February 25, 2015

Anatomy of an Epic Win

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Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey

From: Mike
Date: February 20, 2015
Subject: Yabufutokoro-o Sake Godzilla

Dear Sir,
My friend and I are in Osaka and are looking for a Godzilla bottle of your fine Yabufutokoro-o Sake. Could you please tell us where we might buy some, and if it is available at the distillery in Osaka? Many thanks for your help!



February 21, 2015:



From: “”
Date: February 23, 2015
To: Mike
Subject: Re: Yabufutokoro-o Sake Godzilla
Dear Mr.Michael Hadgson

Thank you for your inquiry.

Unfortunately,the Godzill that you tried to order is sold out.

Yours faithfully,

February 18, 2015

Lost, no translations

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Filed under: Japan,Travel

Osaka, Japan — trying to find the nearest train station before the trains stop running.

Traveling at the speed of highball

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Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey

Through our diligent efforts, we have discovered that the Shinkansen ride from Kyoto to Osaka lasts exactly long enough to open, drink, and finish a single can on Suntory Kaku Highball (7% alcohol by volume).

February 15, 2015

Daikanyama station

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Filed under: Japan,Travel

Some arrive, some depart

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Fukutoshin Line, Kitasando station.

February 13, 2015

Hanging with Hachiko

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Filed under: Japan,Travel

Ah, Shibuya. We got to hang out with the world’s most famous dog statue, Hachiko. He seemed pleased to see us.

February 12, 2015

This is not a plane

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Filed under: Japan,Travel

What is the sound of a plane that is delayed because of a snowstorm?

Sapporo soup curry: it pleases us

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Filed under: Food,Japan,Travel


Sapporo’s famous soup curry did not disappoint us at Nishitondendori Soup Curry Honpo. Halfway between a soup and a stew and served with rice, it’s a kind of dish that could only have been perfected in a snowy, cold climate.

Pictured here is the Kakuni Soup Curry, with an addition of coconut milk to the pork broth based soup curry, and a large rice topped with “carbonara” (a poached egg and diced grilled pancetta) and a cheese-stuffed hamburger ball (described on the menu as “chizu in hambaagaa raisu on”). Oh, and spice level 6 out of 10. (If you select 10 spice level, you have to get permission from the shop to proceed.)

You order from the menu in 5 steps. Step 1: select the type of meat — hamburger, pork belly (kakuni), chicken leg, etc. Step 2: select the type of soup base — chicken, pork, coconut, etc. Step 3: pick the spice level. Step 4: pick the amount of rice. Final step: select and add ons — rice toppings, hamburger ball, veggies, etc.

It is hard to say which there were more of: calories or deliciousness.

The snowy coast of Hokkaido from a JR train

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Nikka tasting room, or why we can’t have nice things

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Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey


The Nikka distillery at Yoichi, Hokkaido, has a cavernous space dedicated to serving visitors tasting portions of several of their products, including apple brandy, apple juice (which was quite good, actually), 10 year whisky, and the 17 year “Tsuru” whisky.

What struck me almost immediately was that there was no system in place to discourage you from grabbing as many whiskies as you wanted. There wasn’t even anyone there checking IDs, and kids ran around practically unsupervised. There was no cover charge, no ticket system, no employee hovering over the samples, staring at you disapprovingly. In fact, the employees that manned the samples table had the attitude that they were there to make the experience as pleasant as possible, and were more than happy to serve you.

If this were in the US, this set up would probably result in utter chaos as people would grab armfuls of whiskey, get drunk, drink underage, basically treat it like a house party thrown by your worst enemy.

I don’t know what it is that stops degenerate behavior from happening here in Yoichi (a cultural emphasis on shame, moderation, appropriate behavior?), but whatever it is, our lack of it in the US pretty much means we can’t ever have nice things like this.

Oh and the Tsuru 17 year was good and had a very bourbony character, but it was not spectacularly awesome.

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A group effort by Allen, Ben and Mike