Shouting into the Storm Rantings, ramblings, observations and musings from the insipid to the sublime

Japan - Day 3

Sunday, May 15, 2005 :::
And on the Third Day, they made beer.

Took the train out to the Suntory brewery yesterday. Only real downside was waiting for the bus to take us from the train station to the brewery. What a crappy, boring, lifeless area. Thankfully we were vastly amused by the big yellow bus that read "Malt's Beer" that came to wisk us away.

The tour was down entirely in Japanese, which makes sense, as we were the only non-Japanese in the tour group. I filled in the details for Chris. "This is barley, these are hops, they all go in here. This is fermentation, etc. etc" The cool thing we learned was that Suntory has a well drilled into the mountainside to get their nature pure water.

It didn't really matter, because what we really wanted was the free beer at the end. And what a sweet nectar it was. The stuff made at the brewery, the stuff made at their other brewerys, the Premium beer we tried. It was all good.

The two tour guides even stopped by to apologize for not speaking Enlish, which is completely silly. Still, a nice touch.

Half in the bag, it was off to Osaka. A little comparison - Kyoto is the spiritual hub of Japan. Very old city, rathe conservative and particularly polite, even by Japanese terms. Osaka, however, is a little different. This, my friends, is a City. More people moving faster and with more purpose.

We were hungry, and had not had sushi yet this trip. Stopping by a local place proved more interesting than expected. While ordering was as simple as point-and-eat, watching the other patrons eat was not. You see, they ordered something straight out of Iron Chef. The sushi chef took a live small octopus, cut it into pieces, out the pieces onto a plate(a highly decorative plate, mind you) and gave it to the customer. And when she picked up a piece with her chopsticks, we both noticed that it was STILL WRIGGLING AROUND. She smiled and overed us some, which damn near made me fall off my chair.

With lunch over, thankfully, we strolled to the filthy, polluted Dotonbori river. This is apparently a unique place. When the Honshin Tigers do well in the playoffs, people get drunk, strip naked, and jump into the river. Gladis mentioned that a few years back the city actually dredged the river before the playoffs so that no one accidentally impailed themselves on an old bike or shopping cart.

After a rather lack-luster trip in a giant ferris wheel, it was back to wandering. Lots of porn and adult-themed stuff in Osaka. Plenty of nudie bars, "massage parlors" and love hotels. Good times for all.

For dinner we met up with Gladis' boyfriend, Naoki. Very nice kid, if a little shy at first. Very enjoyable dinner, topped off by the following exchange:

Me: "So, Chris tell you about our band in college"
Naoki: *smiles* "POS-TAAAH!!!!"


Things wrapped up at a gay bar around the corner. The owner is a friendly guy who gave Chris shit for his dead chipmunk goatee, his disappointing linguistic skills, and gave me shit for having the temerity of not being gay. And, we heard one of the patrons give a toast to Syphillus, and later discussing how much it sucked to have had crabs twice. Thankfully, I slept the entire train ride back here, so I didn't have to dwell on that image.

::: posted by Chris at 8:51 PM

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