EAT OUT: Asa Don

15/06/2019 // by admin

POPULAR SPOT: Asa Don is satisfying lovers of Japanese food. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNOVOCASTRIANS with an enjoyment of Japanese cuisine that goes beyond pre-packaged sushi were saddened to see Darby Street’s Kitami close its doors a couple of years ago.
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Luckily, authentic Japanese eatery Asa Don popped up not long after and has been producing delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine ever since.

The pocket-sized eatery is nestled close to King Street’s Tower Cinemas, with the unembellished classic east-end facade almost causing the average passer-by to miss it.

But those who have tasted Asa Don’s food seem to continuously fill the restaurant on a weekly basis with a rich variety of regulars, old and young.

The kitchen is headed up by pint-sized owner Asiko Dalby who, along with a team of Japanese chefs, provides lunch and dinner to a typically packed restaurant.

The udon noodle soups are a very popular dish as the weather cools, with the choice of tempura udon – prawn and vegetable tempura served with udon noodles in a hot soup, and tori nunban – chicken and shallots served with udon noodles in a hot soup, among others.

There’s also an extensive range of freshly rolled sushi served in either a half or full portion, with such delicious offerings as salmon and vegetable rolls, teriyaki chicken and avocado rolls and vegetable rolls.

Quirky furniture fills the eatery, with round, rectangular and square tables mismatched with comfortable vintage chairs filling the inside and courtyard.

Cosy warm blankets in wicker baskets are spotted through the courtyard, ensuring the customer is never uncomfortable dining outside even in the dead of winter.

Due to the unexpected success of the restaurant, a table can be hard to come by without a booking. But takeaway is never a problem and there is a constant stream of hungry people coming and leaving with steaming, fragrant dishes at lunch and dinnertime.

Asa Don is open Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 2.30pm and 4.30pm to 8pm and Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. 4929 1035.

GREG RAY: Pictures of Our Past

15/06/2019 // by admin

This week’s photo, loaned by David Fowler, shows his mother, Jean, standing beside the family’s 1940s DeSoto on Stewart Avenue, near the intersection with Hunter Street. In those days, Stewart Avenue terminated at Hunter Street. Stocks Filling Station, in the background, later moved south, opposite Birdwood Park.This week’s photo, loaned by David Fowler, shows his mother, Jean, standing beside the family’s 1940s DeSoto on Stewart Avenue, near the intersection with Hunter Street. In those days, Stewart Avenue terminated at Hunter Street. Stocks Filling Station, in the background, later moved south, opposite Birdwood Park.
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LATE last year I published this photo (below, right) of a violinist posing in, apparently, a coalmine at Paxton.

I stated that the violinist was Yehudi Menuhin, based on advice from a variety of people.

It seems we were all wrong, however. Here’s some correspondence from Philip Bailey, who knew Menuhin well:

‘‘As an employee of Menuhin in the capacity of personal assistant for 22 years from 1976 until his death in 1999, I can state categorically that the violinist shown in the photo is not Yehudi.

‘‘Apart from the lack of even the slightest similarity in appearance between the subterranean fiddler and Menuhin (who was fair-headed and of short stature) there is no evidence that my former boss ever visited a coalmine anywhere.

‘‘He toured a goldmine in South Africa back in 1935 and, apart from being appalled at the conditions under which the miners worked, he caught a heavy cold and had to cancel a concert in Port Elizabeth.

‘‘I have spent the last 15 years writing a biography of Menuhin and over that time encountered numerous claims about him that somehow gain currency and become part of a myth.

‘‘This is particularly so with photograph captions.

‘‘It seems that if there was a need to give a name to the face of a fiddler then it had to be Yehudi. The violinist in the photo is most likely Igor Oistrakh, son of the fabled Russian fiddler, David Oistrakh.

‘‘I checked with my aunt who attended one of Igor’s performances in Sydney back in the early ’60s. She recognised Igor and I confirmed this by searching his photos on the web.

‘‘The mine would have been chosen because Igor probably performed in Newcastle Town Hall and he would have been encouraged by his Soviet ‘minders’ to show solidarity with the workers there.’’

I accept everything that Philip writes but the legend of Menuhin visiting the Hunter, and more particularly a coalmine, remains strong.

Has anybody got extra information on this subject?

Christopher Pyne smuggled past students at University of Sydney

15/06/2019 // by admin

Students protest as Christopher Pyne visits St John’s College at University of Sydney. Photo: Twitter: @honi_soit Christopher Pyne is attending the Howard Debating Cup, held by University of Sydney’s Liberal Club. Photo: Twitter: @honi_soit
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Students protest as Christopher Pyne visits St John’s College at University of Sydney. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has been smuggled into a function at the University of Sydney after a violent confrontation between protesters and police.

