How do you get your drink on for only 300 Yen? Easy, hit up the shochu fair at the Yahoo! Dome here in Fukuoka! We went to the shochu fair the other Saturday (Feb 9th) and it was pretty sweet. This was our first visit to Yahoo! Dome (home of the Softbank Hawks), here’s a picture of my fiancee, Mai, at the top of the stairs.
First of all, what is shochu? It’s a distilled drink and I’ve seen 20%, 25%, and 40% strength with most of them being 20-25%. There are over 20 varieties and the most popular main ingredients are potato, rice, or barley. How does it taste? I’d say it tastes similar to sake but less fruity, it has a bite, and the 40% tastes like whiskey. If I were to create shochu from existing drinks I’d take sake, remove the fruity flavor and smoothness, then I’d take Gin and remove the pine tree flavor, and mix them. If you want to know more, here’s a wikipedia link. Shochu ranges in price and you can get a good brand for 900 Yen or up. If you missed missed my liquor price check post, check out my alcohol prices in Japan.
All, or almost all, of the Kyushu Island shochu distilleries were present at this fair. It was 300 Yen in advance, 500 at the door, and you got sample as many different types of shochu and plum wine as you wanted. Each taste is about one shot or half of a shot so you definitely had to pace yourself and luckily it appeared that everybody was doing just that. Also they made you get a bracelet showing that you’re not driving home before you started your shochu adventure. The guys handing out the 40% shochu were giving me about 1-2 shots worth every time! I ask for a little, then that’s 1 shot, it was crazy.
POTATOES HOOOOOOOO! That’s right, rollin VIP in the JP yo. We visited one of the booths from Kagoshima to enjoy a tasty sample of their sweet potato shochu. The people at the booth and Mai got to talking about Kagoshima and their shochu. The company is one Mai’s friends favorites back in the U.S. so we bought two small bottles for 500 yen as a gift which were connected nicely in twine. As an added bonus they gave us a big bag of sweet potatoes to go along with it! How awesome is that? Word on the street is that Kagoshima is famous for sweet potatoes. I have yet to eat a sweet potato while drinking shochu made from potatoes, but it’s on my list of things to do. The second part of our VIP status happened when we were at a booth who insisted on giving me a double shot of the strong whiskey type of shochu which was 45%. And then they gave us two small bottles for free. That was surprising and very cool of them. He kept saying “It’s good, it’s good!” and I kept thinking “It tastes like ass! It tastes like ass!” but I got to enjoy some last week and he’s right, it’s good. *Note: Sweet potato shochu is not sweet.
Here are more pictures from the shochu fair. First I want to start with my favorite ones. The first one is Mai puring some shochu from a barrel
Fans of MXC will appreciate this one! Hideo Higashikokubaru is now governor of Miyazaki Prefecture.
Here’s a tasty snack. It tastes ok.
Huge Mario and other games for the kids.
And now here are the rest of the pictures I took. After the Yahoo! Dome we headed over to Hawks’ Town and I’ll post about that in the next few days.