Thursday, August 4, 2011


Once upon a time my mother asked me what it was I like so much about food, where the essence of my ‘foodie’ snobbery had originated and why must I always whinge about crap food in dingy restaurants and never fully appreciate the glory of a good, solid counter meal?  I was stumped, because to me the answer was very simple. It wasn’t even an answer so much as fact of life:

Doesn’t everyone like food?

I am aware that there are exceptions to this, and I apologise to any insecure anorexic/bulimic twats, who are reading this and thinking ‘no one understands me’ (because they’re right: I don’t understand them).

Food is life, it is our source, it is energy and vitality and experience.  And yes, as a student I do spend most of my time drinking red bull and consuming numerous cup of soups, but that doesn’t make me any less enthusiastic about the prospect of eating something truly delicious (by which I mean chocolate cake for breakfast).

Why are we, as a society so obsessed with the concept of food? If its not masterchef and one of Matt’s excellent cravats on the telly, it’s the Biggest Looser and overly fit, high achievers telling us that protein shakes and celery are the way to go.  We, as a nation and a culture, are in the midst of a discourse on food.  First we are taught discipline by the Biggest Loser, in the earlier part of the year.  Where foods are coded as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and contestants are punished and must repent for having eating ‘bad’ foods.  Too evangelical for my liking, but then I’ll happily admit to being a heathen child.  After the tyranny of the Biggest Loser comes the over-the-top food porn of Masterchef.  From good and bad foods we are suddenly in the midst of over-indulgence.  In a far, far away land where making a croquembouche is just another everyday task, albeit one to swear and cry over and relate back to the camera in a painstakingly boring fashion.

And what excellent food it is too.  Yes, I am one of those people who can not be allowed near book shops, and particularly the cooking section, anywhere in the vicinity of pay day.  But if you ask me (which you didn’t) Nigella Lawson is a goddess amongst mere mortals.  And who wouldn’t want to create something amazing like home made croissants? Though, to be fair, croissants are a right pain in the arse to make.

And apart from being the scene of many an excellent restaurant, Tasmania is blessed with truly excellent foodie necessities, i.e. cheese and wine (yes, here I go on the ‘Tasmania is such a food bowl’ rant, but only briefly, I promise).  Maybe this is true of other places, in fact I’m sure it is, but in Tasmania it just seems all the more real to me (probably because I live here and it is in fact a reality of living here). 

And so, I come at last to my current faves, as far as eating out in Hobart goes.  Ethos Eat Drink and Devil’s Kitchen.

Ethos Eat Drink is a relatively new addition to the Hobart restaurant scene.  Most of the time I just look at it and think its so Melbourne town it hurts, but the fact is this restaurant is light years ahead of the competition and a welcome change to how we experience food (so there).

I’ve been there a couple of times.  The first was just to get a cup of coffee and laugh at my two guys friends recounting their night out antics.  And this was when I was first struck with the effort and general class that goes into the place, i.e they make their own teabags. Seriously. So cool I nearly had to steal one to make sure it was real.  My second and third visits were with my girlfriends for lunches (so sex and the city, I know).  Ethos works under a tapas framework, so rather then ordering set meals you instead order a selection of smaller plates and then graze away whilst drinking too much wine.  I can not stress how amazing the food was.  Yes, the prices are terrifying, but god damn it’s worth it.  The beef cheek is wonderful and if you ever get the chance to have the pate with orange jelly, jump on it with both hands stat.

And now to Devil’s Kitchen.  This is something of a stark contrast to Ethos, but wonderful none the less.  Devil’s Kitchen is on main road Sandy Bay, in Battery Point and from the front you’d find yourself wondering what all the hype was about.  The entrance is a small counter and Bain Marie where you can order/salivate over the menu.  Alternatively, you can navigate your way to the dining room to sit in front of the wood fire and do some more slobbering over the menu.  By the way, did I mention their speciality was burgers? Like actual, delicious, good, filling, nutritious burgers?  I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this place.  Whether it’s a Sunday morning and you’re hung over as fuck or Wednesday lunch time and you don’t have any money, this is a bloody excellent place to be.

