After four countries, Turkey, Kuwait, UAE, and Thailand, without even trying to find good coffee, I landed in Tokyo with high hopes of experiencing some superb pour overs.

Easier said than done, however, given the fact that Google Maps, for whatever reason, maybe political, has fairly-well let us down with regards to locating Japanese addresses, which suck ass.

None of the shops I found last nice came up, so in the morning I headed off to a few Starbucks instead of starting with a quality pour over as I had hoped. After four stores, then lunch, I took another stab at googling, and found a listing for a place near the Ueno station, where I happened to be.

http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/venue/10949/Coffee-Western-Kitayama

http://www.tokyofoodlife.com/?p=1462

http://www.sunnypages.jp/travel_guide/tokyo_food/coffee/Kitayama+Coffee+Ueno/3575

Two issues--one, the reports about how the owner doesn't seem to care about getting business, and even actively turns people away. Second, these motherlovin' addresses don't come up, not 1-5-1 Kamiya, not 1-5-1 Shitagaya, not nothing. I couldn't even find Kitayama nor Kamiya or Shitagaya by themselves.

The only lead I had was the instructions, "From Ueno Station take the Iriya exit..." Now, I appreciate the directions, but I wish the guy would have at least told me which direction to walk. Fortunately, I had to go either right or left, and since left led away from the station, away from another exits, I inferred that that was the way. I wasn't very hopeful, given the lack of signage in English, but there it was, at the end of the road--I recognized it by the paint job. Immediately, I changed into a plain black t-shirt, as I figured the Starbucks logo would get me nixed for sure.

As I feared, when I walked in the owner's wife made the crossed-hand closed sign and started talking in Japanese. The lone customer either didn't speak English or did not care to translate, and I had to leave. I stood there, puzzled, and the woman came out and pointed to the sign on the door, in Japanese, and saying things I couldn't understand.

When she left, I noticed a young man across the street, and I asked if he spoke English. He said "a little", and I asked him to read me the sign. Once he explained that the sign basically said this place was for drinking coffee, and coffee alone (like the blog said, no laptop, no reading, etc, etc), I asked him to explain to the owner that I just wanted coffee.

After some back and forth between the kid, the owner, and his wife, which included my having to explain that I had read about the place on the Internet, I was allowed inside, to select from two options, Set A for 1500 yen, and Set B for 2500. I went with the cheaper option, which is still $16.25. 

I waited quite a while, and while I did so I did not look at my laptop, nor my iPod, nor anything. I just sat patiently and waited for the coffee. When it came, the first thing I seemed to taste was a little bit of wine, almost as if there were some fermentation. I don't know what coffee it is, because the menu is in Japanese, but there was a notation in English that it had been aged 10 years. The coffee itself was strong, too strong for my taste, but after I added some sugar, I could tell it was some mighty good coffee. If I could somehow explain to the owner to use more water, I think I'd be in heaven.

After that cup was finished, I got up to leave, but the owner bid me sit again. Apparently, Set A wasn't finished. He brought out something else, lighter, more to my taste, but just a smaller amount. He had me slam it down, quickly. Next he brought out something called siziku, or sizuku, or something like that (Google didn't help me). He told me drink it while it was cold (I think he was reading a message phonetically), but when I tried to slam it he motioned for me to sip.

Very interesting experience, and worth the effort. Clay Davis sheeeeeeeeet, I don't even go through that much effort to get in a woman's pants, but I'd have to say good coffee is worth the pursuit, and the challenge almost made it better.
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