Japanese poutine? Tokyo chain puts french fries on soba noodles

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RocketNews24:

Ramen burgers. Bulgogi tacos. Cronuts. Sometimes the stars align and the gods see fit to bless the world with visionary new dishes–the kind that make people say, “Is that even possible?” Eventually, those same people end up wondering why no one came up with the concept sooner.

One of our Japanese writers was able to experience the joy of culinary experimentation firsthand during a recent trip to Tokyo’s Nadai Fuji Soba, which is now serving… wait for it… French fry soba! Though at first glance you might think someone spilled their Happy Meal over a plate of noodles, the tasty result is sure to make you a believer.

The concept of French fry soba originated with Osaka’s Hankyu Soba Wakana. The dish later secretly made its debut in Tokyo through major soba chain Nadai Fuji Soba, which began offering the variation on traditional soba at limited locations. Curious as to whether fries and soba really could make a good pairing, our writer decided to try it for himself. The experience ultimately left him thinking French fry soba is going to become a staple among soba fans.

Available at three restaurants:
As of now, Nadai Fuji Soba is offering the groundbreaking dish at the following three Tokyo locations: 1) Kanda 2) Shibuya Shimoda Building 3) Uguisu. Though there is as yet no official word regarding whether the chain will be rolling out its product in all its restaurants, the public’s enthusiastic reception seems to suggest such a move is likely.

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More expensive than croquette soba
The dish costs 440 yen (US$3.68), which, somewhat surprisingly, sets it slightly higher than the fried chicken soba available for 410 yen ($3.43). It’s also more expensive than the 410-yen croquette soba, even though both dishes have a similar mouthfeel. Our writer couldn’t help wondering how the addition of french fries, a regular offering on fast food menus, could raise the price above the other options. Was the extra money worth it? Let’s see…

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Won’t the fries be too salty?

Since the fries are prepared on the spot, it takes about four minutes for the food to come out. After waiting expectantly, our writer finally had a chance to dig in. Let’s get right to what we need to know: It works! It really works! Though he expected to receive seasoned fries on top of his soba, it turned out this was not the case; the fries had no extra salt. The reason? You dip the fries in the broth instead. A stroke of genius worthy of a Nobel.

Even tastier over time

Though the fries weren’t necessarily crunchy, they also weren’t soggy, allowing you to really savor the flavor of the potato. Nor did the fries taste out of place with the soba. It also helps that the shape of the fries themselves prevents them from getting in the way when you’re slurping up the noodles. As time passes, the fries gradually soak up the flavor of the broth, making them even tastier than before.

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A surefire hit with soba lovers

Despite expecting the dish’s very different flavors to clash, our writer was pleasantly surprised at how well everything came together. In his opinion, this has all the makings of a staple, with guaranteed appeal for both soba newcomers and longtime aficionados.

And there you have it! Personally, we’re tempted to go buy some convenience store soba and dump a bag of fries on top. What could go wrong? On second thought, maybe we should make a trip to Nadai and try the real thing first.

Restaurant Details:

Name: Nadai Fuji Soba, Shibuya Shimoda Building
Location: 35-6 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo–Shimoda Building
Hours: 24-hour service

Photos © RocketNews24

▼ French fry soba makes landfall in Tokyo!

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LIFUL (South Korea) 2015 Spring/Summer Collection

Japanese tourist injured in Tunisian terrorist attack, also “attacked” by Japanese media in hospital

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RocketNews 24:

On March 18, three terrorists attacked and took hostage patrons at the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia, killing 21 people and injuring about 50 others. Among those injured was Noriko Yuki, a Japanese tourist visiting Tunisia with her mother.

Ms. Yuki sustained a gunshot wound in the attack and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. There, shortly after her surgery, she was immediately bombarded by Japanese media looking to interview her, with some members of the press apparently going so far as to tell the Japanese ambassador watching over her that he did not have the authority to stop us from interviewing her.”

