging and interesting. It varies, like in any country. Highlights:

– A little backstreet bar ‘n’ grill in Osaka. Grilled vegetables (zucchini, yellow capsicum, sweet potato and others) cooked by the guy behind a glass panel in front of you. All spoke a bit of English and we spoke a little Japanese back. We had a few beers (I liked most Japanese beers) and then a few nips of warm sake. Nice food and nice and interesting people. I think they were taking the piss a few times with us, but it was all in good fun.

– Hiroshima: Sweet potato cart on the side walk along Peace Boulevard on the evening of December 25th (the date when Japanese couples go on dates together). Old man selling hot sweet potato kept warm with gas. Wrapped in foil, a half sweet potato with it’s skin. You kind of eat it in the same way as a kebab, but it’s a really nice sweet potato taste! Perfect for an evening when you’re freezing your butt off ’cause it’s like -2⁰c. Really warm and tasty.

– Fresh noodles with a massive tofu piece on top pretty much anywhere in Kyoto. The tofu piece has a very strong soy taste and I did get sick of it after a few days, but it was great the first time. Fresh noodles with vegetable-based broth again anywhere in Kyoto. It’s easier to get these in Kyoto, where shojin ryori (buddhist inspired vegan meals) are served by monks in temples around Kyoto.

– Hhhmmm. Sapporo. Sapporo was an aesthetically beautiful place and the people were nice (it was also all cold and snowy – which was a novelty for me who’d only really ever seen snow in Tasmania and it was nothing like this), but the tabemasu experience for a vegan was very difficult. Seafood everywhere and in everything. Managed to get by eating, well, salad. One special mention though. At an onsen about an hour and half outside of Sapporo, we got this awesome vegan Nepalese curry. Yum.

– Tokyo: Three words: Fujino Tofu Restaurant! The area of Rappongi wasn’t really my cup-of-tea, but it’s worth going to once for an awesome set of desserts whipped up from tofu and soy-based stuff. These included sponge cake, cream cake, ice-cream cake, whipped cream and other stuff. Nice.

Assorted Pakistani, Nepalese and Indian restaurants in Shinjuku.

Nice Vegetarian/Vegan place about a 10 minute walk from JR Ochanomizu station in the middle of the book district (which is amazing!) serving an assortment of stuff like dahl and rice, steamed and boiled sweet potato, delicious pickled vegetables (I think some were pickled black-bean strips) and assorted stuff. One of the workers insisted on telling me several times that the coffee was definitely from Brazil. OK.

“Vegan Healing Cafe” in Shibuya. Backstreets near “Tokyu Hands DIY Department Store”. Nice organic simple food. Not the best vegan food I’ve had, but still nourishing (everything comes with a cup of steamed brown rice) and some leafy salads (and rather inexpensive).

Yeah, basically everywhere and anywhere. You find them by getting purposefully lost and looking around whilst doing so.

As for the carnivores, you’ll have no trouble finding places that serve up the fourth stage of the subjugation of animals, just like in most other parts of the world.

I’ll be back soon with part II: My impression of Capitalism in Japan.

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It’s been a while

November 19, 2008

Damn – who would have thought that life would take over from blogging? Yes, the posts have been few and far between during the last year on tp. But, in what could only be described as one hell of a year (mostly in good ways – including being rushed to hospital and spending three weeks there – yes I did manage to reflect in a positive manner on this and also spending a few weeks in Spain!), I am now beginning to wind down. What an amazing year it has been all over the world. As I gather my thoughts about several issues, I’ll be back here to post them (including my take on Japan as I’ll be spending a month there soon). So, whoever is still visiting here, expect more flowerly, angry and hopefully insightful shit to show up a little more often over the next six months. Still here – just much more busy in the real world these days (don’t worry – it’s all good stuff contributing to the individual revolutionary activity of the masses of this beautiful shithole of a planet). 🙂

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The Expanse

May 6, 2008

I jotted down this small passage today as it came to me in a brief lull at work.

We don’t even know how big the universe is. We know that it is still expanding (actually, it’s getting quicker at doing this as time – whatever that is – passes). We think that mysterious matter we call “dark energy” makes up 73% of it, but we’re not even sure what this “dark energy” is. We know that there are massive amounts of energy spread throughout the universe, but we’re not sure what ultimate form this energy takes. We’re not sure exactly what time is and how it “passes” (or is that just our perception?). And as this and a myriad of other questions are speculated, theorised or philosophised about by all of us, the striking fact that we are existing amongst this vast expanse of spacetime, matter, energy and each other jumps up and down on my heart as it pumps blood into the reflective consciousness of my mind.

Word.

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Back

April 24, 2008

After 4 months I’m back. It was an interesting excercise (excercise meaning me being too damn busy and in the moments in between too damn lazy to re-connect to the internet on a faster and cheaper plan after moving house). I felt naked without my daily stream of information overload and there’s only so much browsing you can do at work (meaning I get 5 mins if I’m lucky). I kept informed through Radio National and NewsRadio… But, I find if you listen to NewsRadio for more than half an hour, you just get really depressed. Anyways, pointless rambling aside, I’m back and still angry, still concerned, still arrogant and still walking along the fine ridge that marries libertarianism with more general leftist philosophy. Watch this space.

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Now we play the waiting game

November 23, 2007

So, we wait for the news bundles of Friday night and Saturday morning…

And now we play the waiting game…

Ah, waiting game sucks! Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!

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Worse ways to spend a Sunday

November 11, 2007

Ah, yes. I’m one of the few people who actually like living in Canberra. Spent most of the morning and the early afternoon soaking up the sunlight on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin re-reading some Roman history. The summary of my Sunday can be seen below:

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday…

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Millions of years of evolution… and…

May 26, 2007

Browsing the front page of the SMH this morning, I come across this:

There’s lazy, and then there’s Las Vegas lazy.

In increasing numbers, Las Vegas tourists exhausted by the four miles of gluttony laid out before them are getting around on electric “mobility scooters.”

Don’t think trendy Vespa motorbikes. Think updated wheelchair.

Forking over about $40 a day and their pride, perfectly healthy tourists are cruising around Las Vegas casinos in transportation intended for the infirm.

Now, a year or two ago I would have got really angry in this post and swore and lashed out. I’ll hold back on all the anger… I’ll simply speak the truth and apologise if it sounds like lashing out. Because these fat, insolent, moronic, unthinking, pathetic excuses for human beings should be made to justify their continued existence – just like the shit of a city that they’re in.

Now I know that gambling can sometimes become an addictive sickness in some and I know that governments and companies are just as much to blame for this phenomenon as anyone else. But honestly – these morons travel to Las Vegas to lose their money (do they really think they’re going to win?) and then couldn’t even be bothered walking around these shithole casinos that they grace with their presence to feed their money (or loaned money) into this industry of shit.

Gambling is a scourge on our society. It is a disgustingly filthy concept that constitutes a centerpiece in the evolutionary backwater that is Las Vegas. Just when you think that we’ve hit rock bottom, it seems apt that a further slide away from true potential and glory should arise from this cesspool of gluttony.