After a sake museum tour with new and old friends in Kyoto and dinner later at a ramen restaurant in the Gion entertainment district, I bolted over to an area with several guitar stores located here on the east side of Kyoto.

Incidentally, I am not a fan of ramen shops in Japan because the Japanese tend to package disease and illness with ramen purchases here.

In most restaurants in this country, nicotine addicts are allowed to freely pollute interior spaces as they use their drugs via the tobacco burning fume inhalation method. The majority of Japanese restaurants allow drug addicts to contaminate the air, but the crisis is especially prevalent in restaurants that serve traditional Japanese food such as ramen.

Important Note about Drug Addicts in Japan
This particular evening slightly predated my commitment to NEVER AGAIN enter restaurants in Japan that allow nicotine drug addicts to partake of their drugs indoors. Ramen shops, and most other cafes and restaurants here in Japan, welcome and encourage nicotine drug addicts to inflict carcinogens and illness upon children and other non-smoking customers, along with the staff, vendors and service industry personnel who enter their businesses.

Japan is slowly changing and in recent years, if you know where to look, it has become easier to find non-smoking establishments in many cities in Japan. However, you have to be courageous enough to put your foot down when selecting places to eat and drink with Japanese colleagues and friends who are unlikely to understand why avoiding cancer and other sickness is so important to you.

As to why Japan is so backwards and uncivilized regarding their tolerance of death, illness and disease being distributed to innocent children and adult non-smokers throughout the country in myriad public places…

The complete answer is a very sad and long story for another time, but suffice it to say that the tobacco industry has its tentacles deeply entwined in Japanese society and the tobacco profiteers have enormous influence in the media here and even within the Japanese government which has a shameful ownership role in Japan Tobacco.

Japan is thought of by many as an advanced society and in some ways it is. I certainly enjoy many aspects of my life in Japan. However, on the subject of compassion for children and the other citizens forced to inhale lethal and disease causing toxins from rudely shared tobacco smoke, Japan often seems to be about 50 years behind the rest of the so-called civilized world.

And now, back to our story
After I arrived at Big Boss, the first guitar shop I encountered this evening, I spent a lot of time looking at the alien to me six-string devices and after some time a Japanese salesperson took the brave and kind step of approaching a gaikokujin who likely didn’t speak much Japanese.

The salesperson seemed happy I knew a smidgen of Japanese, though he overestimated what I could understand. I made surprising progress with him and also learned a bit about Takamine guitars in Japan, especially when I joined him by his laptop on the counter and we dug around together comparing information on Japanese and English websites. He was amused and seemed somewhat incredulous when I told him how the rest of the world pronounces Takamine.

Takamine is a Japanese brand I’m researching at the moment mostly because I happened to take an interest in one of their guitar models I saw and read about online. It turned out that Takamine is marketing significantly different guitars in Japan than they do in the US.

Amusingly to me, the well-reviewed and attractive mid-range Japanese guitar I was so interested in (and that was also perhaps a little out of my price range) was not even being offered for sale in Japan.

Later, while pedaling in the direction of home, I took a slight detour to pass by another Kyoto guitar store called Watanabe, but the shop had already closed. I will stop by there again one day soon to explore.


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