06/28/2007

#4- June Blog from Billy (NOT billys boot camp)

Today I'm choosing a subject that is near and dear to most Nihon-jin (and yours truly as well) and should be of the utmost importance to any visitors to this Great Nation-

Drinking!

Yes, visitors might want to prepare for the fact that almost all social/family/after-work events revolve around the liberal intake of spirits and joyous celebration of same. For young, middle and old aged alike the primary mode of relaxation and release is knocking 'em back one after another with your family, friends or significant others. Consequently,
invitations to go drinking are almost a social obligation and anyone foolish enough to turn down such an invitation may find themselves out in the cold, socially speaking. Prime your elbow muscles and prepare for marathon sessions because in Japan it is considered an attractive feature to be what
is known as,
"A Strong Drinker".

And so here is a brief rundown on J-land Booze-

First up, of course and just in time for Summer, is Beer. J-beer is both a true blessing and, somewhat disappointingly, something of a curse. I hail from the U.S.A. and the range of quality of the suds over there is truly staggering. Back home I was fond of top quality brew (Hacker-Schoor, Paulaner) which is reasonably priced Stateside. Not only is it difficult if
not downright impossible to find high-end importeds here, if you can I guarantee that the outrageous price will destroy any real desire you may have had for same. Well, when in Rome...........
And so it's generally best to stick to the Domestic and here's some good news. There is almost nowhere you can travel in Japan where you won't find it available (indeed it's sold in machines on most streets and even some train stations), it's very affordable and the taste is Damn Good. Not great but damn good.
The top of the line is probably Yebisu and at 300yen for 500ml is about twice the price of the cheapest brand (maybe Draft One) but there's more good news! For while the best quality brew is perhaps only- Damn Good- the absolute worst quality is, well- Pretty Damn Good!

Yes, while Suds connoisseurs may be slightly taken aback by the relative lack of choices, the other 97% of us will be pleasantly pleased with the solid if unspectacular quality of ALL J-Brew.
Good to the last drop, affordable and readily available for your pleasure.
Trust me- someone's doing something right over here.

My Kyoto Secret...............ssssshhhhhhhhhh.

The Asahi Beer Garden Restaurant just South of the Kawaramachi/Sanjo intersection. They brew their own beer on the premises and the House Nama Beeru(draft beer) is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Fresh, hearty, robust and clean it truly has to be tasted to be believed. The food is delicious- although
quite strangely the menu consists of German fare, sausage, bacon, potatoes and sauerkraut- and the atmosphere friendly. Unfortunately there is no actual Beer Garden so to speak but if you drop in I know you will not be disappointed.

Even the Germans might approve.

Next time- Sake, wine, whiskey and The Heavyweight Champion!
posted by Billy at 17:53 | Food (contain ALCOHOL!)
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