offbeat

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I normally stay away from kaiten-zushi (kaiten sushi) or conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, since the quality can be iffy. But I could really go for this adorable miniature kaiten-zushi miniature set! (I'm not sure why the itamae-san (sushi chef) has Angelina Jolie lips though....) It's a new themed set from Re-Ment (US site) (Japanese site), a Japanese company that makes amazingly detailed die-cast miniatures called Puchi Petites, mostly of food and related items like cooking equipment, but of other things too. The miniatures started out as omake, or free gifts that came with the purchase of candy, but the miniatures have become so popular that the candy, while it's still included, is now a mere afterthought.

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Hi there, intrepid PR person who wants to get in on this new "blog marketing" and "viral marketing" thing. I have some free advice for you, especially if you are trying to sell some kind of packaged, manufactured thing that only vaguely resembles real food.

Don't try to get food bloggers to try your stuff. Or let's put it this way: the owners of any food blog with a following, a reasonable backlog of articles, and enough traffic and Alexa ranking etc. to matter for you, is likely to be a Food Snob. That's the kind that your clients dread: they use real food, worry about seasonality (tomatoes in February make them gag), and, worst of all, actually cook. Or if they don't cook they eat out at places that serve real food.

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Japanese people have a long standing tradition of adapting words from other languages when a Japanese word or term doesn't exist for something. The language most often borrowed from is English, but other languages are freely raided too. Often, the original meaning of the word changes quite a bit (see this post on my personal blog about the use of one such word, "mansion") which can be confusing for the non-Japanese speaker.

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Keep reading Almond Poodle →

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Wow, look at the gorgeous black and white special edition Guinness Marmite jar! Limited to a run of 300,000 jars, this special blend of Guinness and Marmite is on sale in the U.K. right now. I'm not too sure how different it would be in taste from regular Marmite, which is after all a yeast spread. I'm speculating it might taste like the slightly beer-y Cenovis. Now how to get my hands on one... (link via Coolest Gadgets and The Guinness Blog - yes, Guinness has a blog. The portal is a bugger...just say you are from England, and old enough.)

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Keep reading Guinness Marmite! →

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Not quite food related, but, uhm, it's about toasters. And toast. This has been around for a few months but what the heck, I just found it today. Retro Toast is a free (Creative Commons) version of the classic early '90s screensaver, Flying Toasters! Flying toasters, and other After Dark products like their awesome Star Trek themed desktops, were what converted young bratty "but everyone uses Peecees" spouting self permanently to the light (the world of Macs) forever. That was....7 Macs ago. I feel old now. Retro Toast is available for the dark..I mean, Windows, as well as OS X.

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Keep reading Flying toasters! →

Since I started my whole get fitter/lighter process last month, I haven't ingested much sugar. I didn't avoid it entirely, but was using quite small quantities - a spoonful of jam here, a bit of honey there, that sort of thing. (It's also hard to avoid all sugar in Japanese cooking - a bit is often added to enhance the flavor.)

I never had a big sweet tooth to start with, so I didn't really miss sugary snacks that much in a physical sense. But I did miss the whole idea and process of making something sweet, of the house filling up with those smells. Besides, Valentine's Day is coming up this week and that means chocolate!

So an afternoon of experimentation followed, which resulted in the spiced chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes were divine, and I overindulged and had three in a row.

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Keep reading Sugar high, really →

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Not quite edible, but how can one resist an animated paper model of that august diety, The Flying Spaghetti Monster? This is the newest paper model by Rob Ives of Flying Pig, a UK company that makes paper animation and other fun paper model kits. This one is available for download/purchase. I have a few of their models and they are a bit fiddly to make, but once they're done they make adorable accessories for around the desk or cubicle. (Just be sure you put them in a place where someone won't sit on it...as happened to my Schoedinger's Cat.)

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Since it was reported a couple of weeks ago (erroneously, as it turns out) that Vegemite was a banned substance in the U.S., there's been renewed interest in the mysterious black spread from Australia, and its bitter rival in the yeast-extract world from the UK, Marmite.

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Waiting for pudding

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I really had to look twice at the calendar to make sure I hadn't suddenly skipped ahead a few months to April 1st when I read this news story:

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