Whisky Magazine Issue 46
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Tokyo you expect the unexpected - most of the time
Scene: A shopping mall somewhere in Tokyo. Time: Night. The stores are filled with gangs of Japanese teenagers. Each store is playing a different soundtrack. Neon, eye-aching bright lights, the highpitched bleeping of multiple texting.
In to this walks the cream of Scottish distilling, a 20- strong party of whisky-makers, blenders and marketing wonks on their way to dinner.
Thumbs pause above keypads, conversation stops, all eyes turn and watch as the noble group are led up an escalator. At the top their leader, a veritable giant, says something in English. The entire group turns around and promptly descends.
“The Grand Old Duke of York,” says one teenager, top of her class in English studies. Her friends all giggle behind their hands.
The group now crocodiles itself to the lifts, each of which can only hold about eight people. Three loads later the group is reassembled on a small landing on the sixth floor of the mall's multi-storey carpark.
“I'm sure the restaurant's around here somewhere,” says the leader looking behind the ticket machine. “It's not out here!” shouts one helpful member of the party who has made a foray around the cars and found... lots of cars. The lift doors open and a large bunch of Japanese shoppers are deposited on the landing. There is considerable confusion.
“Let's try the stairs!” shouts the leader and the entire group files downwards, finally arriving outside the restaurant door via the service entrance. A good night ensues. I...