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Hello, hookah in Japan; Intro/ experienced smokers, please help.

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Awesome forum. Totally informative, and quick-and-quality responses from the veterans and mods. I'm glad there's a place like this, especially since I'm looking at buying a hookah ASAP.

Introduction~

Hello from Japan! I recently moved to the Tokyo area after graduating from college to teach English. So far everything is going well, but adjusting from my native culture in southern California is work. I have known about hookah smoking for at least 6 years; my friends and I used to frequent hookah bars in Anaheim, Yorba Linda, and Fullerton, and we eventually bought a few of our own. I'm seasoned when it comes to smoking hookah, but not a veteran--that's why I'm HERE!

Last weekend, the urge to smoke hookah came over me like a fire on plains. I googled for about fourty-five minutes, and found a couple hookah bars in the Tokyo area. One in particular got my attention--it was about 50 minutes from my house in Asakusa. All in all, it proved to be a good experience. The store owner (Japanese) and I smoked and chatted together for about 30 minutes until more customers came in.

Anyways, he doesn't sell hookahs. I want one for my home--I'm not going 50 minutes one-way on the trains to smoke hookah every week. So, I've been looking on ebay for some pipes. One of the minis in particular struck me. Here is the link.

[LINK TAKEN OUT]

I've been doing some reading, and according to you guys here, a medium sized hookah is generally preferred (single smoker, occasional company). But, its not necessarily the PIPE that counts, but the hose, bowl, and most importantly the vase size.

What kind of hookah would you recommend? Stick with the medium size?

TL;DR

Hi, I'm living in Japan. I love smoking hookah. I don't know where to buy a hookah here, so I'm buying one on ebay. Are the small ones THAT poor, or are there some exceptions? What do you recommend?

Thanks for reading, and I am glad that there are veterans on the net!

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Guest MrMister

I've got two so far, the Mya QT and a generic ten inch Melon Tower. I think for a low end piece the Mya QT smokes well but I've smoked recently out of a 32 inch Khalil Mamoon trimetal and can say it smokes much better which is why I'm buying one. But like you said the coals, the hose, the bowl, the filter, the vase and especially the shisha all make HUGE differences in experience for the smoker.

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Hey. Welcome to the forums.

I actually was smoking hookah in Japan back in July. There's a bar down in Osaka (not that that information has any bearing on you who live near Tokyo lol).

As for your pipe related questions. Mya makes hookahs that are easily disassembled and fit in a nice small box. I don't know what your living situation is like, but I can imagine that it is not exactly a large living space, and so having a solid, one piece, welded hookah probably isn't the best thing to have just sitting around. Myas are a bit on the expensive side (at least the nicer ones) but they all break down into pieces, typically the vase, stem, downstem (the piece that actually is in the vase and goes into the water, and the hose ports. They are also super adaptable. Most myas have the ability to add extra hose ports. All you need to do is buy a couple pieces and your one hose hookah suddenly is a two hose hookah.

It mostly comes down to your budget, and your space. If you have the space to store a KM, I would go with a KM. If you don't, but you can afford a nicer Mya, I'd say go with a nicer Mya. If you don't have the space nor the money, they one of the mini myas like the QT or the Bambino, would probably be your best bet.

Again though, it is mostly the preparation of the hookah, not the hookah itself, that is the key difference in how well it smokes.

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Guest shoes

Thanks for the replies.

Space isn't too much of an issue. I've got a decently sized apartment space, and I don't have much shit laying around, so there's space for a bigger sized hookah.

Am I getting this right? For all intents and purposes, if I'm buying a hookah to smoke at home, by myself, I should still get a larger (not micro) sized hookah. The reason: why not?

Thank you for the help.

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Welcome, sorry I didn't input. I don't have a size preference for hookahs.. I'm just not a fan of the tiny ones like mya qt. But again, welcome to the forum.

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if you're just going to smoke at home and not take the hookah anywhere, you can get a nicer looking larger hookah.

My one gripe against the smaller hookahs (no offense to QT owners), but the smaller ones kinda look a bit cheap. The larger hookahs are more impressive and more elegant looking. Again though, Myas for practicality, KMs for elegance. That's how I see the situation.

