Japan 2023: Day 20

Oh boy, I think I overdid it today. I’m OK now though. Better take it in order.

Got up this morning and I got out of my room a little later than I wanted to. Too much cursing at my computer. But my sister and I had been discussing a cafe around the corner from the hotel and I decided to try it out. It turned out to be OK, but not nearly as good as other choices. I think Drip-X-Cafe in Osaka has been the best so far and Tully’s is still a strong standby. I usually just go to Hoshino Coffee when I’m in Shinjuku and I might try that tomorrow. But today was Cafe de Crie.

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The ham and egg sandwich was kind of stale-ish. The toast wasn’t quite crisp. The salad had a dab of mayo and that was the only dressing. And the coffee, while strong, started to taste sour as it cooled. Anyway, I’m being picky. It was fine.

I didn’t know what to do in Tokyo, and I kind of decided today was the day to go to the “east” side. My sister had suggested I get a decent kitchen knife and I’ve been looking. I saw one in Umeda, but I didn’t buy one there. So today I went to Kappabashi, the kitchen supply area. The trip there was a bit of a mess for me. Lots of stairs without escalators or elevators. When I got there I was OK, and by the end of the time my leg had loosened up a little. Anyway, I went to one store with a lot of stock and they wanted to sell me a stainless knife. They said the stainless knives were just as good nowadays.

Then I went to a store that has been around for generations and it was full of foreigners buying knives. According to them the best knives were carbon steel and require a lot of maintenance. Wash them right after use, dry them, and coat them in a layer of oil. No cutting frozen things or bones (I told the guy I had Henkel knives for that and he laughed). I ended up buying a knife for ¥59,800! It was actually less because they gave me a form to get the 10% consumption tax refunded and while I went 4 or 5 blocks away to get that done, they engraved my name into the blade. I’m excited to cut up some onions. That’s all I ever seem to do.

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The Kappabashi kitchen good area is near Asakusa and the Sky Tree.

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As I headed back towards the station (and towards Asakusa) I decided I wanted to try the melon pan (melon-shaped bread). I’ve heard rumors that it was first made in the area, and I’m a big fan of melon pan, so off I went. Google maps told me the second store of Akasaka Kagetsudou was close by, but when I got there I found an empty lot. The woman at the funky clothing store next door told me to try the main store, all the way through the crowds. So off I went.

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So many people.

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When I got there I got in line. I figured if there was a line it was the right place.

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What I got was a very fresh melon pan with matcha soft ice cream inside! Not only was it the best melon pan, it had green tea soft ice cream! It was much bigger than a regular melon pan too.

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I decided to get some of the croquettes I saw on the way and that meant going back through the same crowds to a side street.

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First I got a regular one, beef and potatoes. It was the best.

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I noticed people were all getting one of the options with cheese, so I asked what the most popular one was and got that. It was menchi (minced meat) and cheese. I think I liked the regular one better, but this was good as well.

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It was only about 1pm so I decided to keep going and went to Akihabara to check out the few electronics stores that are left. There were even fewer than last year, and the ones that were left seemed to have less stuff. And as long as I was here, I went to visit the Kanda Myojin shrine like I do every year (it’s also close to a train station that takes me back to the hotel). I suppose it’s a tradition.

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And finally it was back to the hotel.

When I got back to the room around 3pm I realized I had overdone it. When I sat down my leg started cramping up a bit and wouldn’t stop. The pain was pretty bad.I  took a short nap and lay around a while and it calmed down. I decided I’d better stay close by for dinner and just headed over to Shake Shack even though there’s one in my neighborhood in Portland now.

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All at the southern end of Shinjuku station.

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When I got back I picked up some packages that are going to be difficult to get home, but I guess we get them every year. The big box is rice crackers from Niigata, the smaller box is youkan from Toraya, and the bag is something my sister bought and needs me to bring back. The socks are FamiChiki socks that I bought for myself. Family Mart socks are generally pretty comfortable so I’m hoping the FamiChiki ones are as well.

That’s about it for today. Not sure what I’m doing tomorrow but I’m hoping it involves a lot more sitting and a lot less walking around.



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