I went for a walk on Johnston St

And I liked this barber’s shop window.

Having never previously meandered along Johnston St by Shank’s pony, I had thought it to be one of the world’s most ugly thoroughfares. I found the details I spotted on foot charming. It has other things going for it once it arrives in the ‘wood too: Ilk Bar, which used to be a milk bar and the emblem of which is an elk, and Kooshi (formerly Good Morning Captain). Back in Abbotsford proper is this nameless place, which I think must be the one that the Abbotsford psychiatrist I met at a party the other day swore was a perfect but overlooked place to have weekend breakfasts. Some other photos from the walk are here.

A whacky new court for Yarra: the Neighbourhood Justice Centre

I don’t mean to sound unduly sceptical, but this is pretty out-of-left-field, and it’s happening here in the ‘wood at a cost of $23.7 million over four years. I will keep an open minded eye on it, since out-of-left-field is not something you find in the court system very often, and there seems to be an excellent idea that offenders might give back to the offended community by scrubbing graffiti off railway stations. This huge building (pictured), once remodelled, will house one Magistrate and “an interdisciplinary team” who will hear both civil and criminal matters, and will be chosen with input from a residents’ representative council nominations for which are presently being sought. Continue reading “A whacky new court for Yarra: the Neighbourhood Justice Centre”

Yarra Bicyle Users Group

On my twirls along Yarra Boulevard this morning, I found out about Yarra BUG, a kind of community cell of Bicycle Victoria folks from Abbotsford, Alphington, Burnley, North Carlton, Clifton Hill, Cremorne, Collingwood, Fairfield, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Princes Hill and Richmond. They are leading the campaign for the removal of the Gipps St steps, those dreadful steps which cyclists and walkers need to descend from Gipps St heading away from the city and towards the Convent, the Children’s Farm, and Dights Falls. People coming from any of those places and heading towards the Botanic Gardens and the City, nead to dismount and push their bikes up little concrete channels next to the stairs. Continue reading “Yarra Bicyle Users Group”

Wabi Sabi Salon, a Smith St Japanese restaurant

I had dinner at Wabi Sabi, a cute little cafe restaurant near the corner of Smith and Gertrude Sts, and therefore in the immediate vicinity of many good things including Dr Follicles, Books for Cooks, Yelza, Dr Java, Enoteca, and Ladro. I had admired it many times, walking by, but never been in, except once, for takeaway. It is a lovely busy tiny little place crammed together in what I expect is a most authentic Tokyoey way. Sophia Davis (pictured) and Tomoya Kawasaki seem to be the proprieters. Sophia’s front of house not-very-Japanesishness is one of the things that first lets you know this is not your average Japanese restaurant. The whole place has a kind of Friends of the Earth meets the Napier Hotel meets whatever the equivalent of Chinoiserie is meets Toyko zen; lots of things are put together creatively and exquisitely, slightly tongue in cheek kitsch cheek by chic jowl. It gets the inaugural “Good as Hell” award, henceforth a searchable category. See flickr for more photos, especially of the charming interior decor of the outside dunny. Continue reading “Wabi Sabi Salon, a Smith St Japanese restaurant”