Trip to Japan

There's a 50-50 chance I'll be going to Japna this spring. If I do, where do I go to find the world class chisels and knives? I just thumbed through Lonely Planet (and the index, too) and didn't see any mention....
Cheers and TIA.
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Couldn't tell you now. About twenty five years ago, a little shop just down the road from my house, in Sagamihara, had or could get, about anything you could want. Couldn't tell you how to get there but I could show you. Buy me a ticket? :)

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On Mon, 29 Jan 2007 16:43:59 -0800, Never Enough Money wrote:

There is some culture centers and the like in Japan. If you are near one you could stop in and ask them about places to purchase. The will probably know about local tool makers and where to obtain their tools.
Paul T.
http://www.USENETHOST.com 100% Uncensored , 100% Anonymous, 5$/month Only!
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do,
just
see any

Partly it depends on where in Japan you're going.
For the most part, you're not going to find anything resembling a BORG type store. The closest you might come to that would be along the Ginza In Tokyo. Mostly what you'll find are "Mom & Pop" type hardware stores, especially outside of Tokyo.
Your best bet is to get a decent translator's help in locating a good Tansu Shokunin (Japanese storage chest/cabinet craftsman) and respectfully request his assistance in locating quality tools. You could also try a respected local carpenter (Daiku), but the tool set (but not necessarily the quality of the tools) will be a bit different. Shoji makers generally use high quality tools, but their's tend to be more specialized.
The generic word for chisel, the tool as opposed to cheating someone, is "nomi" (no - mee). Of course nothing's ever that simple. Specific types of chisels have their own names, in some cases different names for the same chisel depending on the craft they are used in.
There are a few good, and a host of junk, books out there on Japanese woodworking tools and their terminology. A couple of good ones available from Amazon.com are:
"Complete Japanese Joinery: A Handbook of Japanese Tool Use and Woodworking for Joiners and Carpenters", ISBN: 0881791210
and
"Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use", ISBN: 0941936465
They are a good way to learn the correct names of the various edged tools.
Oh! Almost forgot, you may hear references to "blue steel" and "white steel". Those terms have nothing to do with the color of steel. They refer to the color of the labels by various manufacturers, and by some manufacturers on different product lines.
Len
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Depends on where in Japan you're going. I liked this place in Osaka
http://homepage2.nifty.com/togi/index.htm
I've also heard that there are a lot of woodworking tools available in the Akasaka area from some Tokyo natives, but I don't get to Tokyo much.
Brian Huffaker, DSWL
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Brian and Len, I can go where ever I want. The details of the trip have not been planned. TThanks for the tips, though.
wrote:

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In Tokyo the easiest (but not cheapest) is to go to Tokyo Hands in Shibuya or Ikibukuro they will speak English but will have a small Selection http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/index.htm (Japanese) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyu_Hands
However Joyful Honda has a much bigger selection byt speak little English The biggest near Tokyo is at Chiba New Town http://www.joyfulhonda.com/map/map-chibant01.htm
Under toy will find some information from another Tokyo resident http://www.joyfulhonda.com/map/map-moriya.htm http://www.ablett.jp/workshop/joyful.htm
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only replies to the news group please

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Tokyu Hands is great, but it's really a hobby store on steroids. They have a decent selection of chisels and other tools (and knives), but I'd guess that they're more the consumer or hobbyist grade. That's about all I could afford, but I've still retired most of my western hand tools for them.
If you'll be in the Tokyo area, there's a good hardware store in Sagamiono about a mile from the station. I don't know the street name, but I could get there from here. There's also a neat mom and pop in Tsuruma about 4 blocks from the station. I picked up a shoulder plane and a saw there last trip, and they gave me a canvas tool bag the first time I was there. Again, I couldn't really give directions, but if you spring for a ticket I'd be glad to show you. Bring my wife and kids with, and we'd have a translator. Or wait until this summer, when we go back.
There's a cool knife store in Machida, just off the train station. Cheaper than the larger stores, and they have the long sashimi knives that SWMBO won't let me buy. There's a Tokyu Hands in Machida too, along with everything else you might want. Everything...
-MJ
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Call either the Japan Woodworker in Alameda Ca or Hida Tools in Berkley, CA and ask to speak to the owner. I bet they can help you.
You might have to convince them that you're not out to start another Japanese woodworker store, tho!
MJ Wallace
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wrote:

I lived in Japan for 2 years. If I were going to Japan for a visit, I'd spend my time sightseeing instead of looking for tools. The language barrier constantly works against you. You'll be able to make them understand that you want a chisel. Beyond that, communication is difficult. Good tools aren't cheap over there either. Taxi fare alone may eat any savings. Do your shopping with a reliable stateside vendor by internet or catalog and enjoy your trip.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
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DonkeyHody wrote:

As for the language barrier, three words went a long way when I was there 20 years ago. "Domo origato" = Thank you very much. (or "domo" for "thanks") but formal is better. "Doy tosha mo-sho" is "you're welcome". I have forgotten what "please" was (Google it maybe). But if you can master those, the Japanese are a very polite society and simple courtesy will serve you well.
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While they'll go a long way, they won't get what kind of chisel you want across to the chiselmeister.
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Mon, Feb 19, 2007, 4:22pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@begone.com (KaiS.) doth claimeth: As for the language barrier, three words went a long way when I was there 20 years ago. "Domo origato" = Thank you very much. (or "domo" for "thanks") but formal is better. "Doy tosha mo-sho" is "you're welcome". I have forgotten what "please" was (Google it maybe). But if you can master those, the Japanese are a very polite society and simple courtesy will serve you well.
Uh, those are phrases, not words. And, you're wrong.
The three most important things to learn first in any foreign language are: Please, thank you, and "where's the batchroom", not necessarily in that order. It's only after you get those three down pat do you concentrate on how to order beer.
JOAT When in doubt, go to sleep. - Mully Small
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On Mon, 19 Feb 2007 11:49:31 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

"Airport", "railroad station", or "docks" are also important depending on how you plan to get home.
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(KaiS.) doth claimeth:

Another very useful one is "sumimasan" ("excuse me") - it's much appreciated there. Kerry
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Never Enough Money wrote:

Just on the off chance that you aren't entirely fluent with the language, I'd like to suggest that you print out some pix of what you are hoping to buy.
Bill
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