Since I have moved to the U.S. from Japan, I have felt sad about how Americans drink, because American people don't drink so much. "飲みが足んねえ" (nomi ga tan ne e, or "They don't drink enough"). They are too discreet. Maybe people can't be a dead drunk in U.S., because of safety issues. Maybe they have to drive after drinking. Maybe I am old, and my friends are also too old to drink so much. Especially in Berkeley where I live, everything shuts down so early. We are kicked out at 2am from a bar (on weekdays they close around 12am!). We have no choice, just go home and go to bed.
When I lived in Japan, I drank almost every night until 2 or 3am at a bar or izakaya, sometimes at home. All the bars stay open until 4 or 5am. You can also go on a bar-crawl. My favorite course was to go to a izakaya first, and then a bar, and finishing at a ramen shop. It's impossible to do that around this area. Sad.
Anyway, this is a shochu column, so I have to talk about shochu. What I was drinking all those nights in Japan was shochu, of course... yeah. The most attractive element of shochu is that you can drink during eating like wine or sake. And the happy news is that you have less chance to be hungover on shochu than wine and sake, because it contains less sugar. This made it possible for me to go to work in the morning.
I also have felt that American people think too much, when they try new drinks like shochu. They drink it cautiously, little by little, and finish after only one glass.
Don't over think, just drink!
Buy the entire bottle shochu, and drink thoroughly! Shochu is a casual drink, keep drinking, and then you will know how fun shochu is.
I got a good example how to enjoy shochu the other day. Let's see.
Kayoko, Kayoko's friend Johnny, and Yoko came over to my work place the other nice summer day, and they bought a bottle of Satsuma Shiranami and started drinking at the outside bar of Ippuku, where I work. They looked relaxed and were having fun. I was working so hard at the bar though.
And then, they moved to a table and kept drinking and eating a lot. Nice.
They ordered another bottle of shochu. Cool.
They had finished their dishes and drinks in a moment. Fabulous.
Kayoko and Johnny were getting in the mood. Woo hoo.
And kept eating and drinking.
Inevitably, they felt the shochu love. Awesome.
And started to dance. Untouchable.
They came over to me and tried to order one more bottle of shochu, but I said "No!" Sorry.
Finally I got home from work, made instant ramen and ate it.
Now you know shochu is fantastic.
Shochu makes you happy. Shochu makes you fall in love sometimes. If your lover cheats you, you can come back to shochu anytime.
Shochu doesn't cheat you. Shochu always stands by you. Take your shochu time.