If you’ve ever wanted to wander the streets getting drunk in broad daylight without arousing suspicion, Japan has a solution for you – pouch alcohol. Instead of carrying around an obvious bottle or can, you can now get your alcohol in a little pouch like the kind you get vitamin jelly or kids juices in. You can slip it into your bag and discreetly sip on it like you’re just enjoying a low-calorie snack. You can do it on the train, in the park, or even at work! No one will ever know! Of course, these are just examples, and we don’t recommend you actually do them. The RocketNews24 staff would certainly never endorse drinking on the job.
Taking the train is by far the most common way to get around urban and suburban Japan. By its very nature, though, using public transportation means being out in public, which in Japan means following social norms about proper manners and not bothering your fellow passengers.
The average Tokyo commuter spends an hour each way on the train, though. It can be hard to follow all of the implicit rules of train etiquette during such a lengthy ride, and here are 10 minor breaches of etiquette that some Japanese men are willing to turn a blind eye to.
There are all kinds of urban legends and so-called old wives’ tales that proclaim the health benefits, or time-saving benefits, borderline magical properties, or terrifying dangers of doing X or Y. We’ve heard them all: Don’t eat within thirty minutes of swimming or you’ll get a cramp and literally die, bundle up when it’s cold outside or you’ll get a cold (by the way, oh my god, people, stop it with this; a cold is a virus, you don’t get it from the weather), an apple a day will keep the doctor away, a watched pot never boils, etc.
It’s almost like these old sayings and legends are the pre-Internet era equivalent of lifehacks! And since we’ve sort of been on a lifehacking streak recently, we decided to give one of these a test for ourselves: Specifically, the rumor that sticking a spoon into the neck of a champagne bottle will keep it from going flat.
Are traditional bars a little too bland for you? Do you try to strike up conversations about anime with your fellow drink enthusiasts, only to get weird looks and asked to leave?
Well then you should check out Otarabo the anime bar! Not only does it have a large assortment of alcoholic beverages to enjoy, but it’s packed to the rafters with anime posters, figures, and toys. And best of all if you want to argue about Goku vs. Vegeta, or which Love Live! girl is the cutest, you’ll have plenty of inebriated otaku friends to discuss with.
What would you do if you were about to catch a flight but were then told that you couldn’t bring a bottle of alcohol worth approximately 8,000-yuan (US$1,290) onto the plane? Hands up if you’d down it in a matter of minutes!
There are many lovers of nihonshu (often called sake in English) in Japan, but a challenge of a true nihonshu fan is finding that perfect brand to suit their tastes. With the hundreds of different kinds each with their own flavors and ways to serve, you might drink for years without being able to settle on a type to call your favorite.
In addition to time, it can also be a burden on the wallet to go through bottle after bottle searching for that right one. Luckily, Mr. Sato stumbled upon something that might help speed up and cheapen the sake selecting process.
It’s a sake taste testing machine in Osaka International Airport that sells cups from nearly 30 different brands for only 100 yen (US$0.81) each.
We’ve written a lot about nihonshu, also known as sake, here at RocketNews24, but it’s not (just) because we love all things alcoholic. Nihonshu is an integral facet of traditional Japanese culture and, although it may be going through a bit of a rough patch right now, it’s still very much a part of Japanese society today.
Nowhere blends the old and the new better than Japan and, while of course technological advances have made production safer and easier, many breweries still mainly use traditional techniques to preserve the special flavour of their beverages. This video gives a glimpse into the production process today at Matsumoto Sake Brewing Co. in Kyoto, which has been making sake since 1791.
It seems like every time you look, there’s some sort of new fad diet or superfood, all purported to be the best thing you can do for your health or to improve your natural beauty. But the good news is, this one’s actually fun to partake in.
Researchers at a university in Japan have now put sweet Japanese sake to the test, and have found it to have a number of positive beauty benefits, including improvement to under-eye health!
Late spring is one of the few universally pleasant times to spend outdoors in Japan. The cold of winter and the heavy pollen counts of early spring are gone, and the heat and humidity of summer are yet to make their appearance.
Of course, some would say that no matter how nice the weather is outdoors, it’s even more comfortable to have a drink in hand. Next month, you’ll be able to scratch both those itches at once with the Shibuya Sake Festival in Tokyo’s Miyashita Park, where you can spend a day drinking as much as you’d like of more than 100 different kinds of sake.
Recently, it seems like Japanese beverage makers are all about helping us with our multitasking. First there was the sakura beer that let you enjoy a cold one and contemplate the cherry blossoms at the same time, and earlier this week it was time for a taste test of alcoholic matcha green tea.
