jump to navigation

2011 Grand Prix of Japan October 18, 2011

Posted by Dru in Sports.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “2011 Grand Prix of Japan” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-Jg

The 2011 Grand Prix of Japan was originally scheduled to take place in April, but due to the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the race was promptly postponed.  It was tentatively rescheduled to October 2nd, its traditional spot on the Moto GP calendar.  In the last 3 years, the Grand Prix of Japan was scheduled to take place in March/April.  The first year was run without a problem, but the following year it was moved to October due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland.  The volcano prevented teams and some of the equipment from flying out to Japan due to safety concerns.  This year, while rescheduled to take place from September 30 to October 2, the race had been in doubt for some time.  Twin Ring Motegi Circuit is located just over 120km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and with that distance it made the riders and a lot of their crew nervous about coming to Japan.  There were only a few people who were advocates for Japan and the loudest was, naturally, Hiroshi Aoyama.  It doesn’t hurt that he is Japanese and his feeling is that the Grand Prix would help Japan and the riders would be safe.  After Dorna, the rights holder for Moto GP, along with the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme) contracted an Italian University to conduct an independent survey of Motegi and the surrounding towns for radiation levels both at the track, in the soil, and the food, most of the teams started to feel safe.  Unfortunately, while the scientific study said things were safe, the riders and many of the crew were still nervous about going to Japan and up until the last few weeks prior to the race itself, there were still big questions marks over who would or wouldn’t be attending.  In the end all of the riders came to Japan but not all of the teams.  Some of the teams, two as far as I know and both in lower classes, decided to not bring their mechanics and used local mechanics instead.  The entire Moto GP tour also brought their own food and water to allay any fears they still had.  It was an interesting compromise that provided a great event.

If you read my past posts about the Moto GP events, things haven’t changed too much.  This year there was no presence by Kawasaki.  They still had a very small booth last year but that has all disappeared.  Suzuki has also significantly reduced their presence at the event with just a tiny booth that showcased a couple items for sale.  Honda was still the largest manufacturer on display with Yamaha and Ducati a close second and third.  Since I have been to this event many times, I feel as if I’m an expert in what to do when visiting these events.  I typically entered the event and just did a lot of shopping on qualifying day.  I spent more time walking around the event than before as I wanted to check out the vantage points from various places.  Saturday is a great day to check out the various grandstands as they are all open to the public.  On Sunday, the reserved seating areas are closed off to those with valid tickets so watching the warm-up or parts of the race from other locations is not allowed.  This year I decided to change my tradition.  For the last several years, I joined the Yamaha Supporters group where I would get free swag for supporting Yamaha.  My favourite racer, Valentino Rossi, had changed teams this year to ride for Ducati, so I felt I couldn’t support Yamaha completely.  I am a huge Rossi fan so I decided to return to the grandstands that I visited on my first trip to the Japan Grand Prix, the 90 Degree Corner.  The 90 Degree Corner is considered to be the most exciting place on the track to watch the race.  It is named 90 Degree Corner because it is a 90 degree right turn that follows a downhill section.  The turn is also slightly off camber making it very tricky to get around quickly and smoothly.  Many riders have run off at that corner and many have crashed.  The other main corner is corner 3 where many other accidents occur.  The main straight may have the advantage of being where other supporters are as well as the podium, but for real enthusiasts, heading to other corners can be a lot more fun.  I always enjoy trying new areas just to enjoy the racing.

