Well, for various reasons I canceled my Europe trip. I’m bummed out about it, but it might be for the best – I’m moving back to the U.S. at the end of May to go to graduate school, and the extra time in Japan will enable me to say my goodbyes properly and to round up five years’ worth of belongings. I’m confident that I’ll get to Europe soon, maybe as soon as June or July.
How to Japonese will continue now and post-repatriation, but posting will be light until the beginning of June. Hopefully once a week. Today I’m just passing on some links with a bit of additional information.
This is my post on Japan Pulse about 1Q84 Book 3. I went to lunch in Yokohama Thursday and stopped in a bookstore after eating. The book hadn’t been released yet, but the displays were already stocked with 1Q84-related material. His complete 文庫本 back catalog, his translations, books mentioned in 1Q84. Pretty impressive. Murakami has made it easy with his prolific name-dropping. I’m about 120 pages in, and so far not much has happened, but the names keep coming. Since I wrote the article, he has started quoting extensive passages from Isak Deneson’s Out of Africa.
I also wrote about the beer scene after being inspired by the Yokohama Spring Beer Party. It was on Sunday, April 11, as was the Japan Craft Beer Selection 2010 hosted by Popeye at the Bunkyo Kumin Center. The two events couldn’t be more different. I attended the Beer Selection last year, and the goal of the six and half hour event was to carefully judge all Japanese craft beers. Or at least all the beers entered in the competition. It starts with a lecture on how to judge beer, then continues to a practice tasting, after which the 100 or so participants undertake blind taste tests by style and fill out cards rating each beer’s bitterness, maltiness, aroma, mouthfeel and more. Last year they announced the winners on the spot, but this year beers that are selected continue on to the final round, which will be held on May 16th at Popeye.
The Yokohama Spring Beer Party, on the other hand, was a relaxed, picnic atmosphere. There were over two dozen beers, and it was all-you-can-drink for 2000 yen – quite a deal. Later in the afternoon there was even an impromptu 記念写真 with nearly all 500 participants along the Yokohama harbor. Several brewers were there, as were the staff from many of the Kanto-area bars. The contrast of the events, to me, showed that good beer is starting to go mainstream as well as otaku (it’s probably been otaku for a while now, actually). Very cool to see the frequency and variety of different beer events available in Japan.
Now if only we can get the tax laws changed. Seriously, someone should do something about this.
I also have a pub crawl review on CNNGo Tokyo. Five great beers from five great bars in Shibuya. I made a video of the crawl, which you can see here:
And finally, I made a Facebook page for How to Japonese, so feel free to follow the feed over there.