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Issue 76 - Strange but true

Whisky Magazine Issue 76
November 2008


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Strange but true

Dave discovers a little piece of England in a corner of Japan.

The cloak was the clincher. It's strange enough arriving at a fantasy recreation of an England which never existed: Ye Shoppe, “where the staff always say Hello!'', half-timbered barns, Narniastyle lamp posts and Ye Pubbe. To find it on a mountain top in Japan is even stranger, but to discover that you are expected to wear a black cloak just elevates the whole experience into the realms of the surreal. This was no longer just a weird simulacra of England but a faithful recreation of Hogwarts.

It must be said at this point, that by the end of my stay I had become quite taken with the cloak and had begun wondering why such a practical (and striking) item of clothing was not more widely sported back home.

The notion of British Hills as this resort and English school is named, remained in the realms of fantasy. It was a Japanese love poem to an England which never existed, built with English stone and timber, its libraries repositories of the finest leather-bound examples of the language.

You cannot fault the intention, or the dedication it took to create Hogwarts in Honshu but it could never be accurate, reality had been replaced with a series of ciphers.

Anyway, fully cloaked, we repaired to Ye Pubbe. We tried to increase the barmaid's knowledge of pub talk by contributing such handy phrases as: “You looking at me, pal?” “Fancy a trip outside?” “Where's the puggie?” She smiled, further evidence this was in no way a recreation of a real England, laughed and pou...

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