Category Archives: food

the value of collectors


Pictured is the sea urchin ice cream that I happily tried in Namja town in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. The ice cream world features more than 300 kinds of ice cream from all over Japan. Although traveling has become cheaper and easier for new experience seekers, it still has the attraction to be able to sample authentic things that you didn’t know about, or common things brought from somewhere that is unfamiliar to you.


The set up may look cheesy, but it is difficult to dismiss the effort of establishing a venue like this. It feels like being in the ultimate training program to become a wise consumer (or whichever type you want to be), dealing with more choices than you would ever imagine or need in everyday life.


Namja town is run by Namco, but there are a lot of food experience events along with the detective games using cat dolls with RFID implants. When I visited, the cheese cake fair was on; it seems the chocolate expo is on till march 2009. Ramen and gyoja streets are run all time around.



If you are interested in a little bit of the urban history, Sunshine city that hosts Namja town itself may be worth visiting with planetarium, acquarium, and observatory on its top floor, reminiscent of its 80’s glory of being one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo and the first generation of all-in-one entertainment facilities for all age groups. The ultimate function of Sunshine city in the context of the mega urban city is not too far from love hotels.


proof of freshness

at a casual restaurant in accra, customers order first which items they want on their plates. the prepared plates get these white caps till they are finally handed to the paid customers.

accra restaurant

at a korean restaurant in shanghai, all tables are set with plates and cutlery covered till customers are seated on the table.

a korean restaurant, shanghai

at a restaurant in tokyo (tokatsu tonki in meguro), toothpicks are covered with a clear glass.

bottle caps

at a street cafe in accra, bottled drinks are served with half-open bottle caps.

bottle  caps

some of these are for practical reasons, some more symbolic to show their service mentality. i do get my tiny moments of happiness when i can sense that someone has thought through how the customer would feel about their service and the food.

on a slight tangent, i cant help thinking about various possible seals on digital information, for instance – ‘freshness – from within 1 day’, ‘authenticity’, or ‘exclusivity’. in the late 90’s of the internet age, reputation and social recommendation systems were a big topic (or at least around T.J.Watson research center where I worked as a student). internet is a social place & inherently everything’s centered/centering around people behind, but i believe we are reaching an era in which some parts of the society will demand digital information identity as much as humans’ that does not get subjected to the democracy of people’s behaviors and subjective opinions.