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Tuesday, October 9

Oktoberfest-ivities in Yokohama

Who can say no to hops and foam? Certainly not I. When some friends mentioned that there was an Oktoberfest in Yokohama this past weekend, I immediately went into fret mode on how to get my midterms done and still have the time to go get my drink on. As the afternoon slipped away on Saturday, and I came to the answer my last essay question, my well-involved answers slipped away with the lowering sun as I rushed to finish. As a friend diagnosed, I have serious senioritis. I just couldn’t care less how good that last answer was in the face of the festivities that lie dead ahead.

We were on the train by 4 and at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama by 5, where taps flowed freely with German goodness. Of course, attending an Oktoberfest in Japan is not quite the same as anywhere else. And why should it be? I have come to enjoy the idiosyncrasies of the culture here. In other instances, the manipulation of American holidays is enough to give me a genial