The only "good pots" I've ever had were all-clad, which aren't even that good. Or cast-iron.
Do you have opinions on types of ranges? It looks like you have induction. My favorite to date was the big Vulcan 6-burner gas we had at university. Otherwise it's been crappy gas, or the coil resistance electric type.
Gas. Gas. Gas. I have to dick around with those electric ranges SO much while cooking. Everyone in Japan has gas. I'm not aware there are 'bad' gas burners, the ones we had were always good. But I mean, I can still cook on electric. It isn't so bad. But gas.
Not much difference between coil and solid induction if you've got a pan with a thick bottom. By the way, we have a couple pretty damned good stainless steel pans with very thick bottoms I found for a steal at Carrefour. The awesome pots were wedding presents, if we had to buy them all ourselves I'd just go for thick-bottomed stainless.
The 'finishing' on the copper of your pot doens't make a lick of difference. You need to use a polisher, which is actually an abrasive that removes a very thin layer of the pot. The same method is used for cleaning stainless steel. Fingerprints are NOT an issue, nor is the type of 'brushing' the pots came with. The use of the abrasive provides a new 'brushed' finish every time you 'polish' it. It's a little like soft scrub, only more abrasive. It's why stainless steel and copper rule so much, you can remove very small layers of them with a good polisher for years without harming the pan.
There are these camping gas burners that burn REALLY fucking hot. Alton Brown on Good Eats uses one of those for wok cooking. He rules. :)
I lived in ghetto places where we needed to start the gas with a match/aimflame. (I bought myself an aimflame at the px recently just because they're fun to play with)
Also, where we ran on propane, and thus were not as hot as they should be; had to open up the jets, and recalibrate the oven, etc.
Weird. Japan has absolutely no naturally occurring natural gas, so they ship it in by boat and EVERY home has a connection. They have those little range things that are two gas burners and a fish broiler.I'm out of similies and metahpors, so we'll say they burned hot as fuck. The use the same connection as those awesome little gas room heaters, and both of those go 'tick tick tick' before they flame up. :) Nothing to calibrate, just hot goodness. Oh and the bathtub and kitchen water heaters were both small units with little columns of flamelets that flash heated the water.
And that is the most primitive technology japan owns. Ask me sometime about the bathtub I had in Sannomiya.
Japan presumably uses LNG, not LPG or Propane. LNG has the same energy content as "natural gas", it just has a crazy-huge minimum scale to be economic (i.e. the liquification processing plants are like chip fab money, $1b+)
I think this is the main export of Qatar now (and Bahrain, too)
Hmm. I'm not so sure about the brushed vs smooth copper pans. Ours came brushed, and the first time I polished them it seemed to remove the old brushing. they still look 'brushed' though, but I think this is because I polish it in a motion that goes along with the strokes. If I polished it in a different direction, it'd change the direction of the brushing I think.
You may use a different polish with a 'smooth' copper pan, so my assumption that they all look the same after being polished may be wrong. I definitely like the brushed metal look.
If you want to plan a trip to Japan, you should plan it with us. We know many, many things about the place and there's a lot to discover, plus we have friends there which makes it all more fun. There's a huge difference in Japan with a guide as compared to without. Plus we're absolutely dying to visit.
What is a good time of year, other than cherry-blossom season?
I know some people in Japan, but mostly air force, or businesspeople.
I want to visit Osaka and Tokyo for sure, and I'd probably like to try "extreme rural japan", way up in the north of something, just for contrast. And I must see Ainu!
I am thinking I would enjoy a trip to Japan/China/Korea more than a trip to the US, at least for now, as I have artificially high expectations of the US. e.g. Hong Kong I had basically no expectations, and it was amazing, and continues to be amazing, and I've been there 4-5 times now.
Actually, August during Obon is an excellent time! It's hot and humid, but Obon is probably the biggest national festival time of the year. You'd absolutely need to see the Daimonji fires in Kyoto and possibly the Festival of Light at the Todai-ji temple in Nara.
It's a really festive time of year, transportation is totally packed, and everything is wacky. :) Everyone is off work except for the service industries.
Taking the longish trip and seeing Ritsurin-koen would be high on the list at any time of year except for the rainy season. God that park is beautiful. Japan's food is all regional, so the area of Takamatsu where Ritsurin-koen is located has the best Udon noodles in all of Japan. They are really different :)
So much to see and do!