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A Brief History of Instant Noodles: Propaganda, Chicken Seasoning and Those Damn Commies

July 9, 2017
Momofuku Ando

If you’ve ever eaten instant noodles, you’ve participated in the fight against communism. That’s right, the crunchy or sloppy snack (depending on how you consume it) was invented as a result of America’s post-war operations in Japan, where Chinese noodle-soup, or Chuka soba as it was then commonly known, was a favourite dish among its starving citizens. It was also one of the only hot meals available under US Occupation. You see, the US didn’t prioritise feeding Japanese bellies (as a matter of policy, Asians received less food than Europeans), and it got to the point that the Japanese government were directing their people to eat acorns, snails, even weeds on the side of the road.

The Japanese Communist Party contended that the real reason people were starving wasn’t for lack of food, but because of widespread bureaucratic negligence and corruption—hence why the black market seemed to have plenty of Chuka soba on the go. Sniffing a mass rebellion, Eisenhower sent emergency wheat shipments over to Japan, along with a message: “The era of flour has arrived.” The food wasn’t free (the Japanese would have to repay the US for its “generosity” later on down the track), but it ensured that the population would a) not murder local US combat forces, and b) stick with Team America for the duration of the Cold War.

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Cute Cuts: Undie Designer Lis Harvey Keeps Things Comfy

February 28, 2016
Nico Underwear designer Lis Harvey photographed by Natalie McComas

Lis Harvey doesn’t buy into other people’s idea of sexy. The 30-year-old Brisbane photographer launched her own underwear brand, Nico Underwear, celebrating simplicity and minimalism, because nothing else felt quite right. “I felt very strongly that there was a real gap in the market, between that really over-the-top lacy stuff or just like everyday Kmart two dollar cottontails or whatever,” she says. “There wasn’t really anything in between. And for me personally, I felt like I didn’t fit into any of those categories.”

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How To Be an Amateur Tour Guide: Some Handy Hints for Showing a Visiting Pal Around Your Town

December 11, 2015
Photo by Sannah Kvist

Your friend has arrived from overseas, interstate or a ditch somewhere far away, and it’s up to you to show them the best your hometown has to offer. But where to start? And how to design a tourist experience, when you yourself have probably never been a tourist in your own hometown? Or what if, worse still, you make it a point of only leaving your house to take out the garbage and find your hometown a tedious hell hole that induces violent flashbacks? Well, buckle in, friend. Because everything old is about to become new.

Think with all five senses. The tourist experience isn’t just what you see. That’s the postcard experience, which, in my hometown, traditionally entails depictions of our main train station, a dead looking koala and women’s breasts. It’s also the visual diet of a psychopath and something I wish we would move away from. Sadly, that isn’t my call. Taking my friend around Chinatown was, however, and there she made smell memories that will last a lifetime. Remember: your friend is a human being with hopefully all five senses intact. Where will they smell, hear, touch or taste something extraordinary?

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