Month: June 2017

Strange Straya Tucked Away in a Tract in Tokyo

Uluru curry

Ayer’s Rock Cafe is located in a distant corner of Machida, an outer suburb of Tokyo.
Why the cafe located in such a distant tract of Tokyo derives its name from the now non-PC moniker of Uluru is something of a mystery, but it has been operating since 2000 and comes highly recommended by members of a nearby horse-riding club and large private school, so it must be getting something right.
For Aussies, there’s nothing on the menu that really makes it worthwhile making the trek out to the cafe for a need to combat homesickness.
The cafe does serve Bundaberg Rum and is decorated with standard Aussie kitsch like tourist-oriented Indigenous Australian trinkets like boomerangs and digeridoos, copies of Australian road signs, a few items of bush jewelry and assorted items from Carlton & United Breweries.
The one menu item that does play on the cafe’s Australian association is Uluru curry.
This curry is a dried curry served atop a healthy pile of rice and presented in a way that makes it bear something of a resemblance to Uluru.
The curry is served with side dishes of salad and yogurt, and all are tasty and filling.
The curry is mild and its appearance at least gives something of an Australian flavor that doesn’t seem to come from anywhere else served at the establishment.
Other dishes are tasty, but not noteworthy. They will not disappoint the taste buds, but may not please the pocket.
Recommended are the set menus, which include a main meal, a donut from Daddy’s Donuts, which the cafe also deals in, and a drink for around 1,300 yen to 1,400 yen are probably best.
Indeed, the donut was delicious, made with little oil and with a light fluffy taste with a crisp outer crust.
The donut is served with a scoop of ice cream, which can be topped with cinnamon or rum sauce or both, and berries with garnishing of castor sugar.
The dish is excellent and the donuts come in four flavors of plain, sesame, soybean or early grey.
Also recommended is the coffee, which was dark with a rich, satisfying taste and powerful aroma.

Let’s Barbie! Aussie-Style BBQing for the Japanese!

Australia beef is the most visibly successful Australian export to Japan, leaving considerable distance to its closest rivals, which these days are probably Tim Tams, Miranda Kerr and hordes of drunken ocker snow bunnies in country towns like Niseko and Hakuba.
To be honest, Oz doesn’t really enter the consciousness of most Japanese, except for Aussie Beef, which is probably the first thing that comes to mind for many Nihonjin when asked about Oz.
And this year, Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd (MLA) is going all-out to try and convert Japanese consumers to worshiping the barbie in much the same manner that many Aussies do.
MLA is conducting a huge Let’s Barbie campaign to encourage people to use the summer months to enjoy munching away on some good old tucker.

The Let’s Barbie pop-up store in Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama district

And they’re using Strine to do it, too, with part of the campaign involving a pop-up shop placed smack-bang in the middle of Aoyama, one of Tokyo’s trendiest districts, and a huge sign urging passers-by to “barbie!”
The pop-up shop is offering demonstrations of cooking, Strayan-style, and serves up three different kinds of steak and salad “meat parfaits.” There’s Beauty, with lime and ginger, Genki, flavored by chili pepper and garlic, and Let’s Barbie, with lime and mint. All are delicious and served in a cup with salad and mashed spuds.
Part of the campaign is teaching the Japanese about how Aussies barbie. Here’s what the official Let’s Barbie campaign website says about the Barbie…

About the Barbie

What’s a Barbie?
Barbecue Superpower Australia calls barbecues “barbies” and 3-4 times a week, (Aussies) enjoying tucking into thick-cut, Aussie Beef steaks and fresh salads anytime, anywhere. You can relax and enjoy them, and everybody’s all smiles out in the wilds of nature, which brings everybody closer. And the communication tool that brings that about is the Aussie-style barbecue: The Barbie.
Aussie lifestyle is about not putting on airs, and the real thrill of the barbie is being about enjoying communication with your mates and your family.


It’s hard to see what sort of impact the campaign will have. Japanese tend to be great barbecuers, anyway. And while many would gladly abide by the campaigns exhortations to get out and enjoy a good steak with your mates, most are stuck inside the office waiting for the boss to go home before they have any hope of being able to leave.

Related links
Barbie (Strine Strife)
Barbie (Yabai-lingual)
Barbie (Go-cabulary)

Sexism Sells…Aussie Princes and Arresting the Great Japanese Tourist Decline

Japan’s Aussie Prince Campaign website seeking women’s photos of sexy blokes

In this day and age, it would be unthinkable to use taxpayers’ hard-earned money to promote a campaign promising a 1 million yen order-made trip to Australia for a young bloke sending in photos of a sexy member of the opposite sex.
But, when the shoe’s on the other foot, it seems to be all right.
At least, it was until just a few years ago.
For a while in the late Noughties to early 2010s, Tourism Australia worked desperately hard to arrest a drastic and dramatic decline in Japanese tourist numbers.

Japanese Visitors to Australia 2002-2012

Part of those efforts involved a campaign that Tourism Australia conducted in Japan back in 2009-2010. The campaign played on the Japanese homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) for Aussie (oojii in Japanese) and prince (ouji in Japanese).
The Oojii Ouji Campaign promised a 1 million yen prize to the entrant that provided Tourism Australia with the best story of a visit to Australia. Participants were also asked to send in a photo of an Aussie they’d enjoyed spending time with. The implied wording of the campaign (using “prince” in Japanese immediately implies a Disney-style, good-looking and virile hetero male who can sweep a woman of her feet) and actual use of only good-looking young Aussie blokes to promote the cause in Japan made it fairly obvious the promotion was all about physical attraction.

Aussie “princes” promoting the tourism campaign

The “princes” Australia sent to Tokyo to promote the campaign were Aborigine Prince Warren Clements, Great Emotion Prince Nick Atkins, Wine Prince Brett Stanley, Beach Prince Shannon Eckstein and Sports Prince Ben Tomkins.
Tourism Australia made no secret of targeting women in their 20s and 30s, a gender-oriented promotion they would not be able to engage in back in Australia.
Actually, it makes sense for tourist organizations to target younger Japanese women. They are less likely to be caught in overtime trap, have more of a chance of building up disposable income (especially if they’re living at home) and can be a bit more adventurous.
Ultimately, destiny made the campaign’s timing disastrous. Before the effects of the campaign could be felt, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck and there were far more serious issues to deal with.

The website featuring “Aboriginal Prince” Warren Clements

Tourism Australia has reverted to a more standard approach to promoting the country in Japan, which no longer has the importance for the Australian tourist market that it held when it was sending 700,000-800,000 people a year Down Under from the mid-1990s to the early Noughties. Hordes of Chinese tourists swooping into Australia have made the need to encourage more Japanese to visit a far less critical issue than it was a decade ago.