Booze News

October 29, 2008

Japan marketing News has had a lot of good alcohol-related stories lately. They recently reported that Japanese izakayas (traditional pub/ restaurants) such as Toritetsu are starting to install play areas for kids.

I’m not sure how I feel about screaming toddlers in the pub on a Saturday, but I suppose such play areas are common in European beer gardens, and at least it’s better than leaving the little’uns baking in the car with the windows rolled up, as pachinko-addicted parents are prone to do, if the newspapers are anything to go by.
I wonder if the kids will be drinking the hilarious kids’ beer, Kodomo No Nomimono.

The same site reports that a new ginger-flavoured beer from Asahi has come out, backed by a trendy marketing campaign. I never get jaded with products in Japan- they’re changing every other week. Each new trip to the convenience store is a voyage of discovery. “Asahi Ginger Draft” is actually rather tasty, but I’d better not get too attached, because it’ll probably disappear by Christmas, replaced by turkey-flavoured egg-nog-soda or something.

Also, most excitingly, in December Kirin will be releasing two limited-edition cans of beer to celebrate their 120th anniversary. These classy lagers will be recreations of the brews the company produced when they first started, when their beer didn’t contain dubious things like starch or rice that are in today’s brews. This New Year’s Eve I’ll be loading up on these beers and partying like it’s 1899.


September 19, 2008

Now here’s an establishment that knows its target market! “Booze-holic” is basically a cool way of saying alcoholic, and I guess that’s the kind of person who’s going to be frequenting this late-night Tokyo bar.
You’ve got to admire their honesty.

Here’s a link to the homepage.

Strong Stuff

September 10, 2008

There’s a growing demand in Japan for the kind of high-alcohol beers and alco-pops that strapped-for-cash teenagers and homeless guys guzzle in parks in the UK. Chemical concoctions akin to Special Brew, with the power of paint stripper, aimed to get you utterly wasted for as cheap as possible.
Kirin’s new “Hyoketsu Lemon Strong”, a vodka-based alco-pop, contains 7% alcohol, and has been selling like hotcakes.

Thanks to Lemon Strong’s success, Kirin will soon be releasing “Strong Seven”, which sounds like a kung-fu movie, but is actually a happoshu (fake beer) which is also 7% alcohol.
Penny-pinching piss-heads throughout the nation are rubbing their hands with glee and anticipation.

Read more at Japan Marketing News.

Mayonnaise Margheritas

September 3, 2008

Oh blimey, what next? Koji Nakamura, a typically inventive Japanese bartender in Tokyo, makes cocktails with mayonnaise. You might think he was incredibly drunk when he came up with the idea, but Koji is obsessed with mayo and even runs a restaurant in Western Tokyo called “Mayonnaise Kitchen” (the Japanese actually have a name for mayonnaise fanatics- mayolers.)
Koji’s creamy cocktails include the “Mayogarita”, and the “Mayoty Dog” (which has mayo instead of salt around the rim.)
I’d have to be pretty far gone to drink one of these horrific concoctions, and have a sick bucket close at hand.

More at Reuters.

Mayonnaise Kitchen Homepage.

Red in the Face

March 5, 2008

When I’m out drinking with my Japanese pals, I’ve noticed that their faces often go a bright shade of crimson when they get drunk. Apparently there’s a scientific reason for this chameleonic reaction. If it happens to you, you’re missing an enzyme that breaks down booze.

About fifty percent of people in Eastern Asia get this “alcohol flush reaction.” Before their first sip of sake they might be as pale as an anaemic geisha, but after five minutes of drinking they’ll resemble a sunburned Irish bricklayer with high blood-pressure, stepping out of a sauna on a hot August afternoon.
This doesn’t stop the average Japanese businessman from getting smashed with his colleagues. They just ignore their Elmo-esque visages, and soldier valiantly on.

It’s not just Asian people that get this. I remember one of my Aunties at every family gathering getting rosy cheeks after a couple of mouthfuls of wine.

For you science fans out there, apparently this pesky missing enzyme is called “aldehyde dehydrogenase 2”, and it breaks down acetaldehyde, which gets made when your body metabolizes booze. Acetaldehyde is a toxin, so when your body can’t break it down, it builds up and makes your face as scarlet as a slapped arse. You can read a proper scientific explanation on Wikipedia.

On the plus side, this inactive enzyme means you can get shit-faced very quickly and cheaply.
I wish I had this problem. I’d save a fortune in beer money!

Toilet Trouble

January 18, 2008

Visitors to Japan find much amusement in the high-tech toilets. You know, the sort of futuristic robo-crappers that C3PO might drop his techno-turds into. Tourists point and guffaw at the heated seat and the panel of buttons so complex you need a pilot’s license to operate.
I wasn’t laughing, however, when I was puking into one of them the other day.

In a state of drunken delirium I had blithely missed my last train home from Tokyo after a frenzied drinking session, and had to stay on my friend’s sofa. His classy new apartment was equipped with a space-age lavatory and, early the next morning, I was kneeling in front of it, miserably spewing up the acidic contents of my guts. I felt bloody awful and deeply regretted the three pints of gin and tonic I had knocked back towards the end of the night.

After some considerable time I finally stopped heaving and I reached blindly for the control panel to flush the toilet. However, as I fumbled feebly with with the buttons, I somehow made the mistake of operating the bidet function instead. As the sudden jet of scalding hot water hit me in the face, startling me and drenching my shirt, I sorely missed the traditional, cold porcelain toilets of home.