The apartment where I stayed in Japan had a kitchen but no pots, pans, cutlery or anything. So I had to go and buy everything — great fun when you’re jet-lagged.
I went to a supermarket and bought amongst other things a very sharp knife (partly showing on the banner of the recipes page), a great versatile microwave pot (featuring on the banner of my post about the microwave), and the cheap-but-beautiful black-and-red bowls.
I also bought three kitchen tools that I particularly like:
##A flexible, antibacterial cutting mat
This mat contains a phytoncide, an antibacterial organic compound derived from plants. To kill all the germs you simply put it in the microwave for a minute. And it can go in the dishwasher as well. You can buy it on line, just search for “phytoncide cutting board”.
##A pair of bamboo cooking chopsticks
Long chopsticks are great for cooking pasta or noodles. No risk of burning your fingers and handier than a fork too. You can easily find plain ones but I liked the sakura decoration (cherry blossoms), and it actually has ridges for a better grip.
##A rice scoop
Japanese rice is different from other rice in the way it sticks together: when properly cooked, each grain is still quite firm but the grains have a sticky outer layer. That’s why every Japanese kitchen has a rice scoop like this, with little nobs that stop the rice from sticking to it. The scoop can be put upright on its handle, very nifty!