This year, as mentioned, the event was under a different air.  People were their regular selves and attendance seemed to be average.  The booths were a little different as more secondary sponsors were present and some of the traditional Japanese sponsors had pulled out.  Things are slowly changing, including the food.  I noticed that while the barbecued steaks on a stick were the same, and so was the beer, I never noticed the curry rice before.  I also never noticed how difficult it was to get water at the event.  Most of the places were selling sports drinks, coke, tea, and beer.  It was difficult to find anyone selling water anywhere.  In terms of interviews and such, it was pretty standard.  Suzuki’s test rider was one of the most prominent figures doing interviews and many others were going around.  The most important people had huge crowds.  Trying to watch interviews with Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, or even Casey Stoner was next to impossible unless you were waiting for nearly an hour before the actual event.  I was pretty content to just enjoy the interviews from far away and just listen to them.  Most of the things they talked about were pretty standard.  “It’s good to be here.  The track is a very stop and go track.  You need a lot of horsepower and a good setup.  I hope to do well.”  You really can’t get much more out of a rider who must be very careful with their words.  One of the best characters in Moto GP has to be Colin Edwards.  I had been a fan of his since I first “met” him in a rider’s clinic in Vancouver prior to the 2005 season.  I would discover that Colin has a remarkably frank way of speaking as well as being comical.  He was pretty honest about his opinions without getting into too much trouble.  He praises the bike all the time but hits out when he knows he has troubles.  He is also very honest when it comes to his own mistakes and does what he can to improve.  Next year will see him move from the Tech 3 Yamaha team to a new team that hopes to use his skills to develop their new bike.

In terms of the race, everything was pretty standard.  I was very happy and enjoyed the first two races.  It was the last year of the 125cc class as next year they move to 250cc 4-stroke engines and calling the class Moto3.  It was a nice race and somewhat predictable.  Motegi isn’t well known for its exciting 125 races as the long straights mean the riders can stretch out a bit and get away if they are lucky.  Unfortunately that was the case and nothing much happened.  The only special event was the fact that Frenchman Johann Zarco finally won his first race in Moto GP.  He had actually crossed the finish line in first near the beginning of the season but that was cancelled as he made a dangerous move on the last lap resulting in a 20 second penalty.  A second time he crossed the line tied for first but lost the win because his fastest lap of the race was slower than the other rider.  It was the first time that he was allowed on the top step to celebrate with champagne as the winner of a race.  In Moto2, the race was more interesting.  Marc Marquez has been showing his form and has made a charge up the championship field to take over the championship lead after this race.  The race was won by Andrea Iannone who has a lot of talent but tends to make too many mistakes.  The big event is Moto GP.  It was time for the big boys to come out on to the track.  The Moto GP race was an incident filled race.  It started with a crash by Valentino Rossi in the 3rd corner of the first lap.  He ran into Jorge Lorenzo as he tried to avoid Ben Spies which causing him to crash into the sand.  He retired before he could even finish one lap.  Needless to say I was very disappointed.  Casey Stoner was leading quite well until he had a tank slapper on the back straight which caused his brake pads to move which resulted in him losing his brakes for a second and subsequently running off course and into the sand.  He did rejoin in 7th place before finishing the race in 3rd.  3 riders were given a ride through penalty for jumping the start and 2 other riders crashed before the end of the race.  The field was reduced by a large margin and the winner would eventually be Dani Pedrosa.  It had been a long time since Honda had won on home soil and Jorge Lorenzo did his best to steal the win at the end but couldn’t keep up with the dominant Dani Pedrosa.  There were some spirited passes throughout the field the entire race and it was one of the more enjoyable races I saw.  I usually get a little tired about halfway through the race in the main grandstands but this year was much better and easier at the 90 Degree Corner.  I think I found my new home unless Valentino has his own supporter’s tour that will stay in another grandstand somewhere.

I have said it many times before.  If you love motorcycles, you should watch the Grand Prix of Japan in person.  It is a very fun experience.  Racing in Japan is very similar, be it F1, WRC, or even Moto GP.  I have watched all three now and while they are all different, the feeling is similar.  The fans carry flags and wave them feverishly.  People love their heroes all the time and do their best to will them on.  Like any country, the races themselves are exciting to watch and the food can be expensive.  With the right mindset, you will have the time of your life and memories that will last a lifetime.

2011 Grand Prix of Japan is part of a series of posts recounting my trips to Twin Ring Motegi and the Japanese round of the Moto GP series.  To read my other posts about this race please follow the links below:

Information:

Moto GP Official Site:  http://www.motogp.com/

Advertisements

Okonomiyaki & Monjayaki July 5, 2011

Posted by Dru in Food.
Tags: , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Okonomiyaki & Monjayaki” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-r1

Okonomiyaki is a food that started in Kansai, the region around Osaka.  Translated, “to ones liking”, it’s a dish that cannot be explained easily.  The first time I ever had this dish it was explained to me as a Japanese pancake.  While this is true for some people, it’s not how I would explain it.  For me, I chose the second most popular way, Japanese pizza.  The dish itself has a base of cabbage and batter.  From there, things get very complicated.  You can add sliced meat, typically bacon or you can add soba noodles, egg, or pretty much anything you want.  There are hundreds of different ways you can prepare it, and various regional styles.

