Spring has arrived! Not only does it mean the end of bone-chilling weather and the start of beautiful flowers blooming, but for most of Japan it means the following:
It’s officially warm enough to get drunk and eat street food outside all day long.
Think about it for a minute. When it was cold, were you able to do this? I mean, sure, there were the New Year’s festivities, where you could get drunk and eat inside. But spring is when you could do all that and more outside, immersed in a sea of people walking their small dogs with little dog hoodies and little dog backpacks and so on*.
We were invited by Roy’s coworker to join him and some friends to go to the Tokyo Beernista 2015, which ran alongside an Earth Day event that promoted organic and fair trade food and clothing. There’s a point in there somewhere about massive consumption of alcohol mixed with groups of hippies, but I am just a humble observer.
The Beernista event took place in Yoyogi Park, which is a massive outdoor space the likes of which I have never seen. We took some time to take in the trees before we set our sights on getting some beer.
Once we set up tent with our paper-thin ¥100 tarp (we classy), we bee-lined it for the Hitachino Nest booth. We couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try it on tap since Roy was such a big fan back in the States. I got the White Ale, and Roy ordered…the White Ale. (I don’t think he understood how this was supposed to work.)
After another beer from a Minoh sampler pack, we decided we had numbed ourselves just enough to brave the crowds to get some food.
I got a spinach nikuman (meat bun) for ¥350 and Roy got a miso-yaki don for about ¥700 if I remember right. The steamed bun part of the nikuman tasted like it was mixed with some ~healthy~ ingredients, but I couldn’t pin point what exactly. It’s like when you eat pasta and then realize it was made out of whole wheat. But I love health foods so it was good find for me.
Can you believe this is street food?
Hair’s a mess, but hey! Awkward selfies forever. This was from the Minoh sampler pack. Included was the kozaru** IPA, pilsner, white ale, and lager.
By the way, do you know what happens when you’re at a beer festival that’s getting ready to wrap up?
- Men in uniforms walk around with megaphones and tell you to pack your shit up.
- Some other men in suits with latex gloves will come by and pick up empty cups but conveniently ignore the ones that have a centimeter of liquid left in it.
- When you pack up your stuff and have garbage to throw out, said men in uniforms will tell you that you have to bring the garbage home despite holding large plastic bags clearly meant for waste disposal.
Thankfully we found some giant garbage receptacles at an Earth Day booth, but it’s always nerve wracking trying to find places to throw stuff away while you’re walking around. Public trash cans are a rare sight since the sarin gas attack.
In any case the Tokyo Beernista was a lot of fun despite not really getting to try a lot of beers. It was the first time we got to really see the sakura trees in action this year, so it was still quite memorable.
* Strollers. Little dog strollers.
**Kozaru means baby monkey!!!