Noriko Yuki (age 35), a major in the Japanese Self Defense Forces, was taken to the Charles Nicolle Hospital in the Tunisian capital shortly after the attacks on March 18. The very next day, reporters from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun arrived at the hospital and asked the doctors if Ms. Yuki was well enough to be interviewed. They were told she only had minor wounds remaining after the surgery and so permitted them to talk to her.

Security lead them all the way to Noriko’s room, but before they entered, the Japanese ambassador who had spent the past several days with Ms Yuki and knew that she was in no state to do an interview told them they could not enter. The reporters told him: “If you were Noriko herself or her family then you could stop us interviewing her, but you do not have the authority to stop us from interviewing her.”

But stop them he did. The reporters left a little while after, never getting that interview with the barely-conscious Noriko, who gave a statement a few days later on March 20. Here is the translation:

She goes into detail on her trip and the attack itself:

“I’m sorry for troubling everyone, and I want to apologize for causing any inconvenience. I also want to thank everyone too, since I’ve been unable to get any information about the terrorist attack or the aftermath. Even though I was caught up in it, I know almost nothing about it, and everyone has been so kind in informing me. Since I’m in no condition to appear in public, I’d like to express my gratitude through writing.

My mother and I left Japan on March 14, and we arrived in Italy on the 15. From there we took a cruise to Tunisia and joined a tour group. Our guide spoke English and French, so I didn’t understand a lot of what they were saying.

We arrived at the museum at 11:30, and when we were looking around on the 2nd floor, a member of our group said ‘there’s someone holding a gun outside the window.’ Our tour guide was very casual about it and said ‘that’s something that you see quite often in Tunisia.’ Shortly after, we heard gunfire and everyone, myself included, started running. I saw people bleeding and falling to the ground around me. I slammed into somebody, fell down, and then heard a gunshot and felt pain in my ear. When I looked back to the entrance to the room, there was a man holding a gun. I couldn’t see his face. I covered my head with my hands and stayed lying down. The guns kept going off for quite a while. I hurt all over and thought I was going to die, I couldn’t believe something like this was actually happening.

After a while the man left, and when I stood up there were about ten people on the ground around me. Some were unharmed, some weren’t moving.

I was bleeding from my left hand, left ear, and neck, but other than that I was fine. My mom was on the ground next to me. Blood was coming out of her neck; there was a pool of it underneath her head. When I called to her she said ‘my neck hurts’ and moved around a bit, so I was relieved that she was alive, but she couldn’t move by herself. I kept hearing gunfire and worried that the gunmen would come back. Making everything even worse was the thought that I was the one who had invited my mother to come on this trip, so it was my fault this happened to her.

Policemen then came to help us and I was so happy I cried. I asked them to help my mother, but they said that people who could walk would be taken first, so I was put in an ambulance and separated from her.

When I arrived at the hospital, the bag that had my passport was taken away, as well as my cellphone. After my examination and treatment, I was told I would need to be put to sleep for surgery, so I was again loaded into an ambulance and taken to another hospital. The whole time, inside and outside the hospital, lots of people were taking pictures and video of me which made me feel very uncomfortable.

At the new hospital I was given medicine for the pain, and shortly after a large group of people came into my room: the Tunisian Prime Minister, government officials, and others. I told them all to please find my mom. NHK and New York Times reporters also came in and asked me questions. I thought I had no choice, and I was out of it that honestly I have no memory of anything I told them.

The Japanese Ambassador also came, asking for my contacts in Japan to call. Since I didn’t have my cellphone and could only remember my parents’ landline number, we didn’t get through to anyone.

That evening I learned that my mom was in another hospital and had had surgery and was doing fine. I was relieved, but I was told I would need surgery too. They put me to sleep, and when I woke up it was over, but the pain was far worse than before, so I asked for some medication. But that just made me worry: my mom didn’t know any English. What would she do if she couldn’t communicate? What if she was in pain too?”

