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Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. Juni 2011


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Chris Bunting is a Tokyo-based journalist who has written for a variety of UK publications, including the London Times and the Independent. He currently works for a leading Japanese daily newspaper.

Drinking Japan is the first wide-ranging survey in English of Japan`s unique alcohol culture, with chapters offering in depth introductions to sake, shochu, awamori, beer, wine, and whisky.


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Amazon.com: 7 Rezensionen
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
first review 15. April 2011
Von brian - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Worthy of a toast 12. Mai 2011
Von Sean Miyaguchi - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Thoroughly researched and attractively presented, Drinking Japan provides enough insights into the country's unique bar culture and beverages to establish it as a valuable reference both for newcomers and those more acquainted with the delights of Japanese liquor.
Delving into the history and traditions of the country's various brewed, distilled and fermented beverages, author Chris Bunting also highlights more than 120 standout examples from among Japan's countless superb licensed establishments.
Each chapter focuses on a major drink category - such as whisky, sake, shochu and Okinawan awamori - while listing bars specializing in it, complete with maps and directions from the nearest train stations. (Particularly useful in a country where rail is the primary mode of transport in major cities, and for readers who will likely be in no state to drive if putting the book to good use.)
Bar listings are conveniently arranged by location in the book's front inside cover, while listed alphabetically at the back. The majority of the featured bars are in and around Tokyo, however, there are several write-ups for bars in other areas popular with visitors such as Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima.
For visitors with little or no Japanese language ability, a section on useful words and phrases should make the Japanese bar experience much easier to navigate.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Nicely done 11. April 2012
Von Matthew B. Rowley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
From Rowley's Whiskey Forge:

Living in California where sushi joints are as common as coffee shops and devoting no small portion of my life to the study of distilling and drinking, I have some familiarity with Japanese whisky, shochu, and sake -- but only as an American understands these things. That is, I drink what I can get in the United States. Consequently, the breadth and depth of drinking choices in Japan itself has been a matter of trawling for hearsay, quizzing bartenders and distillers who have visited Japan, and reading.

For the last several months I have been trying to remedy that with a crash course in Japanese spirits and cookery.

One of the most useful books on drinking alcohol in modern Japan to come across my desk is, appropriately enough, Drinking Japan by Tokyo-based journalist Chris Bunting. Subtitled A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments, Bunting's book is something of a revelation.

As with all guidebooks, some of its information -- hours, addresses, or staff, for instance -- is bound to be obsolete by the time it lands in your hands. Accept it and move on. The rest is a meaty mix of history; tips to avoid cultural misunderstandings (that extra charge on your bill isn't sneaky thievery -- it's there on purpose and everyone at the bar but you understands this); suggestions for dealing with unfamiliar drinking environments; warnings on harsh penalties lashed out to drunk drivers (and passengers of drunk drivers); pronunciation guides; detailed guides and maps to bars, distilleries, and liquor stores; and profiles of Japan's noteworthy alcoholists.

With so much of Americans' focus when it comes to Japanese drinking on sake and, to a lesser degree, whiskies, it was a surprise to me that Japan has a robust craft brewing scene. Obviously, Japan has breweries, but in California, I have known only light and, let's face it, undistinguished brands such as Kirin and Sapporo. Bunting devotes an entire chapter to what he calls the "glories of Japanese beer" and breaks down where to get it and how to drink it.

One of the more engrossing chapters for me concerns awamori, an Okinawan distilled rice spirit that can be traced clearly to the early 1500s, but in all probability is older even than that. Awamori was, from its earliest days, an aristocratic drink. Bunting writes "Only forty individuals were given permits and all distilling was done under royal patronage; the stills and the ingredients were owned and loaned out by the kingdom and all of the liquor had to be returned to it, save for 5.4 liters left as payment with each maker. Unlicensed distilling brought the death penalty and transportation of the culprit's family to a prison island." This, naturally, suggests that moonshining was enough of a problem that draconian laws were put in place to stem the flow from illicit stills (or perhaps a little side action on those royal stills when nobody was looking). Awamori had its ups and downs since the 18th century -- not unlike American moonshine -- but modern distillers seem to understand that the success of the class is anchored in quality product.

An almost heart-wrenching section -- that is, from a drinker's point of view -- describes the utter destruction during World War II of awamori stocks that were well over 100 years old. After a bombardment by the battleship USS Mississippi annihilated the center of awamori making in Okinawa, "[S]tocks of black koji spores necessary for making awamori destroyed. After a desperate search, a straw mat with traces of koji on it was found under the rubble of one distillery and, after several failed attempts, the mold was successfully cultured." Koji (Aspergillus oryzae) is not much used in the West, but the fungus is essential for converting starches to sugars in several traditional types of Japanese fermented food and beverages.

At the time of printing, Bunting noted only 46 awamori distilleries remaining. Fortunately for the curious traveler or Japan-based drinker, he profiles a number of bars that specialize in the spirit. One of these days, I will get to Japan and I will sample awamori in situ. And Japanese whiskeys. And sake. And shochu.

Until then, I have Drinking Japan to help me plan where and what to drink when I get there.

Cheers, Mr. Bunting, for the read.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent resource and a great read 23. April 2012
Von Claire - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Overall, I found Drinking Japan to be an excellent read. While it is specifically billed as a guide to drinking establishments, it also contains a lot of great information on the history of alcohol culture in Japan. To organize things, the book is broken down into five major categories of drink (beer, sake, sochu, whisky, and wine) with additional chapters on the culture of drinking, types of drinking establishments, and a guide to buying Japanese alcohol. All of this information is well synthesized and presented in a highly attractive manner. I would definitely recommend this book.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Drink it Cover to Cover.... 16. Oktober 2011
Von Bengoshi - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Drinking Japan is a tour de force of everything in Japanese drinking. While there are great all Sake (nihonshu) guides out there, Chris Bunting vets everything to drink under the Rising Sun -- and how great it is. Not just a guide book, also a great read on the history of Japanese Sake, Shochu, beer, whisky etc. Even if you never get to Japan (poor you) it's worth a read for all that fascinating background and history.

The guide is spectacular as well. I read it on the plane back from Narita and am dying to go back to check out all the great places Bunting suggests. A bar run by a buddhist priest? Honto. An bar chiseled out of ice in Tokyo? Sugoi. I don't even drink whisky or beer much, preferring Sake and Sochu, but Bunting has wet my appetite to branch out and drink some more in the best place to drink in the world -- Japan. ''''''''''''''''''''''
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