Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 11: Off to the motherland

Time to leave Japan and head for Seoul


Up in the air

Attention cabin crew, prepare for arrival. My first sight of land, I felt the unexpected feeling of being home

View from my seat

View from my hotel

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 10: Losing inspiration in Kobe

I had average Kobe beef in Kobe, views from a mountain, missed views from the base of another. Most importantly, I've slowly lost the will to take pictures. Sadness. Here's what I mustered.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 9: Osaka Castle

Not much to say except I visited this beautiful castle



Doing it right


bye bye

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 9: Yamazaki

Yamazaki is a small town just outside of Osaka that was the birthplace of Japanese whisky. The distillery was founded in 1923 and named after the town that still is prized for its pure spring waters and diverse climate. If you've never tried Yamazaki and you enjoy whisky you have to give it a try. There's not a lot better than the 18yr old in it's price range. When I first discovered this whisky several years ago it was $90. It now sells for over $150. And it's still worth it.

Thank you for your hard work sir

One of the giant copper stills. Unlike a lot of distilleries, Yamazaki uses different shaped stills in the various steps of the distillation process to yield a greater variety of characteristics in their alcohol.

The warehouse smelled strongly of oak and alcohol

I wish I had this collection (minus the bookends)

There are over a thousand bottles of various maturations of whisky on display here

You can also sample various whiskies at a very reasonable price


Yamazaki 25
Smoke, molasses, floral nose. Almost a coffee, or roasted barley aftertaste that is long and lingering. I think I may prefer the 18yr. Especially since this bottle costs around $1300

Hibiki 21
Toffee, caramel, melted butter, alcohol. Definitely needs time to open up. Syrupy and silky. Delicious. Better than the 17yr and the 12, but barely. At around $250 a bottle maybe I'll grab one someday

These two whiskies were part of the 5 I believe that are used to blend into the Hibiki 17yr. This is the only place you can sample all the blends of the Hibiki line. On the side is "Mother water" which is the water they use to make the whisky. I'm not going to lie, it was actually really tasty as well. They should bottle this and sell it too.

Mizunara (Japanese Oak only found in Hokkaido 52% alc)
Needs water, sweet toffee, amazingly floral. Haunting, and unique aftertaste, almost like roasted corn, the smell of young wood burning. I wish I could buy this in a bottle

White Oak (54% alc)
Dried fruits, grape, lots of alcohol. Grain/wheat finish with some bite. After adding water, I could taste some vanilla and oak as well.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 8: Osaka evening stroll

All adventures begin from our hotel subway stop. A little out of the way of all the action, but at least convenient to get to.

"The train is talking to me, I gotta go"

Anybody that has been to Japan knows this sign as a sign of awesomeness

They seem close

River at night

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 8: Osaka Aqarium

It's Day 8, and it's a humid hot mess. Time to spend time at the aquarium.

Underground passes to escape the heat and the traffic

Somebody thought long and hard where to put that ad. Well played

Fish in a small tank

Sharks in the big tank

This guy is like the battle cruiser, with the other fish being fighter planes. This is how I saw it anyways. Fish wars


Who doesn't like penguins?