If you have the space for it, and you don't need to haul it around, then yes a larger hookah would probably look nicer.

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Guest shoes

Thanks ZH. My girlfriend and my mom get pissed at me because I'm "not appreciative;" I could care less about aesthetics. Basically, all I am interested in is the hookah's function. Looking back, I should have clarified this BEFORE you put in the work to write your opinion. But, if I read your post correctly, you think that a Mya is more suited for practical use.

From what you and others on the net have been saying, I really can't go wrong with either a KM or a Mya. THe hookah will only be leaving my apartment on RARE occasions. So what I want to know is, in terms of smokability alone, what hookah do you prefer?

Price isn't a HUGE issue. I don't want to deal with a poor quality hookah because I don't have the hookah resources readily available like I did in the states.

Again, after researching what people on the internet have been saying, this is what I'm looking forward to buying~

Pipe/ Hookah- Mya or KM (based on smokability, function, etc)

Bowl- Funnel/phunnel bowl (opinions?)

Hose- decent wide gauge hose (preferably washable)

Charcoal- Japanese (lol)

Shisha- Romman Cola (sounds good), Starbuzz Orange (loved this back home), maybe even Cuban Mojito.

Accessories- windscreen

I hear the phunnel bowl makes a big difference.

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My preferences:

Pipe/ Hookah- Mya - cheaper than KM. Not as aesthetically pleasing, but just as functional, and fairly cheap.

Bowl- Phunnel - The only bowl I've used for over a year or so.

Hose- Nammor, Razzan, Or Cobra hose. They're all washable and pretty thick. If you watch my lastest video on my blog [link in sig] then you can see why the cobra is my favorite. It forms to the angle you would be comfortable holding a hose at, rather than just straight down from your mouth.

[here's an example]

aDSCF6968a.jpg

Charcoal- Coconara's are the best. They take about 5-7 minutes to light, but are SO worth the wait. Again, they're all I've used in the past year or so.

Shisha- Cuban Mojito, passion fruit mojito, blue mist [starbuzz], social smoke [starbuzz] tangerine dream [starbuzz] I've never had a bad experience with starbuzz.

Accessories- windscreen, a coal holder [i keep ashes from old coals in there] to carry coals from lighting place to hookah [so you don't have any carpet or couch burning]charcoal_holders.jpg

a good pair of gripping tongs. The best are the geanie ones. I think i might have to talk to nima about supplying them. I need a new pair.

1z3b9g4.jpg

PS. i say the tong holder, with old ashes, because it helps the charcoals keep their heat, and won't make them turn black from sticking the hot coal onto the cold metal. It's something that I am religous about. All old coals go in there, and after i'm done smoking, i just set them in there [if there are any left] and then sit it on my stove to burn complelety. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Oh, and my mini mya, outsmokes ANY km i've smoked. lol, but that doesn't mean much.

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Guest shoes

So those coconara charcoals really do make that much of a difference then? Because that's what the consensus has been.

I never smoked as luxuriously back home! We used to use needle nose pliers to hold Japanese coals over a plumbers torch, then we'd break them on the concrete to make more coals (more surface area, hahaha). We smoked in the garage on some beater lawn chairs. Our windscreen was a big can. The shisha being used was old Layalina stuff. Hahaha.

Anyways, I'm going to go with the Mya QT. What bowl funnel bowl size goes best with yours? Medium funnel bowl?

I agree that the coal carrier is a good idea. My apartment is linoleum and hardwood.

Thanks for the recommendations.

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So those coconara charcoals really do make that much of a difference then? Because that's what the consensus has been.

I never smoked as luxuriously back home! We used to use needle nose pliers to hold Japanese coals over a plumbers torch, then we'd break them on the concrete to make more coals (more surface area, hahaha). We smoked in the garage on some beater lawn chairs. Our windscreen was a big can. The shisha being used was old Layalina stuff. Hahaha.

Anyways, I'm going to go with the Mya QT. What bowl funnel bowl size goes best with yours? Medium funnel bowl?

I agree that the coal carrier is a good idea. My apartment is linoleum and hardwood.

