Grocery shopping in Tokyo was an experience. Some things were easy – eggs, fruit, bread. Some things were surprisingly challenging – which milk do we want. Other things were… Interesting.

There was an Akafudado just a few blocks from our place. It was where we stopped to pick up things like coffee and the makings of breakfast – coffee and breakfast were a little ritual we had before we headed out for the day.

After Day 1 – I realized our place did not have pepper, so we stopped to grab pepper, and I picked up a cute little spice bottle just because… It was just red plastic, and incredibly inexpensive, and I had no clue what was in it, but I liked the container. So I got it.

Days later while exploring the area around the Senso-ji temple, the hubby stopped suddenly and called me over to a storefront where an antique wood machine was rhythmically thumping away. I assumed it was some antique tool fascination and distractedly said, “oh yeah, cool.” 

That was when he said, “No you really need to come here and look.”

Sigh. Okay. What is… Oh! Cool!

That antique machine was pulverizing some sort of spice. Inside the shop we found neat little wooden containers, just like the red plastic one I’d picked up at the grocery. And the spice blend that went inside them. It’s kind of a cool story – c’mon, ya gotta admit there’s something interesting about a spice blend recipe that’s over 400 years old.
 Yes, I bought one of the little wooden containers – cherry wood (Sakura), the same wood my pepper grinder is made from. And yep, it came with a package of the spice. Which, by the way, is delicious… And it’s called yagenbori.