And so that is it. My nominal rant and food wanking draw finally to a halt as I quickly run out of things to say.  But seriously, whoever that twat was who said something along the lines of ‘life’s too short to eat bad food’ pretty much hit the nail on the head.  And from my point of view a truer word were never spoken,

Monday, July 11, 2011

the end.

I'm home now, and I have been for a little while, but here's the rest of the story anyway...

From Shin-Osaka we caught the Shinkasen (that is not the correct spelling, I know) to Tokyo. Tokyo Station is the MOST horrid place to find your way around, ever. Fortunately, they have a little old lady at the information counter whose job it is to give you directions (win). So we visited her, and then managed to find our way to our hostel.

At the hostel we were met by Summa's friend Sandra.  She took us to Harajuku for the afternoon.  I know this place is famous, kitsch and full of more tourists then locals, but it is genuinely excellent.  There are so many young people everywhere, crazy fashion, retailers calling to you and tourists snapping away with their digital slr's. So we spent the afternoon walking around and gawping at the clothes. I got followed around for a while by some crazy old Japanese man with bleached blonde hair for a while which was entertaining.  Then we went to a restaurant called Gonpachi.   Apart from being totally excellent, this restaurant is famous for two main reasons: firstly George Bush and the Japanese Prime Minister ate here last time Gee Dubbaya was about, and secondly (and more importantly) Quentin Tarantino modeled part of the set of Kill Bill on the interior.

Monday was Ghibli Museum day and OH MY GAWD I was so excited it was actually embarrassing.  We caught the train to an outer suburb/city called Mitaka to see the museum.  Basically, the museum was full of screaming children (children in a museum seem weird and wrong, especially when they are screaming and in the way and existing).  But anyway, the museum is wonderful and beautiful, but in Japanese so a little bit limited for international visitors.  Mind you, for me the most important element of Miyazaki's work is the transportive quality of the images and the ideas, so it wasn't really a problem.

Tuesday was DISNEYLAND DAY (!) and gosh it was fantastic.  In Tokyo there are two Disneyland's (I'm not even joking), we went to Disney Sea.  Many rides, ice creams, photo opportunities and the purchase of one crazy sparkly red bow for my hair later it was 8pm and we'd stayed to see the 'big show' which was big and filled with fireworks, lights and more sparkly things.

Wednesday was our last day in Japan.  We went for a walk from our hostel to the Imperial Palace to have a nosy around.  Then lunch. Then we missioned on off to the airport hideously early in order to miss the famous Tokyo subway rush hour of doom.

And then we flew home. The end.

Love you and missed you.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

tea and god.

I'm sorry it's so brief and, in all honesty, crap. But here goes...

Last Sunday we had a tour of Kochi by a friend of Jarra's. She's a student in his English class, and though retired works as a volunteer at kochi castle.  Firstly we travelled up one of the mountains behind kochi where there is a temple built in the exact image of one thats in china. We then drove on a bit until we arrived at a nearby temple complex which we walked around. My favorite was the 'one wish' shrine which as it's name suggests will grant you one wish. For some reason a lot of the prayers were for good school marks or exam results - what about peace and happiness i ask you? We then went to the kochi botanical gardens which was next door to the temple. The gardens were amazing and very beautiful. But it was raining so we didn't stay very long.  We had lunch in the city at a Vietnamese restaurant, which was excellent but not at all Vietnamese. In the afternoon we went to kochi castle, most of which burnt down a while ago, but has been rebuilt and is rather excellent. 

