Tokyobling's Blog

Odaiba Oktoberfest 2014

Posted in Places by tokyobling on October 4, 2014

People here in Tokyo love Oktoberfests. There are Oktoberfest events almost year round here in Tokyo, but of course the biggest ones are in October. Last night I visited the Odaiba Oktoberfest held in a park next to the Daiba Diver City complex. It was very early in the evening so the park was still only half full but I expect it would get packed with visitors later. Plenty of German breweries and wineries were represented, as well as Japanese sake breweries. There was even a rental service for Oktoberfest waitress costumes and a proper Munich band, the Almpower playing rock and pop classics. The official Facebook page is here.

The Odaiba Oktober Fest 2014 continues until Sunday the 5th of October, and it is open from 13:00 to 22:00. It is a 5 minute walk from Tokyo Teleport Station, Daiba Station or the Funenokagakukan Station.







Orion Beer

Posted in Stuff by tokyobling on October 2, 2014

So it is October and that means the summer is over although on some days it seems no one told the weather that it was time to change, it as hot and sunny as usual. Summer means beaches and beer and if there is one beer that more than any other is connected with the summer it is Orion Beer. In mainland Japan it is tiny, with only about 1% of the market but in its homeland of Okinawa it has about 50% of the market. Since Okinawa is a very popular summer destination for traveling Japanese Orion is almost like the unofficial beer of summer. You can get it almost anywhere in Tokyo since a few years back, but it is still best on location in Okinawa!

I was inspired to write this after a friend asked me to recommend minor beer breweries in Japan. Orion is also the major American style beer in Japan so it tends to be popular with American military and tourists in the country.



Non-Alcoholic Beer – Suntory All Free

Posted in Stuff by tokyobling on October 12, 2012

After last week’s Whiskey post I feel I should balance things up a little and introduce this non-alcoholic beer! This brand from Suntory, as well as another one from Kirin has really been life savers at many a recent corporate drinking parties here in Japan. I am not a big drinker and I have no interest in keeping up with the Japanese (who despite persistent rumors to the contrary are generally incredibly strong drinkers) but the social pressure on “having another one” can be very strong, and to save face both for myself and my drinking buddies, as well as saving my health and my ability to walk upright the following two or three days I have secretly made sure the waiter brought me these beers on many occasions. They taste 99% similar to ordinary beer although beer fiends from all over the world ridicule me for drinking these I hold that although they taste slightly different it is no way worse or better than ordinary beer.

The Japanese culture of drinking together goes very deep and they even have a portmanteau word for it “nominication” (飲みにケーション), nomu (to drink) + communication. It is very hard to get to know a Japanese coworker (or male friend for that matter) without going drinking with them, at least once, but ideally regularly. This is nothing new, even 1000 year old novels and stories tell of lords having drinking sessions with their vassals and warriors to test their mettle. If you work in Japan, try to work in Japan, try to form a circle of friends or take part in any sort of group activity it is not long before they break out the drinks and you’ll have to show your strength.

In defense of the Japanese though, they are truly the best drunks in the world! The general level of drinking aggression is much lower in this country, as anyone can attest who has been outside a pub at closing time, anywhere in the world. So Suntory and Kirin, I salute you for your alcohol free beer! You’ve saved my liver a lot of damage over the years!

Sekai no Yamachan – Yakitori Restaurant

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on March 3, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I visited one of my favorite Yakitori restaurants, Sekai no Yamachan, this time in Okachimachi (or Ueno, depending on how you see it). Sekai no Yamachan is probably the most famous culinary thing to come out of Nagoya and it was in Nagoya I first tried it a few years ago. Nagoya cuisine is mostly renowned for its use of miso in everything. Sort of like the Koreans and kimchi, Nagoyans like their miso in practically everything! Unlike the miso you’ll find outside of Nagoya, this miso is a thick, spicy, rich, paste which I guess could be an acquired taste but most people will get it quickly. This restaurant is especially famous for its spicy crispy chicken wing plates, tebasaki, if you’re only going to eat tebasaki once in Japan, I think this is the place to do it. When you’re seated you’ll get you chop sticks along with an explanation of how to eat the tebasaki (in my opinion the best part is the pointy end, dry as sand and crispy to perfection), you should end up with just three thin bones! There was also a pamphlet with instructions on simple palm reading – maybe useful to break the ice in conversation?

Yamachan also runs a farm that is open to the public and I think they have a guest house offering farm stay experiences where you can try out rice cultivation by hand and other fun looking stuff, in the town of Nakatsugawa (中津川市) in Aichi prefecture. Every restaurant has a small gift shop where you can buy pretty much the perfect souvenirs for your friends back home. Just writing this blogpost has made me hungry again. Maybe it time to visit Yamachan again tonight?

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