That Friday, it snowed in Tokyo. As the dancing snowflakes turned into a relentless downpour of ordinary rain, a few souls braved the elements to spend a cold February afternoon in Ueno Park. Not in the warmth of a cafe or shelter of a museum, but at an open-air festival in Takenodai Plaza.

Justifying such a reckless act likely to result in a nasty cold was the promise of sake.

The first day of Kaku-uchi Fes ​​(held between Feb. 10 and 12) wasn’t blessed with the sunshine that would grace the event the forthcoming weekend, but it nonetheless delivered live music, hearty comfort foods and a dizzying choice of drinks dominated, but by no means monopolized, by nihonshu (Japanese sake).