On Monday we caught a train out to Nahari which is where Jarra is living. It's about 1 1/2 hours to the east of kochi along the coast. The towns mainly involved in primary industries, there's a deep sea port, forestry, hydro and far too many 'snack bars' (read hostessing/strip club) for the number of people who live there... When in Nahari we walked for about an hour to the north of the town to visit some gardens that where in the style of Monet's gardens in france.  The main feature was naturally the water lilies, most of which weren't in bloom, but anyways. We had lunch at the restaurant there and then hiked back into town. We trained back to kochi and then the hostel, where we had dinner.

Tuesday was exit day for Kochi. We checked out of the hostel way too early in the morning (seriously, it was actually hideous) and caught the train into the main station and from there to Hiroshima.  When we arrived in Hiroshima we caught the tram (or street car) to the centre of town and from there walked to our hotel, the Aster Plaza.  In the afternoon we went the Peace Memorial Park.  The park is a wonderful testament to peace, but was a little disappointing as it looked in need of a little tlc. After the park we went to the A-Bomb Dome which is the remains of a building that have been preserved after the A-bomb was dropped almost dirctly above it.  It's a striking image; both sad and beautiful.  We then went for a quick walk around Hiroshima, ending up at the palace, which we didn't go into.  We then walked to our hotel via the peace memorial museum, which was amazing, but very sad.  

Wednesday we went to an island in the Inland Sea called Miyajima for the day.  It was a long tram ride out of Hiroshima to the port, and then we caught the ferry across the channel to the island.  Miyajima is most famous for its floating Tori, which sits in the bay just out from a temple.  The island is really lovely and peaceful. There seems to be quite a small population of people living there, most of whom seem to cater for the tourists that come to visit, so the place is quite unspoilt.   firstly we caught a cable car up the 'mountain' (read: hill) and we changed half way up and took to a funicular to the top.  From here it was a half hour walked (up hill, damn it) to see the temple, and a further 15 minutes (uphill again, not happy jan) to the summit, where there is an observatory, cafe and lots of puffing, sweating, exhausted tourists (myself included).  After ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the view for a while we started the hike down (all the way down).  On the way we went past (another) temple, this one called the dashi-on temple (or something like that anyway, I can't be bothered looking it up).  Once back in town we had a very average lunch, then wandered around looking at all the touristy crap for sale (I say crap, but that didn't stop me buying stuff).  Then we daunt the ferry and tram back to the city and our hotel.  In the evening we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner.  It was billed as Mexican/vegetarian but was actually totally freaking awesome as well as being Mexican/vegetarian and vegan (seriously, they even had homemade soy cheese. And no, I wasn't brave enough to try any of it). It was run by hippy/rasta japanese guy and there was Marley on the walls and MJ on the Telly. I loved it. And the food was good too (bonus).

Thursday we left Hiroshima for Shin-Osaka. After arriving we left our stuff at the hostel and went off to visit an open air museum of traditional Japanese farmhouses (god we're nerdy). It was pretty cool, and the grounds were really nice, there were gardens and an orchard. Unfortunately there were also Mosquitos. I managed to get bitten 9 times in the first 15 minutes (I swear mossies just think I'm some kind of walking buffet) at which point I asked to leave. We subway-Ed back into shin-Osaka. I bought some manga in English to read (yup, like I said: nerdy). And that was about it for thursday.

Friday we travelled to Koya-San for a day trip. It took us about 3 hours to get there, first the subway (subway in ruch hour was awesome, not), then the train, then a cable car up the side of the mountain and finally a bus. The best part of the day was the graveyard (sounds morbid don't it?). The graveyards huge (over 200,000 monuments) and its a UN World Heritage Site. Walking for 2km in the rain, surrounded by monuments and shrines and the sounds of the pilgrims bells and the monks chanting was pretty bloody fantastic. After the graveyard we lunchedr - tempura! - and then walked to a temple which is the 'headquarters' for Zen Buddhism in japan. The main entertainment at this temple was my being expounded at by some random german bloke about the incredible religious energy of the place (pretty sure someone forgot to take their meds that day... And why do I always attract weirdos? - don't answer that). After more sightseeing we made the trip in reverse back to shin-Osaka for the night.

