Friday, August 27, 2010

Bad Sign

In Japan, there seems to be a God for just about everything imaginable. Ever eaten Inari sushi? Those delicious little "brown bags" of sweet and savoury fried tofu stuffed with sushi rice? They are named for the fox God, apparently a big fan of fried tofu.

According to, Akuma is currently at the top of the top ten list of Gods and Demons (they can be both). Usually appearing with fire in his eyes and hair aflame, it is recommended that you avoid contact. If you do see him, pretend that you don't.

Amaterasu is perhaps less intimidating. But just as interesting. Born from her father's eye as a tear, she is the Goddess of the Sun. The Japanese Royal Family are her direct descendents. But her brother is the storm God. Family get togethers must be quite the adventure in this Holy Household.

So somewhere out there, there MUST be a Sign God. And we at Sanbiki need to find this God, and do whatever it takes to appease him (or her). If its sushi we'll make it. Incense, we'll burn it. Human sacrifices...well, lets hope the sushi and incense will do it.

You see we have had unnaturally bad luck when it comes to having restaurant signage approved.

At our old location at 476 Victoria, we had a sign made to replace the worn particle board that was in the rooftop sign on the building. We thought the powers that be would be happy to see us investing in our business and improving the appearance of the building (even though we did not own it) We applied for the sign permit to get our spiffy new sign up and out on display.

We were turned down. "Illegal Roof Top Sign" we were told. Our design did not fit in with the "architectural styling of the building". The building used to be a drive-thru gas station. "Architectural styling"? What? Earls on 5th (the previous tenants) had a sign. The new tenants have a sign. We never could get a Sanbiki sign approved. Go figure?

At our new location, our signs got preapproval at the drawing stage. Now that we have the completed contruction (and are delighted with Chase-based Dai-zen Joinery's work!)We have waited to see the finished product and want to make the signs even better than the orginal. And yes, bigger.

We want to improve on the original idea and design. Change is not necessarily bad. Change is possibly the only constant. Because our new proposed sign is different from the old proposed sign hopefully does not mean it will be refused solely on the basis that it is different.

We will find out. The City has told us to talk to City Council. So we are taking it to City Council to see if we can come to a compromise. Of course it is in everyone's interest to have as many successful businesses downtown (and everywhere in the city) as possible. And good signage is critical to any business. It is heartbreaking to take phone calls from frustrated customers who are driving around unable to find us.

So Masato is looking into setting up a meeting to get the whole sign thing figured out. But if you know of a God, Demon, Spirit or other other-worldly entity who can be bought off, you know where to find us. At the corner of Lansdowne and 5th Avenue. The lovely new restaurant with no signs... week at Sanbiki and Mori Mori. Today (Friday) lunch not too bad. Lots of regulars which is always great. Take out at Mori Mori getting popular but it will take time to spread the word.

New specials menu at dinner! Our kitchen team has put together some great new dishes, all under $10. Crispy fried noodles with seafood and our special sauce; "grilled cheese" rice balls (weird but wonderful!) and a light and lovely crab salad. Some like it hot! Try our new spicy pork with Kim Chi. Eat, sweat, love, eat more, sweat....well, you get the picture.

Thats all for this post, Heather signing off for the night. Hope to see you all soon!

1 comment:

  1. Natsuki and I had takeout from Mori Mori a couple of times when we were in town back in June... delicious. Good luck with the city and getting your sign -- hope it goes well!