All posts by blogsonjapan

Japan’s favourite tramp juice

Tramp juice, a slang term for high-strength canned drinks, including the granddaddy of them all, Carlsberg’s Special Brew, loved by homeless alcoholics, have not got the same bad rap in Japan, but are actually the fastest-growing sector of the market, so this ranking from goo Ranking looks at the tastiest strong (7% or more) canned chu-hi (spirits (or other alcohol) and soda ready-mixed).

Note that many of the names have words in uppercase, particularly STRONG and ZERO; the Japanese often had random English in product names, and it seems the rules for chu-hi state they must be in capitals! Men’s Plums sounds worse than it actually is; plum wine is a sweet drink marketed at women, but this chu-hi uses pickled plum imagery in the design for a more “masculine” appeal.

Here’s a little song about the foreigners’ favourite, Strong Zero:

Ranking result

Rank ABV Votes
1 Hyoketsu Strong 9% 126
2 -196°C Strong Zero 9% 69
3 Kirin The Strong 9% 50
4 Mogitate (freshly picked) 9% 47
5 Hyoketsu ZERO SEVEN 7% 36
6 Hyoketsu Mix Sparkling Wakankitsu (Japanese citrus fruits) Mix 7% 34
7 Kaku Highball Can 7% 32
8 Kodawari Sakeba (fussy bar) Lemon Sour 7% 30
9 Takara Can Chu-hi 8-9% 27
10 Hyoketsu Delicious Pinot Noir 8% 26
11 Chu-hi Bitters Kawagoto Shibori 9% 19
11 Tori’s Highball Can 7% 19
13 Sapporo Chu-hi 99.99 clear 9% 18
14 Tori’s Highball Can Stronger! 9% 17
15 Chu-hi Hailiki Lemon 7% 14
15 Sapporo Man’s Plums Highball 7% 14
17 Wilkinson Hard Nine 9% 13
17 Takara “Shochu Highball” 7-9% 13
17 Sapporo Kire-to Lemon Sour 5-9% 13
20 Takara “Gokujo Lemon Sour” 5-7% 12
20 High Sour Can. (Lemon Chuhi / 7%) 7% 12
22 Seven Premium Strong Chu-Hi 9% 11
22 Suntory -196°C Cider Punch 8% 11
24 Wilkinson Dry Seven 7% 10
25 Sapporo Super Men’s Plums Sour 9% 9
26 Suntory -196°C Black Punch 8% 8
26 Strong Chu-hi Time Zero 9% 8
26 Karaguchi (Dry) Men’s Plums Sour 9% 8
29 Seven Premium Super Strong Chu-hi 12% 7
29 Clear Cooler STRONG 9% 7
31 Seven Premium Clear Cooler STRONG 9% 6
31 Takara “Barrel-scented Shochu Highball” 7-9% 6
33 Tomorrow’s Shochu Sour 7% 5
33 Seven Premium Clear Cooler Torokeru (Melting) Lemon Sour 8% 5
35 Minasama no Osumizuki (Endorsed by Everyone’s) Chu-hi Strong 9% 4
36 Minasama no Osumizuki (Endorsed by Everyone’s) Highball with 3 Years Matured Scotch 9% 3
38 Sapporo Rirakusu (relax) 8% 2
39 Other 208


Between the 27th of July and the 10th of August 2019 962 visitors to the …continue reading


What Mr Trump needs to hear from Mr Morrison

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison chats with US President Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan on 29 June 2019 (Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS)

Author: James Curran, Sydney University

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s state visit to Washington later this week is a rare honour — the first for an Australian leader since John Howard in 2006 and only the second, behind French President Emmanuel Macron, granted by this administration. That is a mark of Morrison’s early success in connecting with Mr Trump, a leader not normally known for his acoustic sensibility to close allies.

The visit will undoubtedly give a symbolic flourish to the recent description by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the US–Australia alliance as ‘unbreakable’. But the Prime Minister’s visit comes at a poignant time for his government’s management of Australian foreign policy. The truism that Canberra can maintain its delicate traversal of the diplomatic tightrope between Washington and Beijing is under genuine test.