Today we left Shin-Osaka for greener pastures, by which I mean Hakone. Hakone is something like the lake district of japan and on a clear day you can see Mt Fugi from the lake (but it wasn't a clear day, so we couldn't). We did a cruise of the lake on a PIRATE SHIP (it was excellent) and then a cable car up the mountain to see the geysers and inhale sulfur. Italian for dinner at a local restaurant, which was nice.

Tomorrow we are off to Tokyo for the final couple of days of the adventure, then home on thrusday!

Love you and miss you

Also, sorry about the spelling and grammar. I would care, but I'm tired so I don't. You should feel free to mark it with red or black pen, but no pencils please.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

chopsticks: a futile exercise in dexterity

Yes, I still suck at using chopsticks.

We are now in the city of Kochi - google it - where we are visiting my cousin, Jarra, who is living and working in a town called Nahari, which is an hour or so south of the city.  Today we went rafting in the mountains which was amazing.  The company, Happy Raft, is owned by an Australian expat, and is run by a crew of Aussies, New Zealanders and hippy Japanese blokes.  It was bloody good fun and now I'm pretty sure I just want to go rafting everyday for the rest of the trip and give up on sights and touristy stuff. But anyway, it was fun and we also saw the oldest cedar tree in Japan - and probably the world - which is doing a fine job at 3,000 years old - take that, Christ.  Tomorrow we are going to see Kochi Castle in the morning and then we are going to the markets in the afternoon.

To back track a little...

On Tuesday we went to Nara Park, which is about an hour by train from Kyoto, for a day trip.  The park is an important spiritual place for the Japanese, and is filled with temples and - wait for it - sacred deer, live ones, as in actual little bambis running around the place. I freaking loved it.  And made inappropriate comments about venison stew.

So we spent the day walking around in the blistering heat, looking at the temples and cooing at the deer.  In the evening we went to the district of Gion in Kyoto.  This is where the Geisha's are - or were? - and is a very historic place and very beautiful. So, and all in all, it was a great day.  Until it was upstaged by Wednesday...

Wednesday we caught an early train out of Kyoto to the suburb/town of Inari, where we went to the Fushimi-Inari Shrine.  Anyone who had seen the film 'Memoirs of a Geisha' will know this shrine, the rest of you should jump on google quick smart.  But basically it's a collection of these orange arches - I don't know the proper name of them, sorry Shinto - and they line a path that leads up the mountain and the path is dotted with countless shrines, they are acutally everywhere and almost stacked on top of each other.  All in all I think the walk was about 5km and it was totally amazing. My absolute highlight of Japan, hands down, I don't care what we do for the rest of the trip. 

Actually, I'll probably change that statement after we go to the Gibhli Museum in Tokyo which I am looking forward to as only a nerd can.

So that's the bare essentials of what we've been up to for the last couple of days, though needless to say, its been filled with a thousand other thoughts, sights, impressions and experiences - I'm just to lazy to write them.

So, goodnight unto you all.
Miss you and love you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

kyoto: where the traffic lights sing like birds.

I'd just like to begin by saying that the title of this is not a joke, the traffic lights in Kyoto actually do make birds noises, instead of the beeps, bleeps or alarms or whatever the noise is that they make in Australia. It gives you the impression of being in some sort of jungle metropolis, surrounded by invisible wildlife. It's weird and unsettling; unless you want to be all poetic about it, which I may be at a later stage.

We stayed Sunday night at a YHA on the Gold Coast, just near Coolangatta airport, where it was so cold I had to sleep with two blankets, two jumpers, four towels and thermals on (too stupid for belief, I was under the naive impression it was suppposed to be warm in the QLD).

