The Making of a “Geisha” a Photolog

Several years ago my friend, Ken Nishikawa (you can see his Youtube channel here), and I shot a commercial for an anniversary for the Fiat 500cc.

This is the making of that commercial:

Here are some of the stills from that commercial… This is the process that most people never see: The making of a “Geisha.”

All photos by Ayumi Maeno. Thanks to Matsuchiyo and Koichi for the costume and dressing. (Who is Matsuchiyo? Watch this….) As I recall, the entire make up and dressing for the “Geisha” took about 4.5 hours.

This is like a religious experience….. Enjoy!

Gaijin Gourmet: Soba Wars At Hanzomon Station in Tokyo

Long, long ago in a land far away, Soba was made sometime during the Tokugawa period.

The ancient scrolls of the Wikipedities say:

Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. It is synonymous with a type of thin noodle made

from buckwheat flour, and in Japan can refer to any thin noodle (unlike thick wheat

noodles, known as udon). Soba noodles are served either chilled

with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a

noodle soup.

It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times

a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn. In Japan, buckwheat is produced

mainly in Hokkaido. Soba that is made with newly harvested

buckwheat is called “shin-soba”. It is sweeter

and more flavorful than

regular soba.

In Japan, soba noodles are served in a variety of settings: they are a popular inexpensive

fast food at train stations throughout Japan, but are also served by expensive

specialty restaurants. Markets sell dried noodles and men-tsuyu,

or instant noodle broth, to make home preparation

easy. Some establishments, especially cheaper

and more casual ones, may

serve both soba and

udon as they are

often served

in a similar


Soba is the traditional noodle

of choice for


Yude Taro

In one place in Tokyo, that I go to everyday, the Soba Wars are in full swing. Let me introduce you to what I think are the major players. The station I am talking about is Hanzomon station on the Hanzomon Line. Leave the station at exit 5 to find both of these battling warriors within sixty-seconds walk from each other.

The first one is Yude-Taro. Just across the street from exit 5 as you walk out the station.

In my opinion, Yude- Taro is the empire of the soba shops; it is cheap, delicious and clean.

Yude Taro is spacious, extremely clean and has seating enough for you and a troop of Wookies.

Seating and standing room. Don’t bother going there right at 12 pm on a workday, the place is packed!

As you can see the kitchen is extremely clean.

Buy your food tickets from the machines outside. The staff who handle your food never touch money.

The killer for Yude Taro is that the soba noodles are made on the premises. This place is cheap but just as delicious as a shop that costs twice the price.

Large Zaru soba (¥320) with Wakame (seaweed) total is ¥390. That’s about $4.70

Wide menu that even includes curry rice and, of course, fried foods.

Window dressing

That’s the commander of Yude Taro in front of a spotless kitchen and freshly fried veggies and fish.

….. And now, to the rebel base!

The next place that isn’t quite as tasty (in my opinion) as Yude Taro is Komoro Soba (about a 45 second walk around the corner). BUT! Komoro Soba is cheaper by about ¥30 ($.50) a plate for the soba. If you are on a budget, then maybe Komoro Soba is for you. The exact same menu of Large Zaru soba with Wakame (seaweed) is ¥390 at Yude Taro (about $4.70) but at Komoro Soba it is ¥310 (about $3.90)… Now, if you are a cheap skate bastard like me, that makes a difference – ESPECIALLY when you are eating this healthy and wholesome food everyday for a week or a month!

Komoro Soba

To go to Komoro Soba, you need to walk out of the station and turn left (and left again at the corner) instead of walking across the street to Yude Taro)

The soba alone is ¥290 at Komoro Soba (about $3.68) while it is ¥360 (about $4.60) at Yude Taro. Yude Taro tastes a bit better (of course, their noodles are made on premises, but it depends on your pocketbook if it is worth it or not. And, unless you’ve eaten soba a lot, you might not be able to tell the difference!)

Komoro Soba is also immaculate and plenty of seating.

Kitchen is spotless too (I love Japanese restaurants!) Here is a photo of clone making soba.

As usual, the machines sell the goods and so these are not the droids you are looking for (unless, of course, you want a great meal for a great price!)

Map of the galaxy…. Go and seek.

There is no try. There is only do or not do.

Do try these great places to eat. May the force be with you!

Music is a Gift From God

Today I went to a children’s piano recital. It was wonderful.

As I sat there and watched dozens of kids play their hearts out for their mothers, father and grandparents, I almost wept. I feel sorry for the many fathers who couldn’t make it to see their children’s performances. They were fantastic.

Whenever I hear this sort of music performed by skilled children, I think these things:

*Music is truly a gift from god.

*My purpose in life is not to make money but to make my family happy

*I’m going to die someday and I want to enjoy these times as much as I can while I can.

*Too many fathers are missing out on what is really important in life

Here’s a video of 8 years old Wray. (If the video doesn’t play, click here:

KhachaturianLittle Song/Etude」ハチャトゥリアン/小さい歌/エチュード Wray 8yrs: (Wray Blake Rogers 2012年8月4日 8才の演奏 ハチャトリアン Khachaturian「少年時代の画集」より「小さい歌」(Little song)「エチュード」(Study/Ivan is very busy):