Japan

With Roots in Japan, Brooklyn’s Osakana is No Fish Out of Water

All photos by Kate Truisi.
Fish at Osakana. All photos by Kate Truisi.

It’s a fish market, but there’s no ice.

Instead, the tuna belly, king mackerel, and sea trout rest on pottery as colorful as their contents in a 39-degree glass case that controls temperature and humidity. At Osakana (290 Graham Avenue) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn flair meets Japanese tradition in a tasteful marriage of style and utility.

Osakana’s refrigerator is nearly empty—what’s on display is what’s up for grabs. “In the US we catch fish by the net, but in Japan they catch with a rod,” Osakana manager Emma Kramer said. It’s a reality her team must deal with—as a fishing and island nation, Japan will always have the upper fin, as it were. But it’s not a fact that will hinder Osakana’s near sacred handling of food. Continue reading

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Weekend Music: Hanami vs. Myrtle Manor (4/7 – 4/10)

Had some friends return from Japan recently and they couldn’t stop talking about how clean and orderly everything was.

They were there for hanami, too, the Japanese ritual of going to a park to view the cherry blossoms.

Then there’s my friend Eric. He just moved there.

He’s having a different experience.

We all have friends that just seem drawn to bad luck. Eric is one of those people. Here’s Eric’s photo from the neighborhood where he found housing in Japan.

Eric previously resided in the East Village. Not much luck there either. One day he called his landlord. “I think the guy across from me died.” Took the landlord two weeks to investigate.

I asked Eric how he knew. He said, “When you smell a dead person, you’ll know exactly what that smell is.”

Today’s post is dedicated to Eric. Between the freezing and the rain in Greenpoint this early Spring, we can relate. And so today we highlight sanguine musicians with a sense of humor that take the stage in North Brooklyn the next few days. Continue reading

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Eight Greenpoint Artists Working Their Magic with Ceramics

"Tufted Containers" c/o Michiko Shimada
“Tufted Containers” c/o Michiko Shimada

Humans have been making pottery objects for at least 27,000 thousand yearslet that sink in for a moment—and the earliest ceramics were either made simply from clay or from a mixture of clay and other materials, like silica. They were then hardened and heated at relatively low temperatures in a fire. Now, flash forward an astounding number of millennia, and we can produce a variety of ceramic products, from bricks to tableware to nuclear fuel uranium oxide pellets.

Recently, we tracked down eight artists based right in our neighborhood who have been making some ceramic magic in their studios.

Continue reading

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NYC Art X Sweet Treat 311 Fundraiser at Cafe Edna Tonight (7/10)

Local artist Hannah Simmons and Greenpointers Market coordinator Yuka Miyata are fundraising to bring an important art project to children in an area of Japan that is still recovering from the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. It’s call NYC Art X Sweet Treat 311 and we created this video to help get the message out.

Tonight the folks at Cafe Edna (195 Nassau Ave) are hosting a fundraiser for the duo from 7-10pm. All drink profits will be donated to the cause, plus free mini burritos (while supplies last). Also there will be Japanese oldies music, raffles, prizes, gifts and the chance to write a message to the children in Ogatsu that will be delivered personally when the women head to Japan to realize their project.

Check out the video below and RSVP to the fundraiser. If you can’t make it – donate via Indiegogo here.

NYC Art X Sweet Treat 311 Fundraiser Video from Jennifer Galatioto on Vimeo.

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McCarren Park Tree Decorated for 3/11 Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami Memorial

Take a paper ornament to remember 3/11/11

If you see this beautifully decorated tree in McCarren Park today, feel free to take an ornament in remembrance of the Earthquake and Tsunami that devastated Japan on 3/11/11. Continue reading

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Featured Vendor: Isshimo

With over 70 vendors there are over 70 reasons to come to our Holiday Market this Sunday 12/8/13! Here is just one: Japanese Honey Sponge Cake aka Kasutera!

I discovered the Japanese bakery called Isshimo one fine Saturday morning at the Bushwick Farmers Market, which is run by lifelong friends and music partners Ai Isshiki and Sakiko Mori. The name Isshimo is a combination of their last names ISS -hiki + MOri.  Continue reading

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Precious Ooze: Internet Recap (mid-April Edition)

This article made possible by a donation to our Writer’s Fund by Anonymous.

Internet trends come and go and if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss out on some interesting social science that happens right before your eyes. If we had this amazing communication tool one hundred years ago, those 20 year art movements like Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism would have happened much faster. Every few weeks, I will try to break down the micro-trends and world wide fads that sometimes make surfing the net more fun than interacting with actual people.

Photo-taking trends come and go on the Internet. There was Horsemanning, Owling and eventually, the longer lived Planking, but that was last year. This year comes a whole new breed of micro-trends, often coming from the original land of absurdity, Japan,  such as Dragonballing: schoolgirls have been staging fake energy sphere attacks (known as the “Kamehameha“) made popular in the manga and anime series, Dragon Ball.

Quidditching

And also a photo trend that features teens appearing to play Quidditch, a fictional sport from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe played on broomsticks.

Vadering

And finally, originating from this side of the Pacific: Vadering, where users appear to show an individual using Darth Vader’s signature Force Choke to raise another person off the ground.

Waspy Vodka

But speaking of Japan, some other choice nuggets to be found this week includes making wasp shouchuu, an alcohol like Vodka  with fermented giant wasps.  The whole process takes three years and it’s maker says that its properties create “beautiful skin, recovery from fatigue, and the prevention of ‘lifestyle disease'”. Uh huh.  And have we mentioned Japan’s love for Ray Charles in animatronic form? Continue reading

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