Flew out Monday morning, direct to Tokyo, then a connecting flight to Osaka. As predicted I was totally stoned off my nut on my flying drugs (my nurse aunt has informed, in a rather panicked manner, that I'm taking twice the recommend dose. No wonder I walk into walls and see double when I take them). But anyways, we had an impromptu concert from some bearded hippy with a banjo (read: gorgeous man/future husband) at the airport before takeoff, and the flight was full of cute Asian kids who didn't scream, talk or try to make me play with them, so all in all the flight was pretty good.

When we got to Osaka we stayed in a hotel in the airport (I think it's name was the Nico Hotel??? - who even cares anyway) which had illusions of grandeur it's cheap carpet and refusal to leave complimentary biscuits in the rooms couldn't quite cover.

This morning we caught the train to Kyoto, which took about 90 mins. Breakfast consisted of some kind of hamburger wrapped in a bun that tasted of sugar (do not try that at home kids, it was horrendous). When we got to Kyoto we wandered around lost for a little while before we found our hostel. We left our bags there and set off with a vague idea that we'd like to try the Philosophers Walk. Never made it that far, instead we walked in the sweltering heat to the Imperial Palace, which is surrounded by public gardens, and took a tour of the palace. It's all been rebuilt, most of it after the 'big fire' (I kid you not, that's what they call it) 160 years ago. But it's all an exact replica and very beautiful, so definitely worth a visit.

After the tour, Summa and I once again made a valiant effort to find the Philsophers Walk (read: half-hearted effort, mostly in search of ice cream), but again never got there. Turns out the beginning of the walk was about 5km away, so not sorry that we abandoned our attempt.

We caught the subway back to Kyoto station. Here they have this massive underground food and shopping mall which links the subway, trains and buses. We had vego raman for dinner, which was deelish. We were also enticed into buying these creme caramel sort of things, mostly because the company that makes them has the symbol of the samurai and I'm a sucker for all things novel and remotely dorky.

And thats about it for now. Was given an 'economy straw' at dinner, which as far as I can tell is an ordinary straw with the word economy written on it. Also, the hostel manager has just put a jug of sake down in front of me and fortunately no one has as yet warned him what a bad idea that wash. Also, I saw bottles of sweat today. Not really but that's what the label says, I took a photo to prove it's weirdness and bad-englishness.

Off to Nara tomorrow for a day trip. Not really sure why, apparently there is some deer park or something there that mother wants to see.

Missing you all
Love Love

Sunday, June 19, 2011


So. Regular blog has transformed into a wanky travel blog for a short period (even more wanky then a regular blog I hear you ask? Grow up, moron)

Currently still in Australia, the Gold Coast to be more precise. To be even more precise, we're staying in a YHA and I can see the runway of the airport from my window. Spent last night in Brisbane with rellies, then caught the train down today. Flying out tomorrow. First flying to Cairns, then Tokyo and then Osaka so it's going to be a long day, mind you, I'll be so stoned on my flying drugs that I'm not going to remember it anyway.

Staying at the airport at Osaka tomorrow night, then onward unto the brink.

Not many adventures to report thus far other then British ping pong master who can earn $2500 a week selling superannuation and Israelites who think my iPad is the coolest thing in history (they get points for being clever and noticing the freaking obvious)

Send me stories and keep me updated while I'm away, I'll be missing you all more then I could ever say

Also, tweeting, emailing and face booking like a twit, so keep in touch

Love Love

Saturday, May 21, 2011


As you're undoubtedly aware, yesterday marked the advent of the rapture. And if you're anything like me this meant the day involved going from freaking out about the end of the world and wanting to get all your loved ones together in one place so you could hug them and all scream and cry together when the end came, and (more often) a superior sense of pretense that you don't believe in all that 'end of the world' crap anyway and the knowledge that humanity is doing far worse to itself then mother nature could ever want to do to us.

And then the time came. And passed. And in amongst the deafening sound of the world not ending and Googling to check what time it was even supposed to be happening I was left thinking that the rapture might be the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. 

But it did raise an all important question to ponder as I wandered around my still-intact house this morning, stolen toast in one hand (sorry housemates) and chai in the other: what if the world really was ending?

