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DogMa DogMa is offline
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Default Going to Tokyo - where should I visit?

Thitherflit wrote:
> TokyoB suggested department stores. In particular, I would suggest
> Takashimaya *in* *Shinjuku*. During daytime hours, they have multi-
> lingual interns at the service desk who can help out.

I haven't bought tea in the big department stores, since it's so much
fun to browse the tea-only shops. Never found one where they spoke
English, but their unfailing courtesy still made it productive. In the
ones I explored, teas seemed to be arranged around the shop by price,
which helped a bit.

I did buy a fair number of kyusu and other pots at Takashimaya and some
other big stores. Very reasonable quality and prices. If you have time,
though, dedicated teapot shops are stunning in quality and variety.
Stopping into one by happenstance near Ueno, I picked up a large, finely
finished nut and bolt that were sitting on the counter. They were almost
weightless. With my 300 or so words of Japanese (mostly for food) and
the proprietor's complete lack of English, it took a while for him to
explain that they had been made from the same fine-grain clay as the
pots - possibly a production engineer having a little fun, or a promo
gift for dealers? I immediately tried to buy them; not for sale at any
price. I did select and purchase two fine kyusu (still my favorites),
after which he kindly presented the nut and bolt to me gratis. Japanese
courtesy is unexcelled in my experience.

Not to be missed by foodies: Kappabashi, the half-dozen blocks of
restaurant supply shops. I learned about this area years ago when I
asked a local Japanese restaurant owner where she got her sushi knives.
She told me that the really good ones couldn't be bought in the US, and
said that she traveled to Kappabashi-dori once a year to stock up. In
three trips to the zone over a couple of decades, I picked up a
multitude of culinary tools and toys, and was even recognized by some of
the shop owners. Alas, with the yen no longer at 160 to the dollar, it
might be a while before my next visit.