I went to Kappabashi yesterday. Kappabashi is a place near Ueno and is famous in Japan for selling anything and everything that has to do with the restaurant business. Of course that means knives, fork, spoons, chopsticks and plates. But it also means "noren" (the cloths that Japanese restaurants have outside in front over the doorway to show that they are open); it also means "akachochin" (the red lanterns that restaurants have outside to show what kind of establishment the restaurant is; the plastic food you see in front of the Japanese and Chinese restaurants and just about anything you can think of including wine coolers, exhaust fans for restaurants and even the little signs that say "men" or "womens" for the rest rooms!
Kappabashi has everything for restaurants!
Since most of the shops at Kappabashi sell wholesale, they didn't allow me to take photos in their shops but two places didn't mind.... I think that's because their business kicks butt and they don't care about a little Internet competition!
One particularly interesting shop was "Maizuru Sample" (Cheat Sample). Cheat Sample is a shop that was just stuffed full of fake wax foods.... This place had everything!
The sign out front of the shop doesn't begin to show the, the, er, the delicacies within...
Ummm! Ice cold beer and spaghetti with forks floating in mid-air... Wait! What!? Those beers sell for about ¥5000 each (that's about $60!) Those beers had better taste good.... Or, in this case, at least look like they do!
King crab imported from Russia... and molded in a factory around the corner... I wonder what an artican gets to make one of these? And, just how does one get a career in making fake foods? "Mom! I want to work in the restaurant industry but don't like kitchens or fried food... Or even customers for that matter! What should I do?"
These lobsters are life-sized and look completely real...
....and they sell for $600 (USD) each!!!??? Holy Red Lobster!
Well, there's no way I'm paying $600 for a lobster that's not even cooked and, even if it were, you couldn't eat it. When it comes to food that is poisonous anyway, I'm into Cup Noodles and instant ramen. Here's the wax version at a reasonable $80 a bowl (this is better than the real thing because eating ramen is very bad for you and fattening anyway!)
Prime cut USDA choice steak... Er, plastic...
Need to take a few sushi home with you? Sure, these are already wrapped. Put it in your packet... Oh, and make sure they don't stay there too long... Nothing worse than melted sushi....
I wonder if that plate is real or is that wax too? I should have asked.
Well, at $25 or more for a piece of sushi that, if you eat it, will cause you to go to the hospital to have your stomach pumped, I think I'll stick with the refrigerator magnets. They have tons of those!
It was a fun day at Kappabashi. Next time I'll try to be more sly and take more photos... Until then, I highly suggest that, before eating anything, knock on it to make sure that it isn't plastic.
When in doubt, refrain!
Here is Maizuru's webpage. They even take internet orders and you can order online!
Map URL: http://yahoo.jp/DJRLwa