Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kappabashi... or my Heaven

Imagine a street with kitchenware vendor after vendor and take away the Tokyo price. This is Kappabashi. A street lined with wholesale kitchen/restaurant goods and tons of other 'I don't need, but have to have' sorts of items. This is my favorite place to shop in Tokyo. Each time I am there I always end up rushing to the train, sweating with multiple bags in tow so that I can make it in time for preschool pick-up. And I always think I can squeeze in just one more shop, then I remember how long they take to wrap items, although very well, I have to move on. It is also here that you will find all of the plastic food for the restaurant display cases including: sushi, fish, pasta dishes, toast with jam, beer, ...anything and everything. The plastic food costs twice as much as the real thing. Go figure.
In this shop I was trying to mix and match some bowls and when I went to pay, the guy shook his head and said, 'No, only 5' I was like, 'huh?' I looked at the other gaijin and they gave me the knowing look of 'yeah, good luck trying to figure out what he's saying.' When I didn't put back my items and continued to browse he brought another guy who spoke some English and he sort of explained that I had to buy 5 of the same thing, no mixing. That was common in a lot of other shops - this does cater to the restaurants, so it makes sense, but I didn't want 5 of the same, so I left. I managed to find a few that let me buy just one.

Coffee everything

My main goal for this particular trip was to purchase a chef's knife and have them inscribe my name in Katakana on the knife. One of the three guys spoke pretty good English, otherwise I don't know what would have ended up on my knife. I'll have to ask the kids if it says what it is supposed to say. Initially one guy said ' Two alphabets only' So I thought - okay my initials. But I hate my initials, BM, I usually put BSM, but that clearly wasn't going to fit. So I write BM down on a piece of paper for them and the men all look at it laugh about something - they couldn't be laughing at the meaning of my initials could they? I told them I wanted it in Katakana. "Oh......" they said and then chatted away, back and forth and finally English speaking man says - ' Too long in Katakana' as he sounded it out. So I settled for just the 'M' I think.

The Union Tokyo Knife shop

Making the 'M'

Basket vendor

Restaurant sign vendor

Kitchenware vendor

More kitchen stuff

The best part -ceramics

Whaddya need?

And the fake food shop, but it looks pretty good! Hey is that sushi on that cake?

Must click on these photos to see them in larger form to appreciate all of the fake food and beer

The beer is great, there are ice crystals on the cans that appear incredibly real .

1 comment:

Cynthia Murphy said...

Ok, this is just a tease. I could spend all day shopping ceramic bowls alone. And an engraved knife! Love it. I will remind you that I too am a "M". Hint.

Great post. Go back for more and more.