Now, it’s time for another double-dose of drinkables, with Suntory’s just-released bottled water with the flavor of…yogurt?!?
Every now and then, after a nice, satisfying dinner, I’ll find myself with both a thirst and a quandary. Do I feel like capping the meal with a relaxing cup of tea, or something stronger?
Thanks to a new drink that just hit stores in Japan, though, I don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, because this alcoholic beverage is made with matcha green tea powder.
Getting pounded into the turf by a 40-meter (131-foot) tall martial artist who can shoot beams of energy from his hands can’t be an easy lifestyle. So last year when a restaurant opened in Kawasaki to honor the giant monsters and aliens who so often end up on the losing side of the battles in the Ultraman franchise, we thought it was nice they now had a place to relax, enjoy some tasty food, and knock back a few beers between regularly getting pummeled by the good guys.
Of course, we Earthlings were also welcome at the establishment, called the Kaiju Sakaba (“Monster Pub”). We stopped by shortly after the place opened last year, and all of the Ultraman-themed decorations made us feel like we were little kids again (well, at least until our first round of alcoholic drinks arrived, anyway). And then we felt like little kids again as wept in sadness upon hearing the Kaiju Sakaba was closing last March.
But, just like the ending of each installment of the Ultraman saga gives way to the next chapter, the Kaiju Sakaba is coming back to Kawasaki later this month, and this time it’s here to stay!
As imports of Western drinks increase, interest in Japan’s native alcoholic beverages has been declining. There have been efforts to bring drinkers back to traditional drinks such as sake and shochu, but they face tough competition from the likes of wine and champagne, which evoke fashionable, sophisticated images in the minds of Japanese drinkers.
One way to revive interest could be to apply Western fermentation techniques to Eastern beverages such as sake, Japan’s “rice wine”, to create unique twists on traditional drinks. “Champagne sake” is an example of this done deliciously right.
A lot of bars and restaurants in Japan offer special deals where you can drink as much as you like for a certain amount of time, usually about two hours. The downside is these packages often don’t give you access to the full beverage menu. While beer and basic cocktails are generally included, if you’re in the mood for sake, you’re generally restricted to whatever the house brand is.
So we were excited when we heard about a new watering hole opening up in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood that lets you pick from 100 different types of sake for its all-you-can-drink plan, and even better, there’s no time limit.
Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.
That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.
Remember Takara Tomy A.R.T.S’ punnily-named product, the Sonic Hour (“hour” sounds similar to awa, or “bubbles” in Japanese) that we introduced you to two years ago? That device created a foamy head on a glass of beer in seconds, making it the perfect present for any beer lover in Japan.
Those same beer lovers now have cause to rejoice again because this time around, the Sonic Hour is back with a handy new portable version!
After three months of cold weather, I’m ready for spring. Coincidentally, after a long week of work, I’m ready for a beer.
Lucky me, these two desires have dovetailed perfectly in the form of Kanagawa Prefecture microbrewer Sankt Gallen’s newest offering, made with the petals of the harbinger of Japanese spring, cherry blossoms. So strap on your drinking caps, because it’s time for the sakura beer taste test!
Japan’s cherry blossoms are beautiful enough to enjoy without any alcoholic accompaniments, but it’s a fact of life that for many people the drinks are the real draw of a sakura-viewing party. Yet while there’s definitely a certain charm to knocking back a few cold ones in the park with a group of good friends, it does seem like a waste to take the focus off the flowers, since they bloom for such a short time.
That doesn’t mean you need to slow down your drinking to maximize your appreciation of the cherry blossoms, though. It just means you’ll need to pick up a few bottles of this special beer that’s made with sakura petals.
After conducting a survey of people’s drinking habits, beverage-maker Kirin discovered that Japanese people in their 20s just weren’t drinking as much as their elders. While for many this would be an optimistic sign that the younger generation is becoming a group of sober and hardworking members of society, for those in the alcohol business it’s a sucker punch to the bottom line.
So, in an effort to keep younger drinkers off the wagon, Kirin is meeting them 99 percent of the way by offering a line of drinks aptly named “Butterfly” which contain only one percent of alcohol by volume.
MOVIE LIFE KYOTO is a video series which aims to introduce Japanese culture to foreigners in a light-hearted and humorous fashion. With English narration and Japanese subtitles, they’re filled with little factoids and hilariously on-point observations that will be of interest to foreign visitors and a source of much ‘that’s so true!’ amusement for Japanese people, too!