• If you shop around for unusual items, you may have run into a Japanese "Tetsubin" teapot.  The Japanese call them "tetsu kyūsu" (鉄急須) - teapots to distinguish them from kettles. They came to my attention on on a website that auctions western jewelry, baskets and other memorabilia. The vintage teapots are quite collectible and you can find them in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. What truly sets them apart from other cast iron ware are the amazing designs and coloration. Typically, cast ironware is black and pretty plain.  The Japanese use them to make infused tea and they come with a tea strainer.  They became quite popular in the 19th century and were considered status symbols. For much more information about Japanese Tetsubins, check out the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.