One view is that Trump will demand a heavy price for the pageantry by demanding Australia choose America over China. That might be the kind of grandstanding that some equate with Trump, but it is unlikely. In any case, Pompeo’s recent remarks in Sydney — both on the manner of China’s rise and where Australia’s priorities ought to lie — have already done Trump’s dirty work. By raising the possible pre-positioning of US missiles on Australian soil, Pompeo lobbed a rather large stone indelicately into the Australian pond.

For Trump, it will probably suffice that Morrison has expressed sympathy for what the United States is trying to correct in its trade war with China, on holding China to account for how it operates within the international trading system, albeit in language that has little resonance in East Asia and undermines Australian and Asian interests in defence of the global trade rules against Trump’s own assault on them.

Just how much Washington has taken note of the different language Morrison uses on …continue reading


Japan’s deepening diplomatic crisis with South Korea

South Korean women take a selfie with signs that read 'No Abe' during an anti-Japan rally near the Japanese embassy in Seoul, South Korea, 3 August 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji).

Author: Lauren Richardson, ANU

Japan’s relationship with South Korea is not amicable at the best of times. Yet in recent months it has entered a rapidly descending diplomatic spiral of unprecedented depth and scope. Mounting bilateral friction over the intractable ‘history problems’ is steadily bleeding into the economic and security realms of the relationship. The result is a bilateral trade war with potential repercussions for the global supply chain of high-tech devices.

On the surface, it appears that a series of contentious developments in their longstanding history problems drove Tokyo and Seoul to this crisis point. South Korean President Moon Jae-in reneged on a diplomatic accord in 2018 that was purported to ‘irreversibly’ settle the ‘comfort women’ issue. The South Korean judiciary is also growing increasingly incessant in demanding Japanese companies pay damages to the Koreans mobilised for wartime labour.

These bilateral developments are doubtlessly playing a central role in the deterioration of Tokyo–Seoul relations. Yet there are broader strategic parameters to this dispute that have also shaped the contours of diplomatic friction, and these are largely being overlooked.

In short, there has been a major divergence in Seoul and Tokyo’s strategic views toward North Korea. This began to develop in January 2018 when Seoul embarked on a rapprochement with Pyongyang, while Tokyo’s policy on North Korea remained fundamentally unchanged. This strategic divergence, which has continued to deepen with time, undermined the ability of Japan and South Korea to cooperate in the security realm. By extension, it also reduced their diplomatic incentives to manage their history problems.

North Korea’s belligerence throughout 2017 encouraged Seoul and Tokyo to contain their diplomatic problems. As North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rapidly advanced his nuclear program, his missiles were frequently traversing Japanese airspace. Continental United States also came under threat with Kim’s successful launch of an inter-continental ballistic …continue reading


Tokyo Events This Week: Flower Festivals, Sumo and Fiesta Mexicana

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

Tokyo events for Monday, September 16 to Sunday, September 22, 2019
It’s a good week to connect with nature at these autumn flower festivals, check out the Grand Sumo tournament or check out some cultural festivals, like Fiesta Mexicana or the Nezu Shrine Festival.
Tokyo National Museum – Free Admission Day
Free admission days at Tokyo National Museum come around only twice a year. This Monday is one of those days! See hundreds of artworks in fields of painting, calligraphy, sculpture and archaeology.

Tokyo National Museum – Free Admission DayDates:16th Sep, 2019
Read more

Tokyo English Book Exchange #14
Meet up with fellow bibliophiles for Tokyo Cheapo’s 14th English

The post Tokyo Events This Week: Flower Festivals, Sumo and Fiesta Mexicana appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

…continue reading


Shiretoko Peninsula Photos

Volcanoes, cliffs, and sea caves at “the end of the earth”

Photos of the peninsula at the extreme edge of Hokkaido which divides the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean.

Shiretokyo Peninsula; Hokkaido, Japan

Some judicious processing of these #Photos emphasizes the “end of the earth” fuinke, or atmosphere, of this remote corner of Japan.


…continue reading