Internationally, Japan is known for a number of disparate elements to its culture - geisha, manga, long working hours, harajuku girls etc... Internally, though, I have discovered that there is but one glue that holds all these elements together, and it is cheap, gold, and comes in a can. I refer, of course, to beer (and not canned wee, as some may have thought... children), the elixir of life, and the lifeblood of the average Japanese man and gaijin visitor. If we take beer to be the elixir of life, as I have so grandly stated, then the relative Nicholas Flamel (dork) is Asahi, the company responsible for the creation and manufacture of the greater part of the beverages stocked in the local Co-Op.
IN actual fact though, as I learnt this weekend, Asahi is responsible not only for the production of beer... Oh no! But also coffee in a can, various fizzy beverages, certain candies, and, so far as I can tell, a number of different drugs.
See for yourself:
Noodles! Tequila! Some sort of vaguely terrifying slimming concoction (best results when taken in combination with entire contents of cabinet). Gum! Whiskey! Some sort of cracker! And...
Me! Yes, I am a product of Asahi. This kind of perfection is not borne of man. Silly.
So, in case this is not already blindingly obvious (it is), I, this weekend, spent some hours at the source of all Japan's problems and delight's - the Asahi brewery. The trip was the brainchild of Aravin's new employer, a short greying man with English skills equatable to my Japanese (crap). All direction was therefore given with the flat of his hand, and so I was forcibly directed down several corridors, up many flights of stairs, towards windows looking down upon brewing apparatus (silver and... that is all I know), and had my head (no joke) depressed directly into a barrel of barley. Apparently you smell it better from close up. Can confirm this to be the truth. His desire to be a knowledgable and useful guide knew no boundaries, and when the part of the tour that involved free samples approached (he had obviously been on this tour more than once), he took me by the hand, and yanked me bodily through the crowds to the front. Truth be told, this was also my favourite part of the tour. It involved both SITTING down and SNACKS, which readers will know to be two of my favourite things, after sleeping and MORE SNACKS. It also involved filling out a survey, which would not have been entertaining, had it not also involved THIS pencil:
NOT TO BE USED FOR ANYTHING SPECIFIC.
It also involved THIS CHILD:
I stole her.
This will be our Christmas card photo.
(Incidentally, do understand that addition of photos is distracting somewhat from literary content of blog. But, am tired. Boyfriend is cooking chicken. Have no pants on. Charlotte Bronte did not have to work in these kinds of distracting circumstances).
So, enjoyed Beer Factory. Cannot truthfully say that tour was particularly enlightening, what with it being in a different language, and being forced to take it at a run. But genuinely enjoyed free samples, small sausage-like things which turned out to be cheese, and opportunity to indulge in a little light-hearted kidnapping. In fact, enjoyed self so much that now work there. Sorry JET.
ADDENDUM: How can one not enjoy living in a country where the Red Bull is to be found in the MEDICINAL SECTION??