Thanks for the recommendations.

I think mine's a medium sized bowl.

I also have a small one, but it's way too small for me.

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hmm...in my opinion, the medium phunnel is a bit large. I have a small phunnel and it suits my needs just fine.

Basically it all comes down to what you want your sessions to be like. With a properly packed small phunnel, I can smoke for a couple hours and go through 6 coconaras. And that's the smallest size phunnel.

If you want a long session, the phunnel (even the small) is a good way to go. If you want shorter sessions, your Mya bowl will give you a solid 30 minute session easily.

As for coal holders, rather than buying one, what I did was Andrew and I jerry rigged one with aluminum foil and a JM's chocolate tin. If you order large enough amounts from JM's or Romman, they have these nice metal tins that are meant to hold the shisha. Well since we keep the shisha in jars, these tins just sit on the side and look pretty. So we made coal holders out of em. They work really well.

It is also work investing in a portable electric range. Nothing fancy, just something that'll heat up coals nice and quick.

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It is also work investing in a portable electric range. Nothing fancy, just something that'll heat up coals nice and quick.

I completely agree with that one. they're only like $20 at a cvs.. well, idk about in Japan.. lol

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Guest shoes

Everything is this country is portable, hahaha. I'll check around for those. We're talking "portable electric stove," and not "hot plate," right?

Thanks again you guys for all the help. You seem like hookah nuts, so you understand my "intensive researching." It's so awesome having people you don't even know start helping you out over the internet. Better than trolls and/ or flamers. :infinite-banana:

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I think the difference between us and most other forums, is that we were all new to this, and we understand that. A lot of other people flame you for being new.. But we were all there. I kinda stumbled on this website, and wish it would have been the first place I came to. This is by far the best hookah website I've been to, including the members. And I'm not even a bit biased.. Which is why I've stuck here.

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Its basically just a single electric stove coil that plugs into the wall. Again, nothing special. Just something that burns hot. It'll light the coals faster.

04902213085_220x220_a.jpg

something like that.

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Guest shoes
I think the difference between us and most other forums, is that we were all new to this, and we understand that. A lot of other people flame you for being new.. But we were all there. I kinda stumbled on this website, and wish it would have been the first place I came to. This is by far the best hookah website I've been to, including the members. And I'm not even a bit biased.. Which is why I've stuck here.

I never understood flamewars:confused:. Its the internet.

Its basically just a single electric stove coil that plugs into the wall. Again, nothing special. Just something that burns hot. It'll light the coals faster.

Sweet, now I know what to look for. This works out better because I have a gas stove anyways.

PS: I just found out about another Hookah bar here in Tokyo. Check out the site. It's got enough sporadic English to glance through (FYI--in Japan, what we call Hookah is called 'shisha', and what we call shisha is called 'flavor').

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Guest MrMister

This one can be purchased at Wal-Mart for $19.99, it takes me about 7-9 minutes to light Exotica square fingers.

200991615415461.jpg

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the only issue I've had with that kind of non-exposed coil burner is that it doesn't quite burn hot enough to light CCNs rapidly. At least, the one that Andrew and I had didn't. Believe it or not, the one we had was too high tech. It had some kind of temperature control system that would periodically shut the burner off to lower the temperature...which we found really isn't what we wanted.

So I would still say go with the exposed coil.

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the only issue I've had with that kind of non-exposed coil burner is that it doesn't quite burn hot enough to light CCNs rapidly. At least, the one that Andrew and I had didn't. Believe it or not, the one we had was too high tech. It had some kind of temperature control system that would periodically shut the burner off to lower the temperature...which we found really isn't what we wanted.

So I would still say go with the exposed coil.

Obviouslyyou're awake more than I am. i seen that he posted that and was like ehh, i'll reply to him later.

But I agree with eric, again. The exposed coil one lights faster. We tried one of those, and like eric said, they make themselves cooler on their own. They basically sense that one part of it is getting hotter than others, so it tries to even it out. I hope this makse sense.

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Guest shoes

It makes perfect sense. Not knowing any better I would have gotten that high-tech one, got pissed, and bought the other one afterward.

Thanks for saving my 2000 yen. :D

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