The first thing to notice is the atmosphere of the restaurants themselves.  The typical restaurant can look very dirty, and it tends to be a little intimidating as many of the staff won’t speak any English.  You will often sit at a table with a large black teppan in the middle.  This is where you will cook the okonomiyaki.  There are higher class shops where you will be served in a teppanyaki style.  Instead of a teppan in the middle of your table, you might sit at a counter where a chef will stand.  Separating you and the chef will be a large teppan where the chef will cook up all of your food.  The final style is almost exactly like a restaurant.  All you have to do is sit, order, and possibly watch the chef make your okonomiyaki which is cooked in an open kitchen.

If you choose to enter a shop where there is a teppan at your table, you can usually get someone to make the okonomiyaki for you, but it can be more fun to do it yourself.  Generally, the kansai version is the only one that people make at their table.  You will get a small bowl with batter at the bottom, and various vegetables, meat, and seafood on top.  To make this, all you have to do is mix it up very well, add oil to the teppan, and pour it on into a pancake shape.  Once the okonomiyaki is brown on one side, flip it over and add the various toppings.  The brown sauce is first, followed by dried green onions, and finally, bonito flakes.  Typically, you eat the okonomiyaki on the table, straight from the teppan.  You don’t really need to use a plate, but if you are like me, you need to because eating from the teppan is too hot!

The second most popular style of okonomiyaki is the Hiroshimayaki.  It’s a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.  This version of okonomiyaki is very different.  Rather than mixing everything together, they tend to put things in layers.  You will usually add a fried egg and noodles, but this isn’t always the case.  This style of okonomiyaki is more popular in festivals where you can fold it in half and it looks a lot better when on display.  It does take a lot more time to cook, but for myself, I enjoy this more than the traditional Kansai version.

There is also a Kanto, Tokyo area, version of okonomiyaki, but they don’t say okonomiyaki.  They call it monjayaki, or monja for short.  This is very different from okonomiyaki; it is similar to a cousin.  The food itself is not like a pancake, but rather closer to slop.  Unlike okonomiyaki, you generally only get this with a teppan, as you must eat it directly from the teppan.  When served, you have to start a little differently.  You start off taking all of the vegetables and meat and placing it into a ring shape.  As it cooks, it will form a small barrier.  You should also add a little liquid to help “seal” the bottom.  Once it’s mostly cooked, you add the rest of the liquid to the centre of the ring and cook it for a few more minutes.  Once it has reduced a little, you can mix everything and you’ll have a sloppy mess.  You will have your own personal spatula to eat with.  You can either scoop a bunch up into a plate, or eat like a Japanese person “should”.  There is a technique that must be seen to understand, but basically, you bake it onto your spatula and pick it up in one scoop.  It’s kind of like eating the burnt bits, or the browned bits, of any baked dish.  It’s actually very nice, but it isn’t good as a meal, more of a snack to accompany a drinking party.

If you have a choice, do try to eat okonomiyaki.  Monja is good if you are living in Japan, but not necessary.  Feel free to ask about some places if you’d like a recommendation, or just look for it yourself.  It’s good to have an adventure.