Quite frankly, I'm reasonably certain I'd be the most useless person in history to be around. I'd probably collect all my favourite books together, go out and buy a puppy and then sit out the end of the world huddled in a corner pretending it all wasn't happening.  And I don't honestly think I'd ever be able to collect all my loved ones together to scream and cry together as that would mean admitting the end of the sodding world was actually happening, and I am seriously all about the denial thing.

So, the moral of the story goes something like this: the end of the world/apocalypse/rapture thingamabob appears to have been, gone and been wildly unsuccessful and the most pressing issue in my life is still how much toast I can steal from my housemates without them noticing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

serious issues.

I have serious issues. There, I said it. Now let me be more specific before you tune out in a effort to avoid the ramblings of a prematurely senile mind.

My main issue is with the way I live.

Within me there are two predominant forces regarding my lifestyle.  The first is strongly eco-friendly and would happily live in a cottage on a hill, without electricity or a car, if it meant saving the world.  Needless to say, this is my not-so-inner hippy speaking.  The second force is a love for my current way of life.  I love living in the city, I love my car, I love shopping, I love pretty much everything about 21st Century life.

So basically I am in conflict.  And as I see it, humanity is on the precipice when it comes to sorting our shit out.  Are we capable of either evolving or changing in time to stop sending ourselves off to hell in a hand-basket?  And in amongst the rest of humanity there is little old me, who lacks sufficient motivation to make the changes needed to really do my part.  Can we continue to put the job up to government and then whine like buggery when the make any chances that inconvenience us?

Oh, gosh, let me think about that one for a minute.

I guess what I really think is that we need to get our shit together quick smart.  Regardless of whether or not you believe in Global Warming, the fact remains that humanity is unsustainable.  That's the bottom line right there. Stop being distracted by science and politics and try common sense for a minute you douchebag.

I'm not immune from criticism, I'm just as bad as everyone else.  But I do want change, whether it is evolution or devolution, because I've had about as much as I can take.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I have serious issues.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

i wonder.

Do you ever wonder if this is all just a metaphor for your conscious mind?
If the things you touch, smell, love, are anything but the nonsense of thought?
What if none of this is real.
What if you are just a broken and lost soul surround by sensations you cannot understand.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

imagination and adventure.

When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not - Mark Twain

The imagination of the young is beyond comprehension.  But what happens to this imagination, those endless worlds and possibilities as we transition into first adolescence and later adulthood?  I like to believe I am something of a dreamer, a philosopher amongst my peers, but I never gave a thought to my lost imagination.  I don't know if I even realized it was lost.  Once upon a childhood I was able to imagine worlds and stories, to create a lifetime's worth of inspiration and pluck it from the air around me to become a part of my world.  Where did all that hope, all those ideas go? I didn't realize it was gone.

The fact is my imagination came back to me in a dream, boring and generic though that is. In place of my usual dreams, a compilation of fragments from my everyday life, I dreamt of exploration.  I found a place at the end of the world.  A place of oceans, rain, peace and friendship. 

This dream was so vivid, the colours, the rain, even the actions of my imagined self that I hope it always stays with me.  But the intensity of this fictitious world has restarted my imagination.  Reinvigorated my daydreams.  Made me wonder about the world and what adventures there are waiting in my future. 

All guilt about my carbon footprint aside, I have plans to travel extensively in my lifetime.  Before the dream it was something I wanted to do, but in a half forgotten manner.  This dream has given me understanding of what travel is to me.  It is to explore and imagine different ways of life within the confines of reality.  It is my adult imagination.  It is adventure, danger, longing, beauty and discovery. 

The imagination of my youth, which I mourn without the ability to ever return fully to its boundless opportunity, must now evolve to become the imagination of my adulthood; grounded in reality, in opportunities, missed chances, loss, and the future.  The imagination of my adulthood is the imagination of the world.