Singapore's taste for Japanese drinks

| Mar 8, 2013

Singapore's taste for Japanese drinks

On my recent trip to Singapore, Japanese drinks seemed to follow me everywhere. At Jigger & Pony, a stylish new cocktail bar in an old part of Chinatown, the first thing I noticed was the selection of around 20 Suntory and Nikka whiskies that ...

Japan's latest wine trend is only natural

| Jan 11, 2013

Japan's latest wine trend is only natural

It’s official: Natural wines are entering mainstream consciousness in Japan. I know this not simply because sections devoted to organic, “bio” (biodynamic), or shizen-ha (natural) wines have become fixtures in many retail shops, or even because sales of natural wines have risen around the ...

Sake-making mission: the last step

| Dec 14, 2012

Sake-making mission: the last step

The thermometer inside the brewing facility at Shimazaki Shuzo registered a chilly 8 degrees. Like everyone else who had signed up to take part in the final sake-making session of the Karasuyama Taiken (www.karasuyama-taiken.jp), I was dressed for work — in a thin white ...

Where Tokyo's top chefs wine and dine

Nov 30, 2012

Where Tokyo's top chefs wine and dine

Chef Shinobu Namae rarely eats at the same restaurant twice. Like a lot of chefs, he spends most of his time in his own kitchen, overseeing lunch and dinner service at L’Effervescence, his Michelin-starred French restaurant in Tokyo’s Aoyama. When he does venture out, ...

Japanese wine: not as bad as you think

| Nov 9, 2012

Japanese wine: not as bad as you think

On the morning of Nov. 3, the line leading to the entrance of Hibiya Park snaked along the sidewalk and coiled around the corner, several meters from the gate. I was there for the Yamanashi Nouveau wine festival but had assumed that the throngs ...

Hunting for Tokyo's real bagel heads

Oct 12, 2012

Hunting for Tokyo's real bagel heads

By now, everyone has likely heard of — and been baffled by — the recent “bagel head” phenomenon. Last month, a video clip that showed three people in Tokyo undergoing a beauty treatment that involved saline injections into their foreheads went viral on the ...

It's not all about the mid-life crisis

Sep 25, 2012

It's not all about the mid-life crisis

Finding the solution to a difficult problem lies in asking the right questions. On the afternoon of Sept. 1, in a stylish office building in Aoyama, a gathering of Japanese life coaches practiced this Socratic skill in groups of four. It was a role-playing ...