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Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments Paperback – April 10, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Vinyl Bound Paperback edition (April 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4805310545
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805310540
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ultimate guide to drinking in Japan." The Japan Times

"From sampling traditional awamori on Okinawa to roaming the legendary Susukino district in Sapporo, Drinking Japan is filled with a staggering amount of information ... (&) incredibly complete histories." Metropolis magazine

"There are many things to love about Japan, but its exceptional bars and drinking culture are among the things at the top of my list. Anyone with the same yen (heh) for Tokyo-and-beyond bars should check out "Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments." Written by Chris Bunting after a year and a half of research (i.e., drinking his way across Japan) and published by Tuttle in April, the book combines a guide to Japanese spirits with reviews of the bars devoted to them." Los Angeles Times

"It is in Bunting's travelogue approach wherein we find Drinking Japan‘s greatest strengths. We journey with him from one bar to another, listening in on conversations with bartenders who proudly report on the provenance and aging of their prized liquors. We vicariously drink through Japan while nestled comfortably on a couch at home. Bunting does a fantastic job of putting each bar in context." LA Weekly

"An excellent guide for anyone interested in a drink." Japan Visitor


From the Author

Drinking Japan is written as a practical guide, but I hope it is also a fun read. There are loads of anecdotes covering all sorts of high-jinks through Japanese drinking history and lots of detail on the fascinating people who make the contemporary Japanese alcohol scene so special. The book is richly illustrated, and offers Japanese language support aimed at helping people who do not speak much Japanese to experience this fascinating drinking culture.

Please check out the video on my author page.

- Chris Bunting

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By brian on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 2:17 Mins
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sean Miyaguchi on May 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thoroughly researched and attractively presented, Drinking Japan provides enough insights into the country's unique bar culture and beverages to establish it as a valuable reference both for newcomers and those more acquainted with the delights of Japanese liquor.
Delving into the history and traditions of the country's various brewed, distilled and fermented beverages, author Chris Bunting also highlights more than 120 standout examples from among Japan's countless superb licensed establishments.
Each chapter focuses on a major drink category - such as whisky, sake, shochu and Okinawan awamori - while listing bars specializing in it, complete with maps and directions from the nearest train stations. (Particularly useful in a country where rail is the primary mode of transport in major cities, and for readers who will likely be in no state to drive if putting the book to good use.)
Bar listings are conveniently arranged by location in the book's front inside cover, while listed alphabetically at the back. The majority of the featured bars are in and around Tokyo, however, there are several write-ups for bars in other areas popular with visitors such as Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima.
For visitors with little or no Japanese language ability, a section on useful words and phrases should make the Japanese bar experience much easier to navigate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew B. Rowley on April 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
From Rowley's Whiskey Forge:

Living in California where sushi joints are as common as coffee shops and devoting no small portion of my life to the study of distilling and drinking, I have some familiarity with Japanese whisky, shochu, and sake -- but only as an American understands these things. That is, I drink what I can get in the United States. Consequently, the breadth and depth of drinking choices in Japan itself has been a matter of trawling for hearsay, quizzing bartenders and distillers who have visited Japan, and reading.

For the last several months I have been trying to remedy that with a crash course in Japanese spirits and cookery.

One of the most useful books on drinking alcohol in modern Japan to come across my desk is, appropriately enough, Drinking Japan by Tokyo-based journalist Chris Bunting. Subtitled A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments, Bunting's book is something of a revelation.

As with all guidebooks, some of its information -- hours, addresses, or staff, for instance -- is bound to be obsolete by the time it lands in your hands. Accept it and move on. The rest is a meaty mix of history; tips to avoid cultural misunderstandings (that extra charge on your bill isn't sneaky thievery -- it's there on purpose and everyone at the bar but you understands this); suggestions for dealing with unfamiliar drinking environments; warnings on harsh penalties lashed out to drunk drivers (and passengers of drunk drivers); pronunciation guides; detailed guides and maps to bars, distilleries, and liquor stores; and profiles of Japan's noteworthy alcoholists.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oron Lerner on June 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I dont know how up-to-date the book is.
The history reviews are excellent, filled with unique and colorful details as to the history of drinking culture in Japan, which makes for fascinating reading.
The book then divides a variety of bars in Japan according to their specialties - more often these bars wouldnt be easy to find by a stranger and Ive had several people claim to have been right at the bars' doors and didnt know they had stood right next to an excellent bar, and so missed the opportunity to enter. The division of topics however is a little limited - Sake bars, Shochu bars, awamori. Then whiskies, wines, beers and etc...
As much as selection is an impressive bar quality, there is more to a bar than just a huge selection of brands to choose from and those unique bars with special locales, techniques, bartenders, experties and other unique qualities do not get enough mention in this book, that eventually seems to review the brand-selection in Japan rather than the bars in Japan.
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More About the Author

Chris Bunting is a Tokyo-based journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including the London Times and the Independent. He currently works for a leading Japanese daily newspaper. He is a regular in bars in Tokyo's Shimbashi, Shibuya, Ebisu and Shinjuku drinking districts.

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