Saturday, January 08, 2011
Red Wine, Yellow Sun
For reasons unknown to me, the Japanese adore the Beaujolais Nouveau. Like so many things from other cultures, they have seized on the first wine of the season and made it their own. Around here there is a family run winery in the city of Ashikaga, in Tochigi Prefecture. Every November they hold a harvest festival. Your entry fee gets you a bottle of wine, red or white, a glass and a bottle opener. Then its up to you to sit back, enjoy music, conversation and sun and just relax under the vines.
Though of course some people relaxed more than others. I myself found the moment rather culturally surreal. Here I was drinking red wine, with a good German bratwurst that I was eating with chopsticks. Now THAT my friends is multiculturalism at its finest.
The weather was glorious, sunny and warm, and the wine and food were both delicious. The weekend was a ton of fun, and is exactly the sort of event that anybody can enjoy. Even non-drinkers, as there is sparkling grape juice available for those who are not fond of wine. For anybody that finds themselves in Japan in November, seek out the Coco Winery in Ashikaga. Even if you go alone, you'll make plenty of friends before the day is out!