Category Archives: Social

Posts about social situations and their implications

The Paleo Guide to Japan: Shochu

幕張飲み屋

Oh do I miss this…

焼酎

I’ve told you before to drink clear, distilled liquor if at all possible. It has the least non-alcohol stuff in it, and thus doesn’t ruin a good time with weird party-crashers like gluten and sugar.  The best of these will have a unique flavor to enjoy, or at least learn to appreciate, like tequila, rum, scotch, bourbon, tequila etc. Well, you can include shochu (焼酎 – Japanese distilled liquor) in that group. To take things one step further, while trouble with the grains in grain-derived alcohol isn’t a problem for most, supporting monstrously unsustainable grain-production remains morally questionable to some. Alcohols like tequila, rum and shochu (where its made from more sustainable stuff) become better choices for the concerned.

朝日焼酎

Amami Oshima’s favorite ‘sun’, Asahi (literally ‘morning sun’): clear, dry flavor, made from the Amami region’s famous “black” sugar, 30% alcohol.

So shochu: it’s a low to medium strength distilled liquor that can be made from a variety of different things: barley, potatoes, sugar, rice, wheat, buckwheat, chestnuts and a few others things. It’s pervasive: just about any place you can get alcohol in Japan, you can get shochu, and it’s one of three drinks served in a traditional izakaya, along with beer and sake. It has a very distinct, unique, strong flavor; some will be thrilled by it, and some will turn up their noses at first. It seems, anecdotally (and somewhat off the subject), that it’s these strong flavors that make for the lasting psychosomatic symptoms which turn people off of tequila, rum, etc. after an… over-indulgent experience. Perhaps that’s just what I’ve heard.

Tips: the shochu I’m referring to above as having a unique, strong flavor is “Honkaku” shochu. Honkaku shochu is distilled only once, and thus retains its flavor, which varies depending on what its made from. The other kind of shochu is “Korui” shochu, which is flavorless (at least to my palate), and is used in mixed drinks. Again, I’m a fan of distilled liquors, unadulterated or on the rocks, so Honkaku is my preference. Kokuto (黒糖 – “black” sugar) or Imo (芋 – sweet potato) if you please. Still, Korui in mixed drinks is fine, and Japan offers some mixed drinks that are much healthier than anything you can find in America (shochu mixed with green or oolong tea, hot or cold!). I’m quite partial to having shochu mixed with seltzer and lemon, which is called a “nama remon sawa” (生レモンサワー) or “Japanese Norcal Margarita” (only by me, actually). One of these “sours”, made with lemon, grapefruit, yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), grapes, etc. is refreshing on a hot night, and has gotten me through many a meal at local yakitori-ya and izakaya. When you order, however, make sure that you’re getting all of the words you’re trying to say understood: “nama” (生 – raw) is the Japanese shorthand for a beer from the tap. Not the same thing.

居酒屋

Before we go on… I do not mean to disparage sake! I love sake, and it’s obviously more famous, both in Japan and abroad. It even has the best song: 酒よ. Most Americans I meet don’t even know what shochu is, but nearly everyone’s heard of sake (pronounced “saki”… unless you’d like to be understood by Japanese people, then its pronounced sake, with a “e” like “bed”). But sake isn’t distilled, so I’ve just found it harder on my system in general, and I’m not always ready for the hangover, much as I love it. For most nights, shochu quickly became, and has stayed, my preference.

imoshochu_ranking04.jpg

Imo shochu from the Kagoshima area, Shiranami (‘White Wave’) 25% alcohol

History: I will try to be as informative as I can, though I’m not much of an alcohol historian, and anyway the origins of shochu aren’t definitively understood.  We believe that shochu came to Japan from Thailand (that’s the best theory, anyway).  It is said to have made its way to the mainland through Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands, first to Kyushu, the southernmost island of the Japanese mainland. The tradition of shochu remains strong in southern Japan, especially in the Ryukyu Islands and around Kagoshima.  Chinkan, the Chinese Envoy to Shoseio, the fourth King of the Ryukyu Kingdom, wrote in his 1534 “Record of Serving in Ryukyu” about “Nanban-Shu” – Southern Barbarian Alcohol, which had come to the islands from Shamuro (Thailand), and was distilled in the same way as Kanroshu, Chinese distilled liquor.  Additionally, the first written records of shochu on the mainland come from the southern island, Kyushu. In a famous anecdote, a Portuguese tradesman who arrived in Japan in 1546 wrote about a piece of graffiti on a Shrine in which a carpenter refers to the local lord as “so stingy he wouldn’t buy you a cup of shochu.”

江戸飲み屋

Edo drankin’

I guess I’ll wrap this up here. If you’re in Japan and have a chance to imbibe, I hereby encourage you to expand your horizons to shochu. If I missed something important, don’t be afraid to comment about how much I suck.

 

Yoroshu ni,

Mori

caveman_computer

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol, Social, The Paleo Guide to Japan

“That’s not Paleo!”

