Sip Trips #64: Asian Antics (Part 2)

With our cruise over, Mrs. Sip and I, along with her sister were on our way to Japan for two weeks of riding the rails, sightseeing and taking in the country’s fascinating culture.

I learned quickly that there were some craft beer options in Japan and picked up bottles and cans whenever the opportunity arose. Some of our favourites included releases from Cuedo Brewing (hefeweizen, IPL, pilsner, and a very interesting imperial sweet potato amber); Suntory (stout, IPA, weizen, amber ale, etc.); and what we can only call “frog beers” (saison and American wheat).

Japan Ready for War

Switching gears to the macro side of things, we were lucky to tour the Kirin Brewery outside Kobe, Japan. The shuttle that takes visitors from train station to factory is designed to look like a beer can, so things get off to a great start and only get better from there with a free tour and samples. Sure, you have to go through a tour that is only done in Japanese, but the sacrifice is well worth it!

In Osaka, we explored the Dotonbori area, known for its vibrant nightlife. Some research led us to the Space Station Video Game Bar, where drinkers can enjoy a beverage and a vintage video game. As expected, the drinks and shots available are themed after video games and popular characters. I had the Gin & Sonic (a G&T with Blue Curacao added to emulate the classic Sega speedster), followed by a Triforce shooter of Legend of Zelda fame. The owner made sure to get us set up with a great game called Ibb and Obb, while the bartender was very helpful with describing their extensive menu.

Our Air BnB in Tokyo was located just minutes away from the Golden Gai area of the city. Here, there are an estimated 300 little bars, some of which you would struggle to get more than a handful of people into. Some of these spots only welcome locals, while others may be open to tourists, providing they pay a cover charge. We tried to stick to bars that allowed foreigners (or gaijin as they are known) and didn’t have cover. We worked our way into four very unique settings, including one honouring classic movies; one where karaoke filled the venue; Death Match in Hell, which was a tribute to death metal and horror movies; and 5 Gallons, which was just straight up fun.

Japan Weird

The next night, we enjoyed a two-hour all-inclusive drinking experience on the 41st floor of the Park Hyatt, in their Peak Bar. Dubbed the Top of Tokyo, my strategy was to challenge the bartender to make her best cocktail with [insert liquor here]. It yielded some great results, such as a Cherry Blossom. This was joined by copious other beverages, including manhattans, mojitos, daiquiris and whiskey sours.

We wrapped up our Asian journey with a few days at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Drinks could be had in the Disney Sea park, which meant we spent a fair bit of time there. Mrs. Sip dared me to try their “Frozen” Kirin Draft, which translated into chilled foam at the top of the beer that kept it cooler, longer, but tasted as bad as you’d expect the head of beer to taste.

Japan Signs

We also enjoyed some quiet time in both of the park’s lounges: the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge and Magellan’s Lounge. At Magellan’s, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed their wine tasting flight, which included a white, red, and port pour, along with meat and cheese nibblies.

Much like most of our journeys, I can’t say enough good things about the sites we saw, the people we met and the activities we experienced. I wouldn’t trade the trip for anything and urge all you little sippers out there to try it for yourselves.

May 29 – Red Lotus

Land of Cherry Blossoms

Today we continue part two of our epic tour of Japan… for part one, head to our Japanese Slipper post.

Buy a High-Tech Gadget You Don’t Understand

Japan is a haven for electronic gadgets nobody really needs. Think about those Tamagotchi Pets and other junk. I’m not sure what I’d be searching for at the stores and stands hawking these treasures, but if I could find some kind of device that makes Mrs. Sip a little less late and a little more on time, I’d scoop it up in a heartbeat!

Japan Weird

Go to Tokyo Disney Resort

I have made it a bucket list goal to visit every Disney theme park and this holiday would cross another stop off the register. Comprised of two parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea – there are a ton of old classics and new favourites to check out. I just think it would be a psychedelic trip to go through the usual Disney fare, but have everything voiced in Japanese.

See “The Cove”

Whether you’re pro- or anti-dolphin hunting (not really sure who out there is actually in favour of slaughtering Flipper and his mates), if you’re looking for some adventure, you should visit “The Cove”, aka Taiji, Wakayama, Japan. Perhaps you can get into a fight with hunters or protestors or both. I say, why not swing wildly and let God sort ‘em out.

Sing Karaoke

These people invented the drunken entertainment, so we might as well drop a few sake bombs and sing our hearts out with the Yakuza. Perhaps we can find an arcade where visitors can take a spin at Dance Dance Revolution, while belting out a Neil Diamond classic!

Karaoke

Woo a Geisha

Although we’re only there for a few weeks, I think I have the ‘moves like Jagger’ to make a Geisha smitten with me. While I can’t provide all the usual financial support associated with the normal patrons of these ladies, I can offer wonderful drink recipes and regale them with stories of my triumphs.

Ride a Bullet Train

While the case would have to be solved quickly, given we’re aboard a Bullet Train, it would be neat to be aboard a choo-choo where a murder has occurred (ala The Orient Express)… and EVERYONE is a suspect! If the victim is anyone I work with, then I’ll likely turn out to be the killer. I won’t even make it a difficult case for investigators… full on confession: I did it and I’d do it again.

Wear a Kimono

Of course I’d be donning this traditional wardrobe at a public bath house, where I would then proceed to bathe rich Japanese businessmen, in exchange for yen and customary noodle dishes. It is a good life if you can get it!

Drink #149: Red Lotus

May 29

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • Top with Lychee Juice
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice

Well, that about wraps up our Japanese adventures. Have I missed anything? Rhetorical question, my little sippers… I’m kind of awesome that way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is a very light drink that would probably get you drunk quickly without even noticing your buzz rising. It’s the first time I’ve ever had Lychee Juice and I’m looking forward to future play dates!