Okonomiyaki Videos:

Kansai style Okonomiyaki:

http://www.youtube.com/v/NzxSPNIQn14&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01

Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki:

http://www.youtube.com/v/VNDOLrl6OKM&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01

Monjayaki:

http://www.youtube.com/v/nUOBFRRo0kU&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01

Okonomiyaki Information:

Guide to make Okonomiyaki:  http://www.sakuratei.co.jp/en/okonomi-yaki.html
Okonomiyaki (Japan Guide):  http://www.japan-guide.com/r/e100.html
[Japan Guide has a step by step instruction manual with pictures on how to make Okonomiyaki, Kansai style]
Okonomiyaki (Wikipedia):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okonomiyaki
Guide to make Monjayaki:  http://www.sakuratei.co.jp/en/monja-yaki.html
Monjayaki (Wikipedia):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monjayaki

Okonomiyaki Restaurants: [Note that all sites are in Japanese]

Foo Moo by Hot Pepper (Japanese):  http://www.hotpepper.jp/A_11100/smd0_svcSA11_grcG016_grf1.html
Gournavi (Japanese):  http://sp.gnavi.co.jp/search/theme/z-AREA110/t-SPG110218/p-1/s-new/c-1/

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

Top 10 Foods to Eat in Japan June 21, 2011

Posted by Dru in Food.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Top 10 Foods to Eat in Japan” complete with links to the Top 10 Foods.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-qX

Starting next week and over the next 10 weeks, I will be writing about the various foods you can eat while in Japan.  If you think that Japanese food is all sushi and teriyaki chicken, you will be surprised.  Japanese food can be extremely varied with very subtle differences between each dish.  There are regional specialties for each type of food creating a lot of variety for the same dishes.  They utilize similar ingredients, but combine them in very unique ways.  In recent times, you can even find East-West fusion for some of these foods.  It is impossible to truly showcase everything that is possible to be eaten in Japan, but I will showcase ten things that I think you should do your best to try at least once.  Each of these ten things may not easily be lumped into one thing.  You can spend a single week eating ramen and still never try everything possible.  If you try each one, just once, you should be capable to understanding the basics of Japanese cuisine and be capable of trying new things when you return home.

Restaurant Information:

Please note that these pages are mainly in Japanese.  The Tokyo Food Page, while they have nice restaurants, does not often show the “regular” Japanese restaurants.  They tend to show the higher priced restaurants that still offer good food.

Foo Moo by Hot Pepper:  http://www.hotpepper.jp/A_30300/svcSA11.html
Gournavi (Japanese):  http://www.gnavi.co.jp/

Gournavi (English):  http://www.gnavi.co.jp/en/
Tokyo Food Page (English):  http://www.bento.com/tokyofood.html

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

Tokyo – Nihonbashi January 11, 2011

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Tokyo – Nihonbashi” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-xQ

Nihonbashi can easily be considered the centre of Japan.  It is the point where ALL roads are measured.  When approaching Tokyo along one of the many highways and expressways, they almost always measure distance to Nihonbashi.  This is in stark contrast to the way things are done in different prefectures and cities where the zero mark is based on the official government offices.  In fact, while most cities in Japan consider their major train stations to be the centre of the city, it’s rarely used as a distance marker.  Nihonbashi is one of the few exceptions.  The bridge, Nihonbashi, was built originally in 1603 and rebuilt in 1911.  The 1911 version is what you will see today if you do head to Nihonbashi.  It’s a beautiful looking bridge with various sculptures adorning the bridge.  It is still used heavily to this day, although it is no longer a major thoroughfare for cars.  When walking along the bridge, you will be surprised by the beauty and majestic image the bridge portrays, and the fact that they recently power washed it (end of 2010), really brings the original beauty out of the bridge.  It doesn’t look old at all, aside from the styling.  It has been well maintained over the years and hopefully, it will stay for a lot longer.

The only blight against this Nihonbashi is the fact that in the 1960s, the government erected a huge overhead expressway that flowed along the Nihonbashi River.  This highway barely passes overhead and the tall statues show it.  You can see some of the tall statues in the middle of Nihonbashi stretching up between the lanes of the expressway overhead.  It’s an interesting sight, and some people feel that this is what Nihonbashi should look like.  There is a tug-o-war for people who wish to see the expressway moved underground to restore the original beauty of Nihonbashi.  Others claim that the expressway can show Japan’s modernization and true history.  I agree that it shows Japan’s quick ambitions to rise and meet any challenges that it faces, but ugly is still ugly.  It would be far better if the bridge was free from overhead unsightliness.  Alas, this is the problem that Nihonbashi, the district, faces everyday as the world changes.

