Just in case he hasn’t, let me remind you again that Kangaeroo Corner is a little Aussie plants garden in comfy outer suburb of Tokyo.
And playing a prominent role in that Aussie garden is the Fountain of Strewth.
At first glance, there seems to be nothing untoward about the fountain (which is actually a bird bath with a solar-power water sprayer, but still….).
Except, of course, that few Tokyo homes have a fountain.
But this is a little special, and that’s where the strewth factor comes into play.
Despite looking like a classical antique work, the bird bath is made of plastic and was as cheap as chips.
But it’s the actual fountain (well, water sprayer), where the real wonder is.
Kangaeroo has tried several of these solar-powered sprayers over the year or so since the garden first sprouted.
They were bought from Aliexpres.com, purveyor of puerile plastics, and most of them performed with the lack of reliability that could be expected.
Except for the current fountain, which went into operation in August last year and has not stopped pumping whenever sunlight has hit it since, even after being frozen over in the sub-zero temperatures last month.
And the birds love it! We get pretty much daily visits from the birdies, though the neighbors aren’t too keen on that development.
Without doubt, the Fountain of Strewth is one of the Seven Wonders of Kangaeroo Corner.
Matilda has been described online as “the worst sports movie ever made.” Kindly, as it turns out. Matilda was a dreadful, alleged comedy about a boxing kangaroo that challenges for the world heavyweight champion title. The movie was made in 1978, when Muhammad Ali was probably at his most widely popular (and the reigning world champion), and starred Elliot Gould, who was then still not too far off the peak of a career that continues going strong today.
Co-starring was another A-lister, Robert Mitchum, so it’s hard to argue that the cast and circumstances surrounding the movie didn’t pack a punch.
Unfortunately, the kangaroo featured in the film was clearly a bloke in a costume. With demonic eyes. On top of that, the Australian involvement in the movie was non-existent outside of the kangaroo’s origins. And, as anybody who’s ever heard an American attempt an Australian accent or been to an Outback Steakhouse can attest, Americans don’t really put a lot of weight into authenticity when it comes to Down Under. Matilda was based on a novel by Paul Gallico, whose research into Australia and kangaroos was so extensive he gave the male marsupial protagonist of his work a female name. Perhaps Gallico had a portend of the movie’s fate, though, as he was most famous for The Poseidon Adventure, which would be adapted by Hollywood for another disaster movie of a different kind.
Directing Matilda was Daniel Mann, who made some impressive movies over his career. For 考えRoom.com, though, with its interest in Australia and Japan, perhaps his most interesting movie was The Teahouse of the August Moon, which starred Marlon Brando in yellowface. All in all, Matilda was a critical and commercial disaster. On the upside, though, it did get some decent movie posters from all over the world, as well as some other decent images, many of which can be viewed in the gallery.
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.