Thursday, 4 December 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Arianna Huffington

Dear World,

I have just watched today's edition of The Daily Show with John Stewart (if you don't already watch this programme religiously - or at least cultishly - you really, really ought to. It's the only source of American political news I trust.) On today's edition (December the 3rd; actually yesterday thanks to the 15 hour time difference between me and New York) a lovely lady called Arianna Huffington appeared to promote her new book about blogging. She told me that the key to blogging is spontaneity and not thinking too much about what you write, so here I am, spontaneously not thinking about what I'm writing. Apparently blogging is supposed to be like an intimate conversation, without any of the intimacy (it's so convenient having someone tell me exactly how I'm supposed to act and think - it was getting confusing having to work it out on my own.) So I'm going to try a semi-spontaneous off-the-cuff post, currently having little idea what the actual content of this is going to be.

Because that, apparently, is blogging.

Also, spontaneous stream-of-consciousness blogging rather precludes self-censorship, so if anything unsavoury comes up: sorry, parents.

I have recently been amused by the merry spin Japan puts on alcoholism. Firstly, alcohol is advertised widely, proudly and without 'drink responsibly' tags attached to all the ads. As far as I can tell there are no real regulations to alcohol advertising, and on my way to school I pass many 30-foot-wide billboards extolling the virtues of Japan's many fine beers. Which can, when I am trying not to drink (a frequent struggle) be more than slightly troublesome, although I have to say I feel it more keenly on my way home from school in the evening than on my way to school at 8.30 in the morning (I'm not THAT bad... yet...)

Secondly, there are the wonderful, uplifting messages printed on Japanese beer cans which make the whole idea of getting drunk seems so much more appealing. Asahi Clear have clearly paid someone who can actually speak English to write theirs:
Clear Asahi is brewed with select barley malt, hops and grains by using our pure cultured yeast. Its unique brewing process creates a distinctively bold, clear and smooth taste.

Now that sounds pretty damn tempting, and not at all retarded.

Kirin, thankfully, has no such compunction about asking a genuine English speaker to tell them whether their beer slogans sound retarded or not.
Kirin Tanrei:
Sheer refreshment! Open up the good taste that goes perfectly with good times.
Kirin Green Label:
Green label brings you a comfortable time. The refreshing taste cheers your mind.
Kirin Nodogoshi Nama (their cheapest beer-flavoured brew):
Kirin's brewing technology elaborates the Nodogoshi!
And my personal favourite, on Kirin Strong Seven (that's their tramp-flavoured 7% ABV beer-flavoured beverage):
This hard and clear taste brings you the great feeling. (No messing. No apologies. Hard. Clear. By 'great feeling' I presume they mean 'numb to the outside world')

I honestly didn't think anyone could make super lager sound appealing, but somehow these tricksy Japs have achieved it (nom nom nom).

To continue my discussion of how GOD DAMNED CRAZY these people are, allow me to tell you of the fabulous drink known as 'a Hoppy'.

No doubt you are all familiar with the concept of an alcohol-free beer. They are those mysteriously overpriced, sad-looking bottles of misery that live in the fridges of many nightclubs and are never bought by anyone. They are the social outcasts of the beverages world. Even amongst the alcohol-free clique of drinks, they are shunned. I mean, J2O may be alcohol-free, but compared to low-alcohol lager it's the coolest girl at the party. To offer a badly-thought-out American-high-school analogy, J2O is known to be a geek and a loser, but someone caught low-alcohol lager masturbating in the school toilets 2 years ago, and no-one has spoken to him since. That's how low low-alcohol lager is in the grand hierarchy of drinks.

And yet in Japan there is an alcohol-free beer known as 'Hoppy' which is widely popular. Many bars hang banners outside their premises advertising that they sell Hoppy. Let me tell you now that Japan is not a nation of teetotallers. Their drinking culture differs from ours in many significant ways, but no one could accuse the Japs of not liking a wee drink or two every now and then/every night of the week.

You see, the thing is, 'Hoppy' is an alcohol-free beer, but 'a Hoppy' from a bar is something rather different.

'A Hoppy' (I shit you not) is a chilled bottle of Hoppy alcohol-free beer, served in a chilled glass tankard, with a large chilled measure of Shochu (liquor) stirred into it. Shochu is Japan's rough liquor - it is diatilled from grain or potatoes and fills the role of Vodka in Japanese society. It's only 25%(ish) but has no significant flavouor and is cheap as dirt.

So basically, what I'm getting at is: alcohol-free beer + alcohol = commercial success in Japan.


B... Wha...?

Utterly baffling. What can I say.

Right - school tomorrow, so I shall start signing off.

I shall firstly bring to all of your attentions the 'Get Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" to be Christmas number one!' campaign, which is a serious issue in which I believe very strongly. I urge all of you who read to this join the Facebook group, invite all of your Facebook friends to join the group, and then to actually buy the single (wait until after December 15th otherwise it won't count for Christmas no. 1).

Honestly, I adore this song more than almost any other and I would be utterly beside myself with joy if it were Christmas number 1 this year. I'm not sure if they're actually re-releasing it as a single, but the charts include download sales these days, so if everyone just downloads it from iTunes then it could make it.

Come on people: we can do this!!!

Also, if anyone wants christmas prezzies please give me a shout what Jappy stuff you fancy - if it's cheap enough you might just get your wish! (seriously, this country is DAMN expensive and I'm running out of cash fast, so keep 'em small if you want any chance of getting your wish.)

So there you are. That's it. All that remains is to say that I wrote this post while drunk with absolutely no forethought, and I feel it's possibly one of my better ones, so please COMMENT and give me feedback about how you feel about it.


wait a minute...

I've forgotten what I was about to write,

but don't worry,

it'll come back to me in a moment, I'm sure...



Oh yeah, I remember!

Don't stop believing,
Hold on to that feeeling,
Streetlights, people,
Ah a-ah a-ah a-ah

Love, love, love,
Wood, wood, wood,
X, x, x

PS. Journey at number 1 would be the best Christmas present ever. Don't forget it.

PPS. I'll try to do a more 'newsy' post soon, to let you all know what I'm actually doing with myself. a bit. if any of you actually cares *sob sob*


hegforshort said...

Good post wood... shall i buy you 10 copies of Journey for your crimbo present?

Im sure there is slogan in your labels for that post: ARIANNA BEER, DON'T STOP BELIEVING!

Or a band name:

Anyway.. ive just handed in my last essay so I'm pigging out n gorging myself on the internets.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

i will be buying 'don't stop believing' in a week or two's time, and encouraging everyone else to do the same. i think i'll get mike to send out a mass post to everyone in the club pony group. i reckon he'll be up for it.

don't worry, i'm not after a christmas present.

now i am off to leeds for the evening, to see some disco and see if any bars will sell me a caliber with a shot of vodkat in it. sounds like a tasty beverage.

see you soon for similar ill-advised drinkng experiments.


Up said...

kaliber? and vodka? boom. that is the world's best thing. your stream of consciousness blog adventures make me giggle in my warm soft belly pouch...