The Nihonbashi district is a somewhat unique area.  It is well known for being part of the business core in Tokyo.  The old business core used to be the skyscrapers in Shinjuku, and by all means, it’s still a business hub, but for finances, you are hard pressed to find a better area than Nihonbashi.  When combined, Nihonbashi, Otemachi, and Marunouchi make the financial core of Tokyo.  These three areas are easily accessible on foot and can be walked from end to end in about 30 minutes.  Nihonbashi is home to three financial institutions and the Bank of Japan.  While this doesn’t sound amazing, when you walk around Nihonbashi for the first time, you’ll be surprised at how small it truly is.  Many will say that Nihonbashi stretches out towards the Sumida River which would increase its size dramatically, but if you are being a purist, the area can easily be walked on foot within an hour.  It is within this small centre that you will find all of these institutions.

While most people will find the financial institutions to be very boring, myself included, there is a lot more to see and do within Nihonbashi itself.  Shopping is where Nihonbashi truly excels, like many areas of Japan.  If you are looking for traditional Japanese products, this is a good place to go.  You can find various traditional products such as Japanese paper, old hand carved toothpicks, and much more.  Nihonbashi isn’t considered one of Japan’s oldest neighborhoods for nothing.  They have a large array of old and new mixed together.  Many of the old shops have been demolished, but the original owners have re-opened in the newer buildings.  Others have also taken their places and you can find many good traditional Japanese sweets within the area.  I would highly recommend a visit to one of these shops if you can.  There are also department stores that specialize in the higher end goods, and for the older generations.  Mitsukoshi is the first department store in Nihonbashi, and their main building is considered an historical building.  I would recommend a visit just to soak up the atmosphere.  Takashimaya and Coredo are also located here and shouldn’t be missed.  If you are wondering what the difference is between Nihonbashi and Ginza, there isn’t much, but there are subtle differences.  Ginza tends to be a posh area with younger people with lots of money to spend.  Think of a new izakaya that is expensive and extremely popular.  Nihonbashi feels more alike a refined sake; one that has aged and matured over time.  It has a feeling of being in an exclusive club, and if you don’t belong, you might be left out.  While I doubt that the shops will make you feel like an outsider, the air of the area is special.

I did mention that Nihonbashi is a small area, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the neighboring areas either.  For one, you should head west along the river.  If you head towards Ichikokubashi, you will see, on the south west corner a small marker next to the bridge at the entrance of a public park.  This is a very rare marker and an interesting history lesson for anyone.  The marker itself is a lost and found stone.  If you lose a child, or you find a child, you can post a note on either side of the stone and hope someone finds it.  For example, if I find Taro Suzuki, and I’m looking for his mother, Hana, I can write a description of him, and his name and put it on the found child side.  The opposite is also true.  From there, if his parents or caregiver found the note, they can move it to the reunion side which posts a meeting time and location for people.  It’s not always a happy story, but I’d like to think that more times than not, children are reunited with their parents.

Nihonbashi is an often overlooked and skipped area of Tokyo.  By all means, if you are only in Tokyo for a few days, it’s not a place I’d recommend a visit.  If you are in Tokyo for 2 weeks, and not venturing out to the outlying areas, I’d definitely recommend a visit to this area.  There are many things to see and do in a short time, and it’s a very short walk to get to the other various areas surrounding Nihonbashi.  It’s easy to walk over to Tokyo Station, and Akihabara is just a few stations away as well.  If you are considering a visit to either Nihonbashi or Ginza, I’d probably choose Ginza as it’s more famous and what most people want to see, however, Nihonbashi is a good substitute if you understand what you might be missing in Ginza.

Nihonbashi Information:

Nihonbashi (Wikipedia):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonbashi

Nihonbashi (Japan Guide):  http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3033.html

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

Sake January 4, 2011

Posted by Dru in Food.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Sake” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/s2liAm-sake

One of the most famous drinks to come out of Japan has to be sake.  It is a clear alcoholic drink that is enjoyed in various ways.  It is often said to be “rice wine” because of the taste.  The subtle differences in flavour and ability to pair it with most types of food, depending on where it’s made, creates this comparison.  However, unlike wine, it is brewed like beer.  The main reason no one would ever compare it to beer is because beer is carbonated.  In reality, sake cannot be compared to anything.  No one would ever consider comparing an apple and an orange, so we really shouldn’t be comparing sake with anything at all.  In fact, saying the word sake in Japan would only make people confused.  The true translation of sake is “alcohol” or an “alcoholic drink”.  The true translation should be “nihonshu”, Japanese alcohol.

