Just for the record the moderation policy in use at the Japan Today website is plain ridiculous. I have had harmless and (IMHO) on-topic messages quickly removed. I can only assume that such heavy-handed treatment is being meted out to other contributors which can only result in boring, stifled debate.
If you would like to see comment moderation done right check out The Guardian website. For most stories the comments are far superior to the actual articles!
Today's beer is brewed by the world famous Suntory. There has been a festival close to my local railway station for the last two days and I noticed many people holding cans of Rich Malt as I walked past.
At only Y118 for a 350ml can this 5% happoshu is well into the budget end of the market.
It fills the glass with a toxic yellow glow and features large bubbles creating a washing up liquid head that soon vanishes. The flavour is bland with a nasty, bitter aftertaste. It looks like a cheap beer and it tastes worse than it looks.
Rating 1/5. I liked the nice blue and gold can and I would rather drink this than Kirin Deluxe.
Last night a festival was held at Iwashizu Jinja. This is the shrine local to my home where Kayoko and I held our marriage ceremony.
I was working in Osaka until 7pm so we had very little time after dinner to catch the end of the festival. It was a pleasant, cool evening and as we walked quickly towards the shrine we heard drumming in the distance and started running to make sure we were in time.
We quickly walked around the group of drummers and entered inside of the shrine. The last time we were there was for our marriage ceremony last October. Inside were two musicians - flute and drum - and a young, pretty miko wearing a beautiful red and white costume. Miko are "shrine maidens" - originally shamanesses but now considered priestesses in the service of the shrine.
As the musicians played the miko performed a wonderful, moving dance using a ceremonial knife. Kayoko and I were the only people inside with them. It was a very moving experience.
As we left we met the kind priestess who had conducted our marriage ceremony for us and stopped for a while to talk.
I would have loved to take a photograph of the miko but it did not seem appropriate! Below is a picture I found on the internet.
My favourite place to buy beer and wine here in Japan is the RaKuIChi "World Liquour System". They feature a great range with prices below what I usually see in the nearby supermarkets. On my last trip there to pick up a 6 pack of my everyday happoshu I spotted this little gem.
Yona Yona Ale (よなよな エール) from the YoHo Brewing Company is a top fermented beer with an ABV of 5.5% retailing at Y260 for a 350ml can. It had an attractive golden brown colour with a rich creamy head. Carbonation was as good as you can expect from a quality beer served from a can.
The aroma was rich and hoppy and the beer was delicious to drink with a pleasing, mildly acidic aftertaste. Too rich to be a session beer it was a perfect pre-dinner drink on a steamy Saturday evening.
Rating 4/5. I might have given it 5 if it had come in a bigger can...
In the UK I was known to enjoy the occasional high strength lager (HSL). King of the HSLs is the famous Carlsberg Special Brew (CSB or "Brew"). This 9% ABV beast was famously brewed to commemorate a visit to Denmark made by Winston Churchill in 1950. One 500ml can of CSB is enough to provide a relaxing and entertaining evening. Two cans is like a small holiday from reality. Three or more...
It is probably for the best that "Brew" seems not to be available here in Japan but that does leave me with the problem of how to provide for those short bursts of icy refreshment on hot summer nights.
In a convenience store in JR Umeda Station - which I pass through each day on my way to work - my attention was caught by a gleaming golden can chilling in the beer section. Kirin Deluxe promised a respectable 6% ABV experience from one of the major Japanese breweries. Could this be what I was looking for?
My old friend James, himself partial to a glass of "Brew", once described the sherbet-like Tennant's Super as a beer that even derelicts on the street would not wish to be seen drinking. Kirin Deluxe is, I feel, even worse. It truly is a drink that should not exist.
Poured into a pint glass after a long rest in the fridge it has a rich golden colour and a frothy white head. The bubbles are large but this is cheap, canned lager so this is no more than can be expected. So far so good. How does it taste? Remarkably unlike beer. No rich, malty base. No refreshing hoppy overtones. Just a vaguely sweet chemical flavour. For such a strong drink I was surprised at how little refreshment or satisfaction I obtained from drinking it.
Trying this for yourself is the only way to truly understand how awful it is but please, do not do so. It will only encourage them to brew more. I would have liked to illustrate this article with a photograph of the beer itself in a glass but to do that I would have had to buy another can. This I am not prepared to do.
In summary, this beer does not need to exist. I will not be buying it again. You shouldn't either.
Surprised to get a call from Gaba language school yesterday. Assuming I pass the certification process next week I will have a 6 month contract (potentially renewable).
To be able to sign the paperwork next Monday I had to have a Japanese bank account. Kayoko was working and I only had 90 minutes before the Post Office closed for the weekend.
Cycled - in blistering heat - to the the main Post Office here in Takarazuka in the hope that someone might speak English. After all, everybody here studies English in school... No luck, but I did manage to secure a copy of the application form. A single side of B5 paper with only a few boxes to complete.
A hair raising ride home through the afternoon traffic then I allowed Google to work its magic. Success! I found a web page with an identical form and step-by-step instructions. The only tricky part was writing the address in Kanji. The web site suggested the Post Office staff might be able to help with that so, pausing only to change my sweat drenched shirt, back onto the bicycle clutching my almost completed application form, residence card, health insurance card and a crisp 1,000円 note.
Arrived at the Post Office 30 minutes before closing. I was lucky enough this time to find an employee who spoke just a little English and we completed the form, with the shutters closing at the counters on either side of me, only 5 minutes after normal closing time.
I left clutching my account book and offering profuse thanks to the helpful staff!
It was the polling day for local elections here yesterday. After Kayoko had voted we took a short walk out to a shrine and temple near the polling station. There were not many people around. It was a pleasant, warm Sunday afternoon.
I loved the dragon on the temizuya (手水舎).
For the entirely reasonable sum of 20円 I was able to ring an enormous bell!