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It’s 4:30 AM. This is the second day I’ve woken at 3 AM. I returned home 2 nights ago from 5 weeks in Japan after almost 24 hours of door to door travel: Nankai Osaka airport express train–>Osaka–>Seattle–>LAX–>Oakland–>BART–>walking–>home.

So tea is in order. Enjoying some good-value sencha from Ippodo (which has tons of outlets all over Japan, btw, so not quite as exclusive as its US presence would suggest, like much in Japan). Among other things, I brought back a combined ~600 g of sencha, gyokuro, and matcha, from both Uji and Shizuoka, the two most esteemed tea growing areas of Japan.

Per ounce, good quality matcha is somewhat poor value (aside from those $40k bings one reads about).

Here is a picture of my early morning setup, suitable for the eclectic monk I have apparently become, due to jet lag. It includes some new pieces of equipment I acquired, as well as tried and true ones from nearby, Taiwan, and Korea (feel free to guess what is from where).

Over the past 5 weeks, I ate more sushi and sashimi than I probably have in the past 5 years, and less fruit than..any point in my life. I went to Tokyo, Takao-san, Kamakura, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, and Koya-San.

Kyoto is the most overrated city in Japan. Osaka is one of the most underrated.

I took more than 1,000 pictures, filled a 230 page notebook with the ugly handwriting that only I can read, (deceivingly filled with beautiful words and astute analysis), and emptied my pockets of approximately $3,200 in total.

Much more to follow, in myriad forms.

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