The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Japan zine, MCA Zine Fair

May 19th, 2012  |  Published in Zines  |  10 Comments

Grace's illustrations in my Japan zine

My zine is now available online here.

Things I’ve learned from making my zine on Japan: ramen vans are the country’s equivalent of ice-cream vans (complete with ramen-van theme song), Kit Kat flavours are oddly educational (like an edible Wikipedia of Japanese customs) and there’s a bakery in Tokyo that has a seven-year wait for its bread.

My zine doesn’t only reference food, though – there’s mention of everything from Miyazaki to abandoned theme parks and there is the hard-to-ignore impact of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It also features the talents of Ebony Bizys, Amy Richardson, Mark Drew, Justin Norrie, Nick Coldicott, Hon Boey, Will and a lot more. You’ll see here my friend Grace Lee’s illustrations of her favourite bakery in Tokyo. (She’s not the only fan. The head baker of Bourke Street Bakery in Alexandria likes it, too.)

I’ll be selling my zine (Speak-easy #13: the Japan issue) at the MCA Zine Fair at the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks from 11am to 5pm tomorrow if you’d like to check it out. I’ll be sitting with my friend Jon Valenzuela, who does the brilliantly funny Tilted Page comic. You’ll be able to spot my zine because the cover should look a little like this …

Japan zine cover

Maybe see you there?

MCA Zine Fair, Sunday May 20, 11am-5pm (but the earlier you get there, the better – things do sell out), Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George Street Sydney NSW (02) 9245 2461 My zine is now available online here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I’m just curious as to what the Tokyo bakery with the 7 year waiting list is called?

  2. memtree says:

    your zine looks cool! so wish i was in syd. i love zine fairs and the syd one sounds amazing! will you be selling your zine online?

  3. Kate Bedwell says:

    Having given Speak-easy Paris to a friend travelling there, looking forward to the Japan edition! Like vicariously travelling to another planet! 🙂

  4. I bought this today, and I must say, I LOVE it! Thank you Lee (^_^)

  5. Madalene says:

    I missed out on the zine fair. Just wondering if I can purchase your Japan zine online somehow?

  6. leetranlam says:

    Thanks for all the very kind interest in my zine. Special thanks to Kate and Jessica for picking up past/present zines, it’s really lovely of you!
    Madalene and Memtree, it’s nice that you are in interested in my Japan issue. I’ve made a quick online link for purchasing it if you’re interested:
    Thanks again everyone for your kindness.

  7. Anthology says:

    Bought your zine yesterday at the fair and I have almost finished reading it cover to cover! The content compelling and very well written. I noticed a few people reading over my shoulder on the train this morning, most likely due to the lovely imbelishments and it’s all round gorgeousness.

    Thanks Lee!

  8. emma says:

    got mine! loving it and trying to sneak read it while at work

  9. leetranlam says:

    Anthology – wow, thank you for sharing your amazingly kind comments! I’m so glad you enjoyed the zine and that’s really nice that it attracted the eye of some nearby train commuters, too. Thank you again!

  10. leetranlam says:

    Emma, thanks for picking up a zine. Hope your workday has lots of breaks for sneaky reading & thank you so much for your ultra-kind words!
    Anonymous, the bakery is: Gateau d’Ange:

Your Comments



Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

All the good pictures on this blog are by photography ace (and patient boyfriend), Will Reichelt, (all the dodgy ones can be credited to me)!

The lovely banner is by friend and ultra-talented illustrator Grace Lee.

This site redesign was made possible by the next-level generosity and expertise of Daniel Boud, whose code-tinkering ways are only outranked by his seriously inspired way with a camera.

You can read more about my co-conspirators here.

This is a blog I do for pure fun and zero influence – there's no sponsorship, sneaky advertorial or advertising. I pay for all the food mentioned, 'cos it seems the ethical thing to do.


This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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