This is one of my favorite topics ever! I just love hearing about how something “isn’t Paleo”; you can be assured I won’t swear my face off about this.

Yeah fucking right. It’s time to go Beastmode.

Yes, that is a thing. STFU a second.

My answer when confronted with the “cavemen didn’t eat that”/ “there’s no such thing as a ‘Paleo Diet'”/ “that’s not Paleo” sort of half-baked dumbass shit depends on which kind of idiot is saying it: do you just not have the time/ mental fortitude to read? Did you actually think that was a reasonable argument? Or are you an asshat trying to get a rise outa’ me?

In the first case, feel free to come on back when you’re willing to put in the same effort reading as you do whining. There are plenty of people, myself included, who’ve made it clear: this is not re-enacting. In the second, realize that we’re here to pass on sound health advice, not argue the details of human evolution (I’m not sure but that MIGHT have been in the disclaimer). In the third? Fine, you got your rise, now talk to the intro, douche-bag.

I’m too busy not having heart attacks and diabetes to deal with each of you, one at a time. Sorry, but fit people just have too much else to do: eat meat, lift heavy shit, be fuckable, DESTROMINATE, have sex, eat meat, be liked… among other things. We’re even good at grooming:

EPIC!

By the way, I sometimes have to hear related shit from a N00B-client or N00B-friend: “so-and-douchebag said that my hamburger wasn’t Paleo!” My response? “FUCK. THEM.” Guys, you should have known to ignore this POS when it first opened its bread-hole. Stop listening. You really need advice, Mr. /Ms. well-meaning and confused? Here you go: HTFU, or you get the WOLFSLAP.

That is all.

Mori

Leave a comment

Filed under Meta, Social

Rundown on Booze

I have contributed very very little to the Paleo world. I don’t mind it being pointed out, even in the slightest: I came late to the party, I steal stuff from dudes all over the ‘nets, I have no qualification to lend credibility to my name…

My contribution, friends, is essentially limited to asking the question that lead to Robb Wolf‘s single most famous statement about alcohol. If you don’t know it already, you should: “Drink enough to maximize your sex life without limiting performance.” Perfect, right?

Yeah, that’s us!

What we’re looking for in all of this eat-to-be-healthy stuff is balance, specifically the balance that Robb is pointing out. I want you to not damage yourself with alcohol; that said, I don’t want you to ignore the fun of life by avoiding it completely, either (if you enjoy it). Further, there are ways to enjoy alcohol that make it more fun and less… regrettable. Six simple tips to drinking:

1) Drink early, if you can. Yeah, I know, I sound like a complete lush saying this, but starting in on tipsy-time around noon, and arriving back somewhere close to sober by bed time is just about perfect, as it saves you the disrupted sleep that characterizes late-evening drinking. Bad sleep = bad. It may also save you from some poor food choices.

2) Drink distilled (clear) liquor: tequila, scotch, shochu, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey or tequila, thus avoiding the liquid calories in fermented drinks, and especially the gluten in beer.

20120802-191905.jpg

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY

3) Drinking fizzy stuff helps alcohol along to the brain (which in theory means you’ll need less). More chemistry = drunker, quicker, cheaper and with fewer consequences*. True story.

4) Added sugar = added bad. Now, if you’re not losing sleep over it then I’m not going to, but sugar in things like Mojitos, rum and cokes and my darling Margarita is an issue to be conscious of for those trying to lose weight. By the way… if you don’t want to drink, don’t fucking drink. Duh.

Related note: don’t excuse your wussy drink because it was made with a “zero calorie” sweetener. Either enjoy it, sugar and all, or don’t. “Zero calorie” just means “tastes bad and may give you cancer”. Yeah, alright fine, if you really like that diet-fruit-color-drink, go for it. Make sure it matches your purse, though.

5) Drink with lemon or lime, as they help to control blood sugar. They also taste amazing, so… you’re welcome.

6) If you can, try to finish your ‘imbibery’ with a protein and fat snack: the two, eaten before bed, help restore melatonin and human growth hormone production, improving sleep quality and recovery.

Finally, six hangover cures that may, or may not, have worked for me in the past:

1) Water.  Obviously.

2) Coffee: pretty good for headaches and “moving things along”, intestinally-speaking.

3) Eggs. Protein and fat seem to help restart the all-systems.  Actually, eggs are pretty good anytime, just ask Chris Masterjohn.

4) Cold Shower.

5) Exercise at 70% perceived intensity for 30-minutes-ish. You know, if I can.

6) Suffer.

*When I say fewer consequences, I mean fewer consequences for non-morons, that is people who don’t take drinking as an excuse to be a douche-bag or a creeper, people who don’t try to drive when drunk, etc. For the idiots of the world, you’re on your own. I’d say sorry, but I’m not.

Yoroshu ni,

Mori

20120802-191813.jpg

(picture courtesy of PVCNav)

2 Comments

Filed under Alcohol, Social