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Issue 41 - Whiskyateasewithitself(Yamazaki)

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004

 

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Whiskyateasewithitself(Yamazaki)

AtYamazakithedistilleryandchurchstandnexttoeachotherinharmony.DaveBroomwitnesseswhiskymakingatitsnoblest

Jet-lagdoesweirdthingstothebrain,makesitseemasifyouareexistinginsomedreamstate.

Thoughyou'rescreamingwithtiredness,you'rewideawake.Themindissubtlydislocatedfromreality,makingitseemasthoughyouhaveslippedintoafamiliarbuttotallyalienworld.

IfeltlikeacharacterinanovelbyMurakami.Ahalf-rememberedmoviewasscreeninginmymind:aflightdissolvingintoabullettrain,aglimpseofFuji,sushi,lifts,beer,sittingcross-leggedinanoldKyotoinn,sake,astag'shead,whisky,antimacassars,samuraistreets,ahotelwhichthemorninglightshowstobestraddlingastation.

Afterbreakfastwegoagainsttherushhourtrafficandintothecountry,emergingataquietlocalstation.Westarttowalkalongtheold,narrowroadwhichweavesitswayfromHiroshimatoOsaka.

There'sbirdsong,awarmthintheautumnsun.Someoneiscleaningthestepsofasmallshrine.Tinygardensandgableswhicharclikedragontails,droopingtelephonewiresandshutteredinns.

Theroadbendsbacktotherailwaylineandbehindtheparkaoftrainspottersontheothersideahuge,functional,brownbrickbuilding.

It'sthesamesizeandshapeasanofficeblockwithodd-lookingpyramidsjuttingoutoftheroofgivingitthelookofastrange,stylisedfrog.

Theslightlybrutalexteriorissoftenedbycarefullytendedandbeautifullyplantedgardens,throughwhichapathleadseithertothebuildingortothetemplewhichlies,half-hidden,indeepwoods.Waterbubblesoverstone.ThisisYamazaki.

Myguide,Suntory'sDr.MasaharuMinabe[akaMas]tellsmehowthisisanauspicioussite,ameetingplaceofthreetributariesoftheYodo:Kizu,Uji,Katsura.Aholyplace,agoodplacetobuildastill.

“Inmycountry,”Ipointout,...

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