Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kappabashi Dougu Street

A giant chef marks the entrance to the southern end of Kappabashi-dori
, also known just as Kappabashi or Kitchen Town, is a street in Tokyo between Ueno and Asakusa which is almost entirely populated with shops supplying the restaurant trade. These shops sell everything from mass-produced crockery, restaurant furniture, ovens and decorations, through to esoteric items such as the plastic display food or sampuru (サンプル) in Japanese found outside Japanese restaurants.
The street is also an off-beat tourist destination.
Images of the kappa appear on shops along the street and web pages, just like this one in of the shops.
The street's name is believed to come from either the kappa (raincoats) of nearby residents which were hang out to dry on the bridge, or from a merchant named Kihachi Kappaya who funded the project to build Shinhorikawa River for water management.
However, due to the homophone with the popular mythical creature, Kappa, the group of shops along the street officially adopted kappa as its mascot. The reason I ended up in this area was a coincidence.
Cute shuttle bus in this area.
The main street along Kappabashi Street.
I was supposed to meet up with my former lecturer in PPKTJ, Kimura Kaori Sensei at Ueno station. Kimura Sensei is currently doing her post-graduate study in Waseda University and she wanted to do a meeting with me for some work-related stuff. We planned to have lunch in a family restaurant nearby, around the Asakusa area, while working on the task we had. However, due to our poor navigation, we were lost in directions and realised we were already walking along this street.

While continuing the effort to find the location to have our lunch, we took the chance to look at the restaurant's wholesale stuff sold here. They includes plastic food called sampuru (which I will blog on that in the next entry), metal spatulas, deep fryers and an immense variety of affordable crockery. Some shops sell only in wholesale quantities, but many are happy to sell single items and factory-made Japanese pottery (which to the casual eye is indistinguishable from the handmade kind) can sell for as little as ¥100 a piece.
One of the many shops along Kappabashi Street.
Potteries and bowls.
Does anyone have any idea what is this used for?
Oven to make pizza.
Another bargain is high-quality Japanese kitchen knives, which are generally much cheaper in Japan. Most stores here are closed on Sundays (taken from Wikipedia).
In the end, we decided to have our lunch at Bamiyan, a Chinese restaurant.
My lunch set, consisting of sweet and sour pork, ramen, and salad.
Kimura Sensei's noddle with various kinds of vegetables and prawns.
Siew mai as add-on dish.
Took a picture before leaving the restaurant.
A day earlier, WinD had no lectures and he wasn't working. So, the two of us went out to Chiba to settle on something and go around the city to shop as well. I will only disclose on that stuff when the time is right, but for now I will just save the details. However, to those few people who already know what is it about, please do not reveal it here, yet.
First destination was the Chiba city centre.
Upside-down monorail in the city.
Compare the water quality with Klang River. Klang River has no chance at all haha.
For the five days I was in Chiba and Tokyo, this is the first and only time I ate outside. Remember I once mentioned that on my next trip to Chiba, the first meal I will have would be at Ippudo.
I made sure I stick to that promise and there we were, at Ippudo for our lunch.
Ippudo once again.
The interior design of the ramen restaurant.
白丸元味 (Shiromarumotoaji), which I haven't tried yet before this.
つけ麺 (Tsukemen) - ¥850.
博多バンズ (Hakata Buns) - ¥200. Super delicious, highly recommended.
After having out late lunch, we headed to IKEA to shop.
Initially, I wanted to get my futon there but too bad they didn't sell in one whole set, so in the end, I only got a blue pillow haha. But it was fun to shop inside IKEA. I still remember the first and only time I have ever been to IKEA was a few years back, but that was in IKEA at 1Utama.
One of the classic train which heads to Tokyo.
One our way to IKEA, there was one incident which was really silly and we couldn't believe we could be that stupid. We got down at the wrong stations not once, but twice! Neither me nor WinD has ever been this careless. On the first time, we were talking and we forgot to get down at the station we were supposed to get down. What made matter worse is that we were inside the rapid train, which means the next station will be a few stations away. On the second time, we got down a station earlier than we should. Damn stupid, right?

Those mistakes cost us more than thirty minutes to get to the opposite platforms and take the right train.
IKEA, decorated with Christmas decorations.

It was a day full of incidents. I got myself a set of new futon which was packed in a huge cardboard box at LalaPort, a shopping centre just a stone's throw from IKEA. The box was easily more than 1.5m x 1m. On our way back from Lalaport, in which we got to take the shuttle bus to the nearest train station, was the time when everything went wrong. We knew it would happen when we were lining up to board the bus. Even the two guys behind us decided not to board the same bus because it was so packed already, mainly because my box has occupied spaces for about three people haha. The lady who was sitting in the bus saw us, holding on such a huge box and she started to laugh to her friend next to her. The point is, she laugh in such a Japanese way, using her palms to cover her mouth while trying to sneak at our directions lol.

I have been in Japan for more than two years, and I think I have never felt so embarrassed like that haha. I couldn't do anything, so I just buat bodoh and luckily enough, the ride was just a few minutes; otherwise I don't know where I would put my face. Maybe I would hide my face inside the box since it is so huge haha!
Lalaport Tokyo Bay.

But sorry-hor, so far I have never heard of Si Ham Port yet in Japan.


=chuan guan= said...

i tot u finish blogged about tokyo?

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
sorry for all the confusions, mainly due to my long-overdue entries. i was in tokyo one month ago. this is my second trip to tokyo.

Candlelyn said...

I thought Ikea only available in malaysia,my insight is really small,aik >.<
the ramen looked very yummy,haha

calvin said...

@ candlelyn:
ikea is a swedish company, and i heard the product sold in malaysia are unwanted stuff from ikea stores from other countries. not so sure how true is that lol!

yes, the ramen was superb!

Ken said...

My mom gonna loves Kappabashi a lot! Haha... Why the siu mai looks so pale?

Lalaport Bay. A nice name. Lol...

calvin said...

@ ken:
let me guess; you mom loves cooking, doesn't she? xD
it was way too cold, that is why the siew mai looked pale haha!

Kae Vin said...

argh nice food.

and what something so secretive cannot reveal it here...=_=

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
but i still prefer koh lou yok in malaysia >.<

if it is not a secret, i will surely reveal it already. just wait and you will know it soon xD