We wake up kinda late. Not what I’d hoped for but we push on, towards Kappabashi. If you’re a foodie/chef or just a regular tourist anyway, I’d recommend you go to Kappabashi. Food is a big part of Japanese culture and Kappabashi is the street that supports the food industry in Tokyo. From fake plastic food to knives, ceramics, cooking gear, coffee gear and everything else in between, this is the place. Originally, I’d planned to go there and then go to Asakusa, which is nearby. So yeah, if you plan a trip to Asakusa, detour to Kappabashi. It’s best to get off the subway at the Tawaramachi station on the Ginza line. You get out the station exit 3 and walk to the nearest intersection in front of you, then turn right and walk until you see a giant mustachioed germanic lookin’ chef atop a building. That’s Kappabashi dori.

We ended up snagging a noren/door curtain for my dad and the cutest ever pig lantern plus some sharp stuff at this big ceramics shops at the corner of the start of the street. I spend a lot of time ogling the plastic food and dream up a massive pig whilst contemplating a yes/no on a bowl of ramen. At at least 3500Y for a decent sized one, it’s a little steep. I wanted one with the chopsticks hanging in the air. Even the fake sushi cellphone charms/key chain rubbish is like at least 600Y. Pricey for absurd trinkets but really nice. Especially for the small pieces, there’s quite a bit of attention to detail. I liked one shop that had a plate with the Scream painting done up in fake choc sauce.

Kappabashi is also home to a good few knife stores including Kamata, Union Commerce, Tsubaya, TDI and Kama Asa. I ended up buying an Aritsugu 165mm white steel #2 deba for about 14000Y/AUD175 whilst the gf gets a 240mm yanagiba from Kamata’s own line. Both of these come from Kamata. I think Kamata has the best selection of J-knives that are more branded including some Masamoto and Aritsugu. Too bad. I also like Union Commerce a lot. Besides the knife store, they also have a kitchen stuff place and a coffee centered shop. I kopped a Kalita ice coffee maker. Knife wise, they had some Masamoto as well but a lot of Western style knives. TDI had a lot of Tojiro. Tsubaya had some Japanese brands I wasn’t too familiar with but no wa-gyutos. Kama Asa was the friendliest of the lot and had the biggest, nicest looking store. I picked up a fish scaler although we took a while with one of the unbranded pettys. Aside from their own knives, they also had a good amount of OEM unbranded knives sorted simply by the type of metal. I considered an unbranded white steel #2 deba at 12500Y. Totally bringing my whole bank account to Kappabashi next time.

For a late lunch, I wanted this eel place but they were closed til 5pm. There was pretty much nothing around Kappabashi to eat in a 5 minute stumbling zone that was open. Nothing we really wanted anyway, so we popped into Freshness Burger, which was actually a pleasant surprise. I’ve never actually gone to a FB before, so this was new for me. I had the cheeseburger, which was pretty awesome because after I bit into it the first time, I could squeeze out juice from the patty. Repeatedly. I have a video. The chips were also on point and the fried chicken was fantastic with mustard sauce. The lemonade they had was stingy in quantity but high on quality. I don’t think I’m going back to MOS burger next time. I kinda feel it was like next level MOS for a little bit more moolah. At 3pm, right after we went in, they got slammed and there was a queue. Walking round the Kappabashi area was kinda nice, lots of cyclists. The cutest thing was a lot of bicycles had a baby seat attached and the baby seat has legrests!

Before dinner, we go back to the hotel, where we smash the rest of the Pierre Hermes and the mille feuille, which is awesome. It’s like flaky, crispy puff, with coffee buttercream that’s actually light and delish plus a good slab of praline near the bottom. It’s delicious. I like the macarons but I like this more. Speaking of the macarons, the 6 we got were vanilla, pistachio (polished off the day before), carrot/orange, a choc type, a rose/tea combo and the ispahan. My fave of the lot is the choc, just superb, maybe best macaron ever for me. The ispahan is also really good but it’s designed for a female. A textbook pink wearing, flower loving, made of sugar and spice and everything nice kinda girl. It’s rose and lychee and raspberry and it is soooo girly. Soooo feminine. It’s incredible how a little sugary delight can be so powerfully evocative of the stereotypical concept of a girl.

Bang! It’s dinnertime, we are smudging it with a million souls in the endless hallways of Shinjuku station, which is like 10 times the size it was in 2002. There’s so many people. Everyone’s rushing somewhere. We meet up with some friends and head for some food at an izakaya. I’d actually crossed out my izakaya plans because of this meeting. Unfortunately, the place isn’t the kinda joint that I would pick. It’s 3000Y for 2 hrs of free flow alcohol/mixers and food included. The food is good. However, it’s all the cheap shit. We got some edamame to start, followed by a radish salad. Then came a big platter of french fries and prawn crackers. The main was a nabe type dish with pork intestines cooked in a shallow brass pan. They also propped out a side of yakitori, chicken gizzards and Korean Pajeon! When the intestines were demolished, they gave us more stock and noodles. Dessert was an almond jelly, plus a birthday cake someone brought along. Really tasty but nothing to write home about in the slightest. I consoled myself with Calpis sours and Suntory Premium Malt.

After dinner, a jaunt around East Shinjuku and the requisite stop at the purikura for some canned laughter before we finally head home. I feel so fucking old I drown my sorrows with more Calpis and my newfound fave, a Mitsuya Mikan flavored cider. Incidentally, the following is my Tokyo drink hitlist.

  1. Calpis Soda (preferably grape but it’s so hard to find)
  2. Mitsuya Mikan Cider
  3. Afternoon Red Tea, Sugarless version

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