Monday, June 3, 2013

Time to cook

Like any big city (and Tokyo is a BIG city, 13 million and counting) Tokyo has districts that cater to specific disciplines or past times.  Day before yesterday, for example, I took a walk down Meidi-dori, which has five blocks of nothing but musical instrument stores.  If you can't find it on Meidi-dori, you can't play music on it.  It was pretty cool.

Most stores won't let you photograph inside, but here are some highlights:

Ukulele Planet.  An entire store of ukes, from $20 kid's ukes to $2000 Martin ukes and everything in between.  They had a flying V uke, they had vintage Hawaiian ukes, they had everything.  I played a little 1920's banjo uke that had a great sound.  I miss playing music an awful lot, I have not played since we have been here.

There was also a store the name of which I think is BOSS (though that could have been the name of something in the store, hard for me to tell.  The top floor was all Martin acoustic guitars.  I played a lovely little number that I had never seen, called the "Arlo Guthrie," a parlor size six-string with a real presence.  Really nice to play.  The fourth floor was all Gibson guitars and holy moly.  Nice stuff.

The first floor of all of the guitar shops is dedicated to electric guitars, and there is rock blaring out of every one.  Staffed exclusively by young men in their early twenties with carefully coiffed hair and a careful "I am WAAAAAY cooler then you are" look about them, they seem to favor American rock and especially bands like Poison, Dokken, and Stryper.  If these names don't sound familiar think 1980's hair-metal bands.  It was really funny to walk around and hear the sounds of my high school years blasting out at me.

So I wandered around and played some guitars and generally had a grand time.  And then yesterday I went to the district around Tawaramashi-dori, which is where you go if you want to start a restaurant.  I mean, there was everything there you could imagine, from burners and pots and pans to flatware to mugs and bowls.  A favorite for me were the stores that sell the fake food that a lot of restaurants put in their window to advertise what you can get there.  I would have brought back a whole load as presents for folks, but a single piece of sushi roll was $35, and a bowl of ramen was over @200!  But then, these are hand-crafted (out of plastic, but that does not make them less of a craft object, after all).  So I contented myself with taking photos.

Here are some of the sights:
Just so you know where you are, there is a giant chef's head and giant tea cups.

A really lovely bench in a store that sold only wooden plates and bowls and cups.

Bulk hashi, or chopsticks.  Thousands and thousands of hashi.

...Aaaaand fancy hashi.  Again, it is hard not to make the comparison to Ollivander's wand shop from Harry Potter.

Plastic food.  This place was amazing.

I mean, the sushi looks like real sushi.  And it is $30-$50 per piece.

Plastic Bread.

Plastic ramen.  I can't help it, I love this stuff.

And of course plastic beer.  Mmmm.  Now I am thirsty.

These hang in restaurants to tell you what food they serve.  So these all say things like "Ramen with Pork."  They sure look beautiful, though.

So.  Many.  Little.  Bowls.

And baskets!  We got your baskets here!

The amount of different ceramics is really overwhelming.

And this is the cheap stuff...


You have no idea how hard it was not to come home with about 50 of these...

Paper straw for presentation.  In every color you could imagine.

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