The minister was invited to adjudicate the John Howard Debating Cup, an annual event hosted by the Sydney University Liberal Club.

About 50 protesting students tried to gain entry to St John’s College on Missenden Road at Camperdown, where the event was being held, but police have stopped them, throwing them onto the ground.

It was reported Mr Pyne was smuggled into the building an hour later.

The event was promoted earlier in the week on the Liberal Club’s website but was taken down after students across the country held a series of protests against budget cuts and education reforms.

University of Sydney Union vice-president Tom Raue joined the protest and said Attorney-General George Brandis and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson were also meant to be attending.

“There are many, many riot police blocking each entry to the college,” he said.

“It’s pretty rough, they’re stopping people getting in. We are making our point.”

He said there had been no arrests and no serious injuries among the 50 protesters.

Mr Pyne left the college about 8.45pm, waving to about a dozen protesters who were still outside.

The Howard Cup, founded in 2010 by then Vice President Alex Dore, consists of four rival Liberal clubs across Sydney going head to head in three rounds over questions of public policy and Liberal ideology.

On Wednesday, two people were arrested at a student protest in the city that drew thousands of students. Simultaneous events were held across the country.

Prominent Liberal figures have been harangued at universities since the federal budget was handed down on Tuesday last week.

Last Friday, students jostled Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop as she entered a function at the University of Sydney and heckled her at a separate event on the same day at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Former frontbencher Sophie Mirabella was also shouted down during a lecture at the University of Melbourne on Monday and Prime Minister Tony Abbott cancelled a visit to Deakin University’s Geelong campus on Tuesday because of safety concerns.

More to come

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Michael Hooper appears a perfect fit for captaincy role

15/06/2019 // by admin

The time is now: Michael Hooper. Photo: Anthony JohnsonEwen McKenzie is keeping his cards close to his chest on the Wallabies captaincy but the time could be right for Michael Hooper.
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Young though he is – four years shy of the Wallabies’ average age of 26 – this column would argue that, apart from Israel Folau, Hooper is the only player whose position in the starting side is beyond question.

Stephen Moore, another favourite to take over from departing captain Ben Mowen and an undisputed leader within the squad, enjoyed a clear run at the starting No.2 jersey last year while his old rival Tatafu Polota-Nau recovered from a broken arm. A year earlier, however, it was Moore on the bench while Polota-Nau had the ascendancy. Who knows what this season will bring?

James Horwill was an excellent Wallabies captain when his form guaranteed a starting spot, and the absence of Sitaleki Timani and Kane Douglas this year may have shored that up for him.

But over and above Hooper’s remarkably consistent form, the NSW breakaway offers something neither Moore nor Horwill can: a fresh start.

Take McKenzie’s comments on the captaincy: “There are base attributes – the captain needs to be in the team and needs to be respected – but the style of leadership can vary depending on where you think the maturity of the team’s at and where the focus is. We have a bunch of things we need to do that we haven’t done in a long time in terms of winning trophies and things like that. We’ve spent the last six months turning over every stone trying to change things, not for the sake of it, but finding ways to take the team to another level.”

McKenzie spent a tumultuous four months ushering in change last year and will work at bedding down the side’s identity this season. Hooper, supported by Horwill’s passion and Moore’s no-nonsense abrasiveness, could be the figurehead for the Wallabies’ new era. He will face a leadership learning curve like no other but he will also be unencumbered by the disappointments and baggage of seasons past.

Whoever is chosen and announced in camp on the Gold Coast on June 1, McKenzie has made it clear he will need a captain with drive, energy and devotion in spades.

“You need to be able to set the tone and make sure it becomes an hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute focus, not just something that gets done for 80 minutes on the weekend,” he said. “I’ve got a bunch of guys in mind because I don’t think the leadership of the team needs to be just one person’s job. I think a bunch of people need to lead and show the way but obviously you need to name someone, you just expect there will be some good lieutenants who will be helping out.”


Huge moment this week in the career of Waratahs youngster Will Skelton.

The towering NSW second-rower may warm the bench against the Rebels on Friday night but he is all of a sudden in contention for a gold jersey against France.

Skelton made the 32-man cut for the Wallabies this week and McKenzie made it clear he was not just handing out positions.

“What I liked about him is he’s got some sophistication in his game,” McKenzie said.

“It’s not just about being a big bloke and crashing into the defensive line. It’s the subtlety. Not just the offload, he knows when to pass the ball. They’re the things that make him a real threat for me.