Nihonshu can be found in almost every city in Japan.  Local nihonshu, however, is sometimes hard to find.  If you travel to Nigata, north of Tokyo, or the Kyoto region, you should be able to find a plethora of local nihonshu brands.  There are essentially only four varieties of nihonshu, Jumai, Honjozo, Ginjo, and Daiginjo.  Like wine, if you don’t drink a lot of nihonshu, it will be difficult to tell the differences in each type.  In Japan, the easiest way to tell what type of taste a brand has is to check its “level”.  Japan has a level classification to define how spicy or how sweet a bottle of nihonshu is.  A high number implies a spicy taste, while a negative number implies a sweet taste.   Playing it safe by buying a “0” is okay, but generally, like wine, spicy nihonshus are good with meat, and sweet ones are better with fish or vegetables.  When drinking only nihonshu, it’s up to your own personal taste buds to decide which is best for you.

In Japan, and around the world, you will be able to find various types of nihonshu.  Price makes a huge difference between a good and a bad nihonshu.  Paying less than $10 a litre will almost always guarantee bad sake.  In Japan, you can buy sake from a roughly 300mL jar for about 200 Yen.  This is probably the worst thing you can do.  The nihonshu is mass produced to such a degree that it generally doesn’t taste good.  For a small bottle, roughly 355mL, you can expect to pay at least 500 Yen, but that can also go up to 1000 Yen.  When leaving Japan via the airport, you can find several 750mL bottles running around 2000 Yen.  These are all valuable bottles and you can never go wrong with them.  I have never personally purchased any special nihonshu bottles, such as those in a ceramic jar or ceremonial barrel, so be aware that it may or may not taste good.  Do note that prices in North America should be at least 50~100% more than Japanese prices.

There are many ways to drink nihonshu.  You can look all over the internet and find different opinions on how to drink it.  Essentially, nowadays, most of the people I have talked to enjoy cold nihonshu.  Heated nihonshu is generally for the winter season, and there are specific types of nihonshu for the winter season.  When going to an izakaya, the most common way to be served nihonshu is in a shot glass.  This is also how I generally enjoy nihonshu.  It’s simple and it keeps the flavours in tact.  You can also drink nihonshu from a “choko” which is essentially a small ceramic tea cup.  This is the very same cup you will see that comes in a “sake set” where you get a bottle and two cups.  While this is nice, a shot glass is more versatile.  There are some special cups used to drink nihonshu.  “Sakazuki” is a saucer like dish, about the size of a small tea saucer.  It is almost exclusively used in ceremonies and highly unlikely to be seen in a restaurant as it can only hold a small amount.  More commonly seen in Japan is a “Masu”.  This is a small wooden box made of hinoki or sugi.  Generally, these are fragrant woods that add to the flavour of the nihonshu.  High end restaurants may use real masu boxes, but regular izakayas tend to use plastic versions that are lacquered.  It’s customary to put a shot glass inside the box and fill it till it is overflowing.  The best way to drink the nihonshu is to sip it from the glass until it’s possibly half empty.  Then, you can pour the nihonshu that’s in the masu into the glass.

Nihonshu is one of my favourite drinks in Japan.  I don’t really drink enough of it, to be honest.  Like any alcohol, it isn’t for everyone, but if you only drink the cheap stuff, you won’t like it.  It can be an acquired taste as well, so just do your best and over time, maybe you’ll grow to like it.  This is only a basic introduction, so please read some of the following guides if you want to find out more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sake (sake basics)
http://www.jetro.org/trends/sake_intro.php (a good introduction to sake)
http://www.sake-world.com/index.html (everything you need to know about sake)

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

%d bloggers like this: