Best Japanese home products on Amazon. Holiday Gift guide!

Irasshaimase! Welcome. Step right in. Looking for the perfect holiday gift for that Japan loving friend of yours? Say no more. We’ve got what you need.

Here are our 2017 holiday home gift picks. All shipped and sold through Amazon. Hai!

Japanese enamel teapot kettle enamel


Noda Horo Japanese enamel tea pot. Japan has a long tradition of making some of the best enamel in the world. This tea kettle is no exception. It’s built with exacting standards by Noda Horo – a Japanese manufacturer that’s been in business for over 70 years. We like it in this burnt orange color, but they’ve got a few gorgeous colors to choose from. Made in Japan.

japanese kitchen towel tenugui

Channel your inner Jiro with this Tenugui towel. These little cotton beauties seem to be at the cornerstone of every Japanese home. Use it to wipe your hands, clean your kitchen, or decorate your apartment. So simple, and yet so beautiful – you can’t have enough of these things lying around. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, which who isn’t, we think you might fancy this Darkside version.

yube japanese moisturizing skin cream

We’re not sure what’s in the stuff, but goddamn does it hydrate your skin. Yube was invented in  1957 by a Japanese pharmacist, Yoshikiyo Nowatari. The dude wanted a petrol-free alternative to all the other skin creams available out there. Man did he nail it. Yube is one of many of Japans little secrets. Shhhhhh!

higo no kami pocket knife japanese home gift guide


Think your boyfriends pretty tough, huh? Well does he carry a Higo no Kami pocket knife. I didn’t think so. These things are direct descendants of Samurai Swords. They’re wicked sharp penny knives and you just can’t beat the price for 23.99. So get your boyfriend one, okay?

best japanese products gift guide

Morihata Set of 2 activated charcoal Toothbrushes. These incredible toothbrushes (is that the correct plural version) contain Japanese activated carbon. They clean and deodorize more than a traditional toothbrush because thanks to the molecular “stickiness” of carbon. We also think they look pretty damn good too. A no brainer for your favorite minimalist.


tampopo film dvd criterion collection

Tampopo Criterion collection Blu-Ray. This incredible film by director Juzo Itami was and may still be the first ever “ramen Western.” It’s a must see for any Japanofile. We like the Criterion collection because of it’s beautiful cover. There’s a scene in it involving two lovers and one ramen egg. You can imagine the fun.

kalita wave pour over coffee maker gift guide

The Kalita wave coffee dripper. We love this pour over because it’s so simple, beautiful and durable. It makes a hell of a cup of “kohi” with little effort or attention needed. Made of molded Japanese steel, so you know it’s going to be around for a very long time.

japaneasy cookbook 2017 holiday gift guide

Finally, every kitchen needs a corny cook book. Make it Japaneasy. The book is chalk full of really well thought our recipes that are truly easy to put together. It’s got beautiful, full page images and an incredibly quirky cover. Buy!


Best gear for bike commuting


Bike commuting is life changing. Bike commuting may save this planet. I look at my bike and tears start to well up in my eyes. Okay, maybe a little bit dramatic, but hell–we all need something to live for. Here are our picks for the best gear to get you on your bike and off it safely, conveniently and with some style.


Kryptonite Evolution mini u-lock. This thing is absolutely gold on the streets. But at 50 bucks, we know what you might be thinking. Why right? “Why don’t I just buy the cheapest one on Amazon? It’s just a lock.” Well let me tell you. This thing is keeping your damn bike safe. You’re commuting right? Well how would you like to stop for a coffee, lock your bike up with some cheapo-crap lock, only to come out and find your ride to work missing. I don’t think you’d like that very much. This is the last lock you’ll ever need to buy. And if you don’t believe us, stop any skiddin, smokin’, tattooed bike messenger in your city and ask their opinion on the matter. Use a cable lock if you’re tired of your current rig and want to go bike shopping!

odyssey twisted pedals bike commuting pedals

This ain’t the damn Tour de France. You’re just biking to work, so leave those clipless klick-claking pedals and shoes at home. We like these Odyssey twisted pedals because they’re cheap, durable, and come in a ton of cool colors. Quit walking around like a penguin in your space shoes and buy these pedals. You won’t regret it.

giro reverb best cycling helmet

What’s the point of riding a bike if you don’t look good. And you can’t look good without a head, so wear a dang helmet! Luckily with the Giro Reverb you can look good and be protected at the same time. Save that aero helmet for weekend rides, or ditch that old dad looking thing for this practical guy. We like it in this orange and white classic styling, but they offer tons of colors so check them out!

bike commuting safety triangle

Face it. As a bike commuter, you’re going to inevitably deal with some real asshole drivers. The kind of guys and gals who want you off “their roads.” They’ll honk, put up their middle finger, and maybe yell something stupid at you. So what do you do? The answer is simple: use a safety triangle. This cheap little thing seems to have magic powers. From our experience, cars yield, give more room and see you more easily with this thing strapped to your seat, bag or backpack. Okay, maybe it’s just the power of reflective material and not magic, but you get the point. They’re so cheap and potentially life saving, so why not grab one for all your buddies and form a safety triangle gang!!

sks bike fender for bike commuting to work

As we move into the wet season, you’re going to want to make sure you have a bike fender on you at all times. With that in mind, we can’t recommend the SKS rear rain and mudguard fender enough! Seriously. This thing works like a charm, looks great and is so dang affordable. It’s German so you know it’s high quality and durable. Do you and your ass a favor and just buy one.


You didn’t hear it from us that this cheapo, Chinese-knockoff works about 95% as good as the nearly $60 bell it’s imitating, okay? Make sure you’re not only seen, but heard. A bell on your dashboard (handlebars) will be used a thousand times a day. Get it here on Amazon for a mere $14 bucks.

rema best cycling patch kit

This one’s a no brainer: a simple patch kit. Never leave home without one. This one is the absolute best. It’s an Amazon add on for $5.00 so just tack it on to one of your orders. You won’t be sorry you did.

That’s it for now! We’ll be adding more in the future, so stay close to the blog. Now get out there and ride your bike!

Follow the author’s travels, bike commutes and many misadventures on Instagram.

Best Coffee Equipment


So you want to make a great cup of joe, huh? Well then you’ve come to the right place!

As it turns out you don’t have to be a bearded, apron wearing hipster to make an amazing cup of coffee at home. All you need is a little bit of know how and a few choice pieces of equipment to get that perfect cup.

So here’s what you need to get that bean juice rocking! Oh, and if you’ve got the beard then more power to you!

  1. First and foremost is a good, freshly roasted bag of coffee. Fresh being the key word here. You don’t have to be concerned about local if you can get good stuff that was roasted within the last two weeks or so. However, as shipping and shelving can eat up much of the time that it takes to get those beans from the roaster to your grinder, you probably want to go for a local source. If you live in a big city, then you won’t have a problem finding one. With the third-wave of coffee becoming such a widespread phenomenon, and even big business, you might be able to throw a stone and clank it off your local roaster’s machine. If you don’t live in big city, or at least one without hipsters, then you’ll have pretty good luck finding some beans online. You can see a great list of roasters across the US here. You can usually order beans from any of their websites. If you’re not so inclined and wish to stick to making all your purchases on Amazon, then you can do so by finding a great bag here.  Moving on.
  2. The second most important part to a great cup of coffee is the grind. Most grinders sold in stores like Target or Walmart are the spinning blade varietal. These noisy things slice, dice and chip away at your beans without any regard for consistency. There’s absolutely zero control, and most people have no idea when to stop. Most grinds out of these suckers end up looking something like the surface of mars: loads of pebbles suspended in sand. This is not what you want. Instead, you want to opt for a burr grinder. A burr grinder is composed of two revolving (usually ceramic) surfaces that mill your coffee to exact specifications. Most good burr grinders allow you to set how coarse or fine you’d like your grind to be. A burr grinder is extremely recommended because it gives you a very consistent grind. A consistent grind is crucially important when brewing coffee because it will ensure that extraction among each individual ground of coffee happens at the same time. This may seem overly scientific, but trust us. You are spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-20 dollars on these beans, so you don’t want to waste them. Here at “what to buy” we do have our favorite grinder: The Barazta Encore Conical Grinder.
    baratza encore burr coffee grinder
    Our best grinder recommendation: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

    This thing is a workhorse and will never let you down. It’s got simple variable grind settings and makes a pretty darn consistent grind. For the money, it’s our best buy pick. Black. Burr. Beautiful. We can’t recommend it more. If you can’t put together the cash to afford this Italian beauty, no problem: go for the Capresso Conical Burr Grinder.

    capresso burr electric coffee grinder
    Budget buy recommendation: Capresso Burr Grinder

    We’ve heard it makes a great grind and it’s certainly got enough Amazon reviews to back that up. Its good a value, but the build quality is inferior to the Encore. If you’re on a budget, though then we say go for it.  Now if you’re really pinching penny’s then we say save your money and go for the hand grinder.

    japanese hand burr grinder amazon
    Our cheap buy recommendation: Hand burr grinder

    This stainless steel gizmo is a Japanese design that makes a damn good grind. At just over 20 bucks you just can’t beat the dang thing. Of course the only draw back is that it’s human powered–but hey, you just might enjoy your coffee more! And when you’ve put together enough George Washington’s to spring for the Encore, you’ll have this nifty little guy to travel or camp with!

  3. To scale or not to scale. That is certainly the question. We think coffee making should be simple, so measure by eye. Keeping coffee simple increases the likelihood that it will actually be made. BUT, we do understand some folks like to be scientific out there, so we’ll go ahead and list a few scales for measuring out ya bean.
    Smart weigh coffee kitchen scale
    Our scale recommendation: The Smart whatever. Just buy it.

    Don’t overthink this one. Just buy. This scale is going to do the job just fine. It’s accurate and balances design with a cheap price tag quite well. White so that you can see how pretty your beans are. Now if you’ve ever said “bro, what’s money??” then this next scale is for you. The Hario Drip Scale with timer.

    hario drip coffee scale and timer
    The best scale: Hario Drip with Timer.

    Just kidding about the bro, part. If we had the money, we’d buy this thing too. Smart Japanese design. Made by Hario and even includes a handy timer. Buy once, cry once kind of thing. Now to the fun stuff!

  4. We arrive at the brew method. Where water meets bean. There’s dozens of techniques, some that may include bubbling cauldrons, whirring gizmos, and something resembling a laboratory set-up. So, for the sake of this article and the sake of ease we’ll stick to just two. Our all time favorite for making a quick and easy cup of java is the Aeropress.
    aeropress coffee maker the best easy
    Our favorite method: The Aeropress

    This thing is so easy, tried and true and scienced. It takes about 2 minutes and removes all of the hassle and guesswork out of coffee making. At just 30 bucks, it’s a no brainer. It also pairs really nicely with the aforementioned hand grinder for amazing coffee while on the move! Next up is the Chemex. This little beauty is pretty much synonymous with the words “pour-over.”

    chemex pour over glass coffee maker
    Pour over porn: The Chemex

    It’s a straightforward, not to mention gorgeous, way of making coffee. We love the design, minimalism and simplicity of this method. If we were to be brewing coffee to impress our friends than this would be the go to option. At about 40 bucks, not including filters, it is an investment. But, provided you never break the darn thing, then one that you’ll have for life.

  5. Last, but not least, but..well optional: the Kettle. This is 100% not needed if you’re going to be using the Aeropress method. For pour overs it’s a little tricky to use your regular ‘ol kettle. As you’ll learn, a pour over requires control. A pour over specific kettle has a tiny spout for accuracy and perfectly balanced ergonomics for control. This is one of those things that you’re just going to have to try in order to see the benefits.
    hario pour over kettle
    Don’t mess around. Buy Hario.

    If you’re really serious about this whole coffee thing, then just skip all the cheapo knock-offs and go right for the Hario kettle. It’s the standard by which all other kettles are measured. The thing just feels right. Trust us on this one. And if you’re like us, and want just a little bit more convenience then go for the Osaka electric kettle.

    osaka coffee kettle
    E-Power! The Osaka Electronic Kettle

    They call this thing the “Tokyo tower,” which is not very clever, but oh so fun to say. It boils water so damn fast, looks pretty good, and offers great control. It might not be as long lasting because of the electronics, but it’s so gosh darn convenient.

That’s it! You now have more than what you need to make an incredible cup of coffee. And if you average out how much you’ve been paying the beareded hipster (sorry if you are one) for a cup at the local cafe versus what you’ll be saving then hell, time for that fancy scale!