“I sense the classy bits of football from him. I think everyone has this idea because you’re 130, 140 kilos that you suddenly can’t pass the ball.”

Skelton has a place at the expense of teammates Kane Douglas and Dave Dennis, but you cannot imagine either of them wishing the 22-year-old Test bolter anything but the best.


Bonne chance to former Wallabies Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell, who travel to Cardiff this weekend with Toulon to face Saracens in the Heineken Cup final at Millennium Stadium.

The game has many anchor points, including Saracens’ remarkable charge to the final, England reject Chris Ashton’s record-breaking revival and Toulon’s shot at back-to-back titles.

But Jonny Wilkinson’s swansong is by far the most poignant storyline. Giteau said in Scotland it was on the mind of every player heading into Saturday’s match.

“It is incredibly important,” he said. “For selfish reasons as well, I would obviously like to win the title. But for a player like Jonny, who has done so much for the game in the way he has carried himself in the right light – he has never put a step wrong and he has been incredibly humble – it would mean a lot. For the region and the team, it would be great if we can send him off on the right note. He’d be embarrassed that we are talking about it because that is the player he is – he keeps himself focused on the team – but it would mean a lot to the group if we were able to send him out on the right terms.”

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Ruckmen get chance to face off

15/06/2019 // by admin

As Hamish McIntosh and Todd Goldstein face off against each other for the first time, the ruck coach who helped build their careers says it’s a shame North Melbourne fans never got to see the duo play together at their peak.
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Supporters from both North Melbourne and Geelong will have to settle for the next best thing on Friday night, a duel between the master and his apprentice that could prove pivotal to the outcome of the showdown at Simonds Stadium.

Alex Ishchenko, the former North Melbourne big man and long-time (and current) ruck coach, recalled how the injury curse that seemed to follow McIntosh during his final days at Arden Street was the push into the deep end Goldstein needed to emerge as a No.1 ruckman.

In essence, it was Goldstein’s development while McIntsoh was sidelined during for much of 2011-12 that has helped the Roos.

“While Hamish was injured, Todd’s durability was the key to him being able to take that opportunity and get a couple of years under his belt,” Ishchenko said. “It would have been great to see them play together, but unfortunately for North fans it never happened.”

The two big men formed a tag team for 32 matches during the 2009 and ‘10 seasons, when McIntosh was in his prime, but played only six games together during and after the 2011 season.

Trading McIntosh to Geelong ended any chance of North discovering if the pair could have thrived as a one-two punch.

McIntosh and Goldstein are now key contributors on teams capable of launching for a premiership this year.

The similarities between the two when they first entered the league begin and end with the fact both were recruited by former North scout Neville Stibbard.

McIntosh, taken pick No.9 in 2002, was highly-rated for the football brain and skill level he possessed as a 200 centimetre kid – “a natural footballer” Ishchenko recalled – while Goldstein, pick No.37 in 2006, was more a “natural athlete” whose background as a national-level junior basketballer gave him great hand-eye coordination.

From there, McIntosh’s unfortunate run with injury has run parallel with Goldstein’s exceptional durability. Since establishing himself in the team in late-2009, Goldstein has played 100 of a possible 107 games.

In the same period, McIntosh has managed 43 games, although few would argue that – when his body has facilitated his talent – McIntosh has produced a similarly high-performance to Goldstein.

Finally fit, McIntosh has so far this year proved wrong those who thought his career might be over at 29.

“All us here at North take an interest in what he is doing and we are rapt to see him, particularly after last year, string a few games together and perform so well,” Ishchenko said. “It was always about getting his body right. I think we are just seeing now what he was always capable of and did when he was playing here.”

Goldstein’s importance to the Roos was underlined on Thursday when the club shielded the 25-year-old from potential free agency offers by re-signing him until the end of 2016.

Ishchenko said he thought Goldstein, now in his eighth year and quietly morphing into one of the AFL’s premier ruckmen, had the potential to play more than 250 games and “hopefully become one of the greats of our club”.

“He didn’t have a strong football pedigree, did he? So if you had have said then that we were going to get that sort of service and reliability out of a basketballer, you would have surprised me.”

On their upcoming match-up, McIntosh admitted on Thursday that it would be “weird” playing against many of his former teammates, while Goldstein credited McIntosh for the “massive” impact he had made on his career.

Fittingly, North recalled Michael Firrito on Thursday night, a teammate so close to McIntosh that he had the ruckman as one of his groomsmen, while Geelong brought back Mathew Stokes from suspension and Jesse Stringer, in for his first game of the season, to replace Steve Johnson (suspended) and Taylor Hunt (omitted).

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.