Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sapporo Food: Shindofuji (organic vegetarian restaurant)

Not only back, but attempting to use my blog for the power of... good? I swear someone slipped something undetectable into my juice this morning, either that or this festering, blighted summer is finally coming to an end.

I mean, the blogger software seems to be doing its best to actively discourage me from blogging (in entirely new ways!) but that's just like getting in touch with an old (not-too-bright) friend, and to be expected. Almost every online service I use seems to have seen some kind of overhaul recently, and to my jaded, well practiced fingers, every single one of them has become more difficult to use. Gotta hang in there and wait for my muscle memory to update so I can stop swearing at things I suppose.

Wait! A post about a fooderie in Sapporo! That's right, here's the place, or rather here is the blue sign marking the stairs down to it:

It's called Shindofuji (身土不二) and is hidden under the AU store just North of Sapporo Station (diagonally opposite Yodobashi Camera, very central). Miraculously, for a country in which the concept of vegetarianism is baffling to the majority of the population, it is not only a vegetarian restaurant, but an organic one too. I'd like to add something to the effect that it also serves macrobiotic, or microbiotic food, but I... really have no idea which one of those is correct, if it's even true, or what it would actually mean if it were true. Let's just stick to the facts I established when actually speaking to the nice women who work there.

Shindofuji was probably one of the first restaurants I went to after I moved to Japan - I just happened to be invited along with a group of people who were going there - but it took me a hell of a long time to find my way back, partly due to the opening hours. I'm not sure if it opens in the evening, but in the day it only opens for lunch, from 11am to 3pm, which means I've headed there a bunch of times only to find it closed.

The food is great, although I don't know how much that comes down to the fact that it tastes and feels so damn healthy. I almost always go there at lunch time, and get the lunch set with brown rice (Genmai Teishoku) which is essentially a fantastic bowl of brown rice, miso soup and a variety of small pickles, vegetable and tofu dishes. Man, I love that rice, really. They put some kind of crushed sesame or pepper or something on top... Oh boy.

Here, I blushingly (ah, such a terrible adverb for a guy to use) admit that I've sadly never taken a picture of the kind of food they serve down there. Either no camera, or I just wanted to eat, or just plain didn't want to look like a tourist there. So here, I supply a link to a Japanese food blog indexing thing, there's a bunch of photos if you click around links there: GO! Ah, someone on there says that it's macrobiotic, so there you go.

I like the simple, hearty (and very Japanese) flavours, but I don't think it'll satisfy people who don't usually have much time for vegetarian food. That said, I've only really tried the lunch set, and they have a whole menu with a veggie curry that my sister tried when she came, and a lot more besides. It's all bound to be pretty good, and healthy as hell. Plus, for real vegetarian places, you are certainly not spoiled for choice here, so it's worth checking out. I really like the place, and the people who work there are incredibly nice, so if I hear about any of you lot putting your feet up on the tables or causing a ruckus... there'll be trouble.

Also, y'know, it's macrobiotic apparently! Whatever that means.

It's going on the map of course, which is nice, because the only thing I've been able to do to my map recently was delete Half Dime from there because the place closed down. It was this crazy enormous sci-fi mining colony thing and we were driving past as they were pulling the whole thing down with bulldozers the other day! I almost cried.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Back in Blog / A Solution to the Case of the Non-Existent Centenarians

Whuh? There's still a blog here you say and people occasionally stumble across it in (what I assume to be) their drunken, lurching quest for distraction on the internet? Shit, balls, expletives, I better start writing it again. Eight months off is probably enough.

PEOPLE! Have you heard about 'The Curious Case of the Non-Existent Centenarians'? I'm sure you have, my folks knew slightly more about it than I do when I spoke to them yesterday, including the juicy tidbit about the dude who was carrying his mother's bones around in his backpack. Aliens have abducted a significant number of the elderly in Japan!
Eh? Not abducted by aliens? Merely shuffled off this mortal coil undetected by local authorities, or had their passing covered up by their offspring due to social security fraud? Oh - well that's a lot more believable. Although rather shabby.

But fear not: Japan listens, observes and finds a way to make things better. Or rather appliance manufacturer Zojirushi does with the Mimamori Hot-Line range of hot water pots:

Some of you may not be following so well, in which case I direct you to the TV commercial on their website here. That too, I admit, is rather confusing, so let me break it down for you. The pot sends an email to a designated address when it's used, thus you know that your granny is still at least alive enough to make tea. In the advert the middle aged son at home checks his mail to find that his mother hasn't used the pot today. "Oh, she must have gone out," he sings (horribly) and of course she's come for a surprise visit, bringing his wife to attention because that whole Mother-in-Law thing is universal.
At work today someone also told me about a town in which these kind of human 'dead man's handles' are attached to TVs in elderly households, so if they don't push the button every day someone will come round and check on them. It's all remarkably smart, and while it doesn't solve Japan's elderly problem it certainly helps to have an idea of extactly how many of them there actually are...