My friend Edward told me about an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix about Ivan Orkin, a ramen cook with a fascinating life story. The food aspect of the documentary is great but his story is even better. Nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn becomes most famous ramen chef in Tokyo, Japan by putting a little schmaltz (Yiddish: chicken fat) in his traditional Japanese cookery. Brilliant.
If you stream Netflix give it a go:
Chef’s Table, Season 3, Episode 4: Ivan Orkin
Anne and I plan to eat in one of Ivan’s two restaurants the next time we’re in New York.
He’s also got a book out that includes his story and the complete recipe for his shio ramen dish, including his ramen noodles with rye flour.
Ivan Ramen on iBooks
Ivan Ramen on Amazon
Of course, pictures of Ivan and his food are all over Flickr.
Flickr member taro kunugi posted this great shot of a crushed can that used to contain coffee. We noticed coffee in cans from vending machines twenty years ago when we were in Japan.
This shot reminds me of the work of Irving Penn: large format prints of half-smoked cigarettes he found on the ground.
The Makomanai Cemetery is on the outskirts of Sapporo, Japan. This 1500 ton stone Buddha sat alone, above ground for fifteen years. The cemetery hired architect Tadao Ando to change the relationship of the Buddha to the cemetery. He did this by building a hill of lavender plants around the statue and the results are spectacular.
Watch the video full screen. It has no sound that I know of but it’s perfect in silence.
Update: My friend Joy Brown found this video of the building of the hill around the Buddha.
My Flickr contact Yee Kim posted another shot of the Shiraito Waterfall north of Karuizawa, Japan with his Ricoh GR. This is an incredible image, well framed and perfectly exposed.
My flickr contact Yee Kim took this outstanding long exposure of Shiraito Waterfall north of Karuizawa, Japan with his Ricoh GR.
This is a wonderful, short video on the process of throwing, trimming, and glazing a series of small bowls.
The potter, Haruya Abe has a large Instagram following and many more images and videos up there.
[via The Kid Should See This]
Many years ago when we were visiting friends in Japan we were leaving a temple and decided to use a public restroom.
I went into the men’s room and used a urinal which looked a bit different from urinals I was used to but no doubt different commercial porcelain casting companies and different cultures make for differences in the shape of things like men’s urinals.
However, I noticed a button on the wall, seemingly independent from the urinal and its plumbing. I had no idea what the button did and I was concerned that pushing it might open a trapdoor in the floor and I’d fall through (joke).
When I met up with my wife and our friend Laurie who, at this point had lived in Japan for over ten years, I asked Laurie what the button was for.
She told me that many years ago Japan underwent a drought and designers had looked for ways to conserve water. One thing they noticed was that, for a variety of reasons, people were flushing before going to the bathroom (not just women which is stated in the video), generally to mask the sound of a fart or other toilet-related sounds. I certainly have noticed people doing this in the US as well: sound masking, men who have trouble peeing hearing running water, cleaning toilet before being near it, etc.
So, clever Japanese designers came up with a solution: digitize the sound of running water and put a button and a speaker at every urinal and toilet, thus saving water and at the same time, allowing people to use the water sound for whatever they needed to.
In the video above, the single button is replaced by a control panel and but the sound button is still there, now called the “privacy button.”
Flickr member Alfonso De Gregorio took this excellent picture of a bamboo grove in the Eikando Zenrinji Temple, Kyoto, Japan with his Ricoh GR.
Flickr member Alfonso De Gregorio took this great picture of a large, gnarly tree canopy in a park in Kyoto, Japan with his Ricoh GR.
The trunk and branches look like oak but the leaves (on zooming in up on Flickr) look more like maple.
My flickr contact Marser took this fantastic image of a walkway approach to the Bishamondo temple in Kyoto, Japan with his Fuji X-T10.