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After six months of COVID-19 restrictions banning alcohol sales at bars and restaurants in many parts of the country, Japan has lifted the nationwide state of emergency. On Oct. 1, bars and restaurants  in the capital that elected to remain shut during the state of emergency threw back open their doors for the first time since April, and Tokyoites toasted the return of wine with dinner.

Having endured a slew of unsatisfying tea- and mocktail-pairing experiences this year, the news has put me in a celebratory mood. Naturally, such an occasion calls for Champagne. There’s something about the effervescence of its bubbles — the way the golden liquid shimmers in the light — that is inherently mood-lifting.

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