Today’s tipple is Otokoyama from *muttersandcoughstohidehisinabilitytoreadthekanji* brewery.

A fairly young koshu from Hokkaido, it comes in an interesting case tied with rope that resembles a traditional carrying satchel for sake. The color is a pale yellow, which denotes it’s slight age. The aroma is light, only slightly more honeyed than your average ginjo grade sake. The taste is cloyingly sweet and heavily honeyed, which hides the high acidity. It brings to mind what a Tokaj wine would be if it were sake instead of made from boutryized grapes. Underneath the honey is the flavor of raisins and an almost imperceptible smokiness that’s overwhelmed as you drink more. The sugar content of this kinda ruins the experience, the sweetness is getting in the way of the more complex flavors.

Still, I’m not complaining. It’s my first koshu in ages. I’ll have to check the label description closely to see if it’s a kijoshu (think a Port Wine version of sake here).

You know, if I have to leave Japan because I can’t find another job after my contract ends, I don’t think I’ll return. Not because my time here has been so unbearably nasty, no, it’s only part of that. Work is hellish here, but my life in my free time is like heaven. Tonight was a fresh tempura donburi at a restaurant where the manager calls me by name, right now is delicious sake and Enka and classic Japanese pop. This weekend I’ll buy more fashionable clothes. No one harasses me about my dandyism or smoking here. People respect readers here. Intellectuals aren’t shunted into their own diseased little ghetto where they can entertain themselves with perverse fads.

It’s been such a change, God help my arrogant drunken soul, but I can’t bear to return to someplace where fat people dress tastelessly and deride more cerebral folks.

As much as I can’t acculturate myself to the different work culture here, or live without grating on my coworkers, I still love it here. I’m an alien, but I don’t want to remake this place. It’s nice as it is, a maddening sanctuary from the homogenization of the lowest common denominator.

Visiting here would be like returning to Seattle. A place in my past where crude indignities and sublime memories mix and merge into a transmuted gold that I can’t bear to pull out of my mental lockbox for too long. I don’t want this sojourn to end, but in a few months it will. God help my drunken soul!

Yeah, I know, drama and all that. Deal, or go and read something where people pretend to be hard, though if you’re all tough, why the hell are you reading blogs?