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Issue 29 - A real Japa-knees up

Whisky Magazine Issue 29
March 2003


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A real Japa-knees up

Tequila, Italian death drinks, replica pubs and bad country and western …Dave Broom discovers the surreal side of Japan

Do you eat many potatoes in Scotlando?” As a conversation opener it was up there with the very best. The fact that it came from a geiko who had just christened me Antonio and was now ordering a round of tequilas just elevated everything to new surreal heights. To cap it all, the soundtrack to this unlikely scenario was being provided by Sidney Devine, indisputably Scotland's worst ever country and western singer.

But, even though this was only my second ever night in Japan, I was beginning to realise that in this country the absurd is never far away. The tequila, I hasten to add, was her idea not mine, though I could be partly to blame for the escalation into total weirdness.

I'd been quite happily drinking Bowmore until I spotted a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it, which turned out to be an Italian liqueur of such fearsome strength that it sends your liver to Hades and your mind to another planet.

I'd made her try it, so the tequila was her revenge. Even then, another Japanese myth had been exploded. I mean, geikos aren't meant to drink tequila, are they? And surely they're not meant to hit you either? Even in a playful manner. Maybe it was a sign of affection.

“Is all of Japan like this?” I asked the publishing director. He nodded, and quickly asked for Sidney Devine to be taken off as he could see I was about to do an impromptu Glaswegian karaoke when Sid started murdering Your Cheatin'Heart.

Whisky eh? Strange stuff. Does odd things to people. Breaks d...

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