From Japan to US, with love and lager

When you think of Japanese food and drink, does your mind go straight to sushi, ramen and whiskey? How about yuzu brats, fried potato dumplings and imported German beer? That's what I discovered on a recent trip to Tokyo.

September 20, 2016

 

Dear Evan,

Greetings from Japan! I can’t thank you enough for giving me two weeks off from the show to visit Tokyo. It certainly is “the new Paris,” as Jonathan wrote in the preamble to his 101 list, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that you gave me this time to do so much great eating, drinking and market research. You told me the best thing you ate in Japan was pork tonkatsu and I do not disagree. We ate delicious crispy, tender plates of it with rice and frosty Asahis outside the sumo stadium in Sumida. Then there were the slices of sashimi we bought in the basement food hall of a department store and the incredible steaming hot bowls of ramen we slurped underground at Tokyo Station. Don’t get me started on the tempura! Oof.

But you neglected to mention Oktoberfest! One day, when the typhoon rains had abated, we wandered into a pretty manicured green called Hibiya Park. In the ’80s, there were skirmishes here over trade deals. More recently, over nuclear power. However, the day we were there, we saw dozens of people using chopsticks to dip their red, white and green yuzu pork and veal brats into wholegrain mustard in between bites of sauerkraut. Young Japanese damsels in traditional Bavarian garb offered us plates of fried potato dumplings and soft twisted pretzels. Then there was the beer, massive steins of it, imported from Germany and costing just ¥1,500 for 500 milliliters. That’s less than $15 for 16.9 ounces! And they even give you your ¥1,000 back if you return the glass. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a soul in line for sake. All the while, polka was being piped in from the speakers overhead: oompah, oompah, oompah. And I thought Oktoberfest was just a European and American thing. Wonders never cease. Time to book your ticket, Evan! More soon.

Your supervising producer,
Abbie

cc: Jonathan Gold, Gary Scott

 

The company Business Frontier Conference first threw its Oktoberfest celebrations in Yokohama in 2003 before relocating to Hibiya in 2006. "It all happened when we imported some German-made tents, tables and benches for a German travel exhibition that we organize here every two years. In the process, we made friends with a German beer importer," said the company spokesperson, Noguchi-san, in an email.
The company Business Frontier Conference first threw its Oktoberfest celebrations in Yokohama in 2003 before relocating to Hibiya in 2006. “It all happened when we imported some German-made tents, tables and benches for a German travel exhibition that we organize here every two years. In the process, we made friends with a German beer importer,” said the company spokesperson, Noguchi-san, in an email.
b54i6157
In Munich, Oktoberfest is roughly 18 days of beer and brats that starts mid-September and runs until early October. Oktoberfest Hibiya is held in April and October and moves to other parts of Japan throughout the year. “Unlike Germany, we don’t have venues large enough to hold a long-term exhibition so we began to host multiple exhibitions in various locations, regardless of the time of year: Octoberfest #1, Oktoberfest #2, etc,” said Noguchi-san.
b54i6230
We tried the fried potato dumplings and green, white and red brats with whole grain mustard and tangy sauerkraut. The traditional German fare with a Japanese twist was delicious.
b54i6346
Roughly 70,000 people have attended Oktoberfest in Hibiya Park in the decade it has been running, according to the organizers, and attendance is on the rise. The massive blue-and-white striped Hippodrome tent sits at the southern end of Hibiya Park.
b54i6320
No Japanese beer is available at Oktoberfest-Hibiya, but there’s no shortage of German beer and domestic craft beer on tap that is made with German recipes.

 

Photos by Stan Lee, FCS 2016 James Beard Foundation visual storytelling award winner.

  • rivera.leona

    Get $90 /daily for working on the net from your home for couple of hr’s a day… Get regularly paid once a week… You’ll need a laptop, access to the internet, plus some leisure time… http://ow.ly/n1nP303oO1A

  • gloria.vogel

    It’s been one yr since I decided to leave my previous job and I never felt so good in my life… I started freelancing online, for a company I stumbled upon online, several hrs each day, and I earn much more than i did on my old work… My last month check was for 9000 dollars… Superb thing about this job is the more free time i got for my kids… KORTA.NU/MDe

  • lisa_johnson

    After 5 years I abandoned my office work and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started doing a job at home, for this company I found online, several hrs daily, and I profit now much more than i did on my last work… My last month paycheck was for 9000 bucks… Amazing thing about this work is the more time i got for my loved ones… SECURE47.COM

  • CC

    I am surprised that you didn’t know about the Ocktoberfest in Hibiya koen, it well known and information can be accessed Japan travel and tourism, as well as, tokyo timeout and a ton of other online info sites. There are plenty of other locations for Ocktoberfest, the one in Yokohama (aka-renga) is great too!!

  • krueger.susan

    After 5 yrs I decided to resign from my last work and I never felt so good in my life… I started to work over internet, for this company I found on-line, several hours daily, and I make much more than i did on my old job… Last pay-check i got was for 9k dollars… Amazing thing about this is that i have more free time with my kids… KORTA.NU/MDe