The interview:

“When I was brought back to my room, the Japanese Ambassador and local Japanese coordinator were there. Since I’d been crying all day my eyes were inflamed and I couldn’t open them, so I couldn’t see their faces. The ambassador called my mother for me, and I was relieved to hear her voice. The coordinator called Nippon Television and asked me to do an interview with them over the phone. I did as I was asked and answered the questions. At the end they asked me if they could show the interview on TV, and since I was embarrassed at the horrible state I was in I said no. They then told me that my my name, face, and interview with NHK had already been broadcast, so it didn’t really make a difference. That was the first time I’d heard anything about that, so I was shocked.

The next day I got my bag and passport back and was able to talk to family back home. My mother was moved to the same hospital as me and then into the same room as well.

After she was moved, I heard someone yelling at the Japanese Ambassador outside the room: ‘Let us do the interview. You do not have the authority to stop us from interviewing her.’ The ambassador told me: ‘Asahi Shimbun wants you to let them interview you, but you don’t have to do it. You’re in bad shape, and we don’t know how the interview will be used, so you can refuse if you’d like.’ Since I’d been doing all these interviews up to now thinking I had no choice, I was so happy I cried.

Yesterday I was asked to do an interview with Fuji Television. I thought about refusing again, but I wanted to tell everyone what happened, and how I feel. So instead of refusing I decided to give my statement through writing instead. My mother is getting surgery again, and then depending on how that goes we might be able to go back to Japan. Both of us are fine, but we’re in bad shape, and we want to go back home as soon as possible. We’re very thankful to everyone in Tunisia who helped us, and to the Japanese Ambassador and everyone else. Now we just ask that you please let us rest for a while. Thank you.”

Asahi Shimbun has since released a response, apologizing for demanding an interview:

The reporter should not have shouted at the ambassador. We have read Ms. Yuki’s statement, and we apologize to her.”

Noriko Yuki, her mother, and everyone else involved in this horrible incident has been through a terrible ordeal. After being through a terrorist attack, they shouldn’t have to worry about attacks from their home country’s media. Let’s hope that everyone who was hurt in this crime gets the treatment they need, all the while avoiding intrusive interviews from pushy reporters.

monkey time x ASICS 2015 GEL-Lyte V

Japanese imprint monkey time continues to roll out a slew of seasonal offerings, this time in the form of a new footwear venture in collaboration with ASICS. The beloved GEL-Lyte V running silhouette is rendered in a monochrome color blocking scheme, with white hues at the forefront of the sneaker extending until the sidepanels and contrasting black detailing at the heel cage, tongue, inner lining and laces.

The premium leather upper sits atop of the renowned gel cushioning for increased comfort and stability. White speckled detailing along the insole and midsole round out the design for the retro runner.

Priced at ¥16,000 JPY (approximately $134 USD), the monkey time x ASICS GEL-Lyte V will be available for purchase starting May 9th at BEAUTY&YOUTH United Arrows locations in Japan.

Edison Chen’s 3125C “Unlucky 13″ pop-up exhibition coinciding with Art Basel Hong Kong

Jun Takahashi talks about the UNDERCOVER x Supreme collaboration

Having already joined forces with Champion, Vans, Clarks and the New York Yankees this season, Supreme is set to unveil one of its biggest collaborations to-date. The UNDERCOVER x Supreme collection will be releasing tomorrow as part of the Japanese imprint’s 25th anniversary celebration, and with both heavyweights sharing a cult-like status its fair to say that this highly-anticipated offering will be talked about for years to come. Honeyee sat down with UNDERCOVER label head Jun Takahashi ahead of the release, to discuss his experience working with James Jebbia and his views on how the collection turned out. Have a read through the interview below and check out the full range here.

Could you please tell us what lead to doing this collaborative project?
Since this year is UNDERCOVER’s 25th anniversary I wanted to do something exciting for this milestone and suggested some ideas to Supreme. James Jebbia’s first reaction was really enthusiastic, so it made me confident that this project was going to go well.

