Shake 522: And the other one

September 9, 2011

Jem, Tokyo (Japan), year?

We’ve been without a little Jem-magic for a while. Have you been feeling it? This is the other set of hair baubles. How much do we love? Two statements and two questions. We’re all in balance. I sound crazy! Can you tell that I’m dying for the weekend?!


Shake 424: Grotesque

June 3, 2011

Jem, Tokyo (Japan)? Year?

Don’t you just love Wikipedia? I always thought gargoyles were just part of the gothic architectural style, but I Wiki-learn today that they actually have a purpose other than decoration. They’re a design device to protect masonry walls from water erosion by directing the rain away, usually via a spout like the gargoyle’s mouth. Wiki-interesting huh? But my little gargoyle looks a little depressed. I really should have saved this dome for a rainy day.

Bunny, Tokyo (Japan), April 2010

It’s only March and we’ve had devastating floods in Queensland, a tragic earthquake in Christchurch and now a heartbreaking disaster in Japan. There is neither rhyme nor reason.

Shirley, I hope you’re well and ok over there!

My coffee mojo is back!

Shirley, Tokyo's 100 Yen Shop (Japan), Feb 2011

When you grow up in each others’ pockets and your fathers are best buddies, you might as well call each other family. So when I talk about Shirley, I always affectionately call her my cousin. Shirley has spent the last 3 years devoting herself to a scholarship masters degree at the Tokyo University of the Arts while living on carrot sticks, sultanas and occasionally some sake when she’s got the money.

She’s returned briefly with a suitcase full of artwork and more importantly, to be fattened up by her grandmother! On her last visit home, she asked friends to draw their dream spinning top on a postcard which would form the basis of a year-long project – the results now being exhibited at the Gaffa Gallery. The pieces are colourful, intricate and what I love is that each contributor (via their postcard) adds as much humour as the artist does. It’s a beautiful harmony of individual artwork and Shirley’s 3D interpretation. My favourite was the albino alpaca, which just needed a little bit of water to transform it into a spinning snowdome top. It’s definitely a lot of fun and she’s had an amazing response to it, so check it out. There’s even a little table filled with spinning tops so you can spin yourself out!

Unfortunately, I caught the tail end of the exhibition, so there are only a couple of days left. They stop spinning on Tuesday.

Shirley's The Spinning Top

'Albert the albino alpaca is dancing upon the spinning earth'

The Newfie's beauty inspired by a German postage stamp

A beautiful red skirted spin

A hovering UFO

Some more magical pieces

Spin yourself out!

Shake 189: Tie-land

October 11, 2010

Jem, Tokyo (Japan), 2002

What would a week be without a little Jem-magic? If there’s a dome in an unconventional form, Jem will find it. What are they? Snowdome hair ties! Sometimes I wonder whether she did anything else in Japan besides dome-hunting, not even I can track these things down.

Shake 179: Last day!

October 1, 2010

Jem, Tokyo, 2002

Shake 172: Dome details

September 24, 2010

Jem, Tokyo, 2002

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I cheated a little with Shake 4 by blogging Jem’s quad pack of sports domes at once, so I’m making up for it now by posting these individually. Let’s just call Shake 4 the Tennis Quad and let’s celebrate today with a little bit of juggling eh? Does anyone even care if I blog 4 or 1? THRIFTerrific, put your hand down.

Shake 156: The Scone Mission

September 8, 2010

Jess/Toku, Tokyo (Japan), June 2010

When I caught up with Jess on the weekend, she’d been making preparations to bake scones for Father’s Day which made me recall a little scone adventure I’d had a couple of years back.

Now, I love scones. I love the traditional plain ones with butter, jam and a dollop of cream. So when I saw a documentary about how the best scones in the world were made by the women of the Country Women’s Association (CWA), it became my mission to get to one of their meetings.

Living in the city, it was difficult to find a CWA meeting occurring outside of business hours (most of the women were probably retired), but I succeeded in finding one in the evening and right in the city. I couldn’t have timed it better – it was their Annual General Meeting. Oh, I could just taste those scones.

My next problem was finding a ‘plus one’. With a plan as ridiculous as this, I couldn’t see any of my girlfriends agreeing to it, so my only hope was my sister. With a couple of weeks to go, the likelihood of wearing her down was looking good, but every time I pleaded, she FLATLY refused. I think memories of the time I dragged her to a Paper Scissors Rock Championship were still fresh in her mind. My last hope was the Hubs. He’s obviously not a woman, but he’s definitely from the country. Surely they couldn’t refuse him.

So with real excitement and anticipation (ok, maybe just on my part) we entered the hall on the night. Picture this: one Aussie bloke that may well have looked like he was from the country and one young woman in her early 30s who… let’s just say I am not Caucasian. We were met with about 40 pairs of eyes. And when I excitedly announced that I was there for the CWA meeting, most of those eyes widened considerably. Then we were swarmed. Surrounded by women who wanted to know who we were and how we came to be there, I only had a few chances to see the food on the table only feet away. Scones? Scones? NO scones.

With the crowd growing and the only other man sticking to the Hubs like a magnet, getting to that table of finger food was impossible, but a lovely woman must have noticed my hopeful glances because she brought over a couple of tasters for us to sample!

Despite the lack of scones, the night surprised us both – their guest speaker had prepared a slide show of his journey up Mount Everest and to the Antarctic, which was not only inspiring but visually breathtaking, so I came away with beautiful pictures in my head.

What does this all have to do with Jess and this Tokyo dome? Not much, but I love when something small triggers a memory you haven’t brought to the surface for a while.

Will I give the scone mission and the CWA another go? Oooh. I think it’s highly likely.

Snowdomes, Tokyo (Japan), Dec 2007


After snowboarding in Niseko, the Hubs and I spent a week eating and drinking our way through Tokyo. I found this dome in a cuuuute store in the middle of Yoyogi Park next to Harajuku Station. It’s always hard when you’re travelling and you have to restrict yourself to one dome per location due to baggage restrictions, not sure how long I stood in front of the selection at the shop, it’s always a painful decision.

The things I remember about this trip: the owner of a tiny bar in Shinjuku dressed up as Dragonball-Z was in love with the Hubs, an opulent birthday meal at the top of the Lost in Translation hotel where it felt like you could see all of Tokyo and the super-fun miniscule yakitori bars in Pis Alley (sounds appetising doesn’t it).

After being dragged to Sanrio Puroland to meet Kitty herself, she basically followed us all around Tokyo.

HK in the flesh: a defining moment in the Hub's life

Believe it or not: a HK musical


Sake + yakitori in Pis Alley