Saturday, 1 September 2007

Bikers, Beer and Bears

When I say I live in Sapporo, I really mean that I live in Asabu. Sapporo is the city, like Birmingham, Asabu is the Suburb, like Moseley. Asabu is at the end of one of the subway lines, but really it only takes about fifteen minutes to get back into town. It's not that far out.

But late at night we have biker gangs tearing through the streets of Asabu causing... perhaps a little havoc? I'm not sure. I saw a couple of young hoods riding motorbikes one night while I was walking along with Tara. She described them as wannabe yakuza and was particularly scornful. They were pretty awesome in a pathetic way. Anyway I presume they were part of this big biker gang that you can hear at night, and whose main weapon is driving incredibly slowly while revving their steroid pumped engines as hard as possible. I live near the main road and it sounds, I have to admit, pretty awesome. It's only once a week, but they put on a hell of an aural display. They woke me up one night and I thought for a second that one of them had snuck his "hog" through my window and fired it up right by my head. Seriously, it can't be good for their engines, but I guess it's a hobby. I'm going to try and record it so that I can share the power, the majesty of loud Japanese motorcycles with all of you.

Tara's boyfriend Fred is here to stay for a while, and since she works on Saturday and I don't, he and I headed down to the Sapporo Beer museum (not the shopping mall this time) to be educated in the ways of beer. Like I've said, I think Sapporo is a fine, fine beer, and Fred is a healthy, broad shouldered American who likes beer so it was a pretty easy choice to make.

The museum is free too look around, you just pay to drink the beer at the end, and frankly you don't pay very much. It also tastes fantastic there, crisp and fresh, indeed as if it had just been brewed. The musem isn't very big, but the whole area is full of nice old red brick buildings, and it was fun inside for what it was so I'd say it's definitely worth a visit. If you like beer.

Probably the most surreal thing inside was the tiny Willy Wonka-esque diorama of the brewing process. It was acted out by tiny, white, cone-monkey people and each step was encased in a large perspex tank to stop people from touching it. Now I'm not a qualified brew-master, but I don't think it was all that historically accurate seeing as it started with an old man living on a cloud at the top of a beanstalk, involved a river of beer (that flowed up hill at one point) and finished with the old man basking on the fluffy head of a giant mug of glowing Sapporo. Or maybe that's how they used to do it in the olden days?

The last scene from the ridiculous Sapporo museum brewing story. "I'm the king of beer!"
More bears! These ones guard a jewelery shop in Tanuki Kouji. Grrr!

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