What kind of an impression do you have towards the brand Supreme?
I started my brand at around the same time as Supreme did and I always liked it. I have a lot of sympathy towards Supreme including its cultural background and what it stands for.

There aren’t too many brands within streetwear, that are both high quality and true to its brand image. That’s what I like about Supreme. This is one of the brands that I’ve liked wearing for a long time.

The street element which UNDERCOVER has and the one Supreme has seem to be quite different.
I think people tend to think that Supreme comes from a major hiphop background, but they also have rock and art inspirations. It’s actually quite similar to UNDERCOVER’s backbone for inspiration.

These common interests made our project run really smoothly.

Do you also mean the links between UNDERCOVER and Supreme, are not only things from the outside surface (visual) but also from core (attitude)?
That’s exactly it. All of the items from this collection are authentic, but I believe the main reason it has become such a strong collection, is because we both have a lot of respect towards each other.

What kind of a process did you go through in creating this collection?
When doing a collaborative project, it is important to understand what the clients think about us, UNDERCOVER. When I asked James he pointed out that UNDERCOVER’s graphic component was particularly strong.

After that I looked through a variety of our old products and graphics that Supreme had sent my way. This made me understand how they viewed UNDERCOVER as a brand. This understanding was the beginning to the project.

Did you have any specific requests from Supreme side?
They wanted to see as much graphics as possible from me. So we picked some out from our archives, and also created some new ones for them. Basically the way it worked was that Supreme made the base design, and we would give some suggestions and additional arrangements on what they had.

But we also gave them some of our requests too, for example our desire to do leather jackets and a trench coat. As for the graphics, “ANARCHY IS THE KEY” is what we have supported since the beginning of UNDERCOVER, and is one of my most meaningful graphics to date.

Did you have any difficulties in expressing what Supreme is throughout the designing process?
Not at all. Like I said before, we have common interests that link us, so I knew from the start that it was going to be a good mix.

Was there anything that you intended to do in working on this project?
I tried not to ruin my own image towards Supreme. As a matter of fact, during the project James told me to do more amendments to the designs. However, I didn’t want to do too much to wipe out the Supreme-ness.

At some points you want to force your idea, but at other points you let your counterpart lead the way. The balance of how to push/pull yourself was tough, but it turned out we did a good job respecting each other.

Just looking at the collection, you can tell there is a good balance of both brands’ essences.
It was my goal for Supreme fans to be able to wear the pieces easily, without even knowing about UNDERCOVER. I’m really glad you can tell that.

It is the 25-year anniversary of UNDERCOVER this year, and over the course of working on the project, did you take a retrospective glance at the brand’s history and/or re-discover something new?
Outside of this collaboration I’ve been looking back at the history of the brand, for example in the graphics exhibition we put on last year and for the upcoming release of our 25th Anniversary book. However, the amount of things that I was able to gain throughout this project were tremendous.

Supreme is unique and in many ways, the brand itself acts like media. The collaboration projects with TNF, NIKE and others, which they have been doing regularly are all good examples. You can re-discover a new attraction of each collaborative brand when it’s designed/interpreted by Supreme.
Supreme’s selection of brand, products and ideas are always unexpected, which I think is one of their greatest strengths. I was curious to see how they would interpret UNDERCOVER and incorporate that into the designs and the product. I’m very happy with how the collection turned out.

Is there any piece that you would like to wear?
I like the whole collection and would love to try all the pieces on. The bondage pants are my favourite, I think it’s different from the original punk style that Hiroshi and I would think of, but works well as a part of the collection. It’s fresh.

So you enjoyed working on this project?
It was a great experience.

Will there be next Supreme/Undercover project in the coming seasons?
We haven’t talked about it. The project this time was really special, so we do not expect to do it often, but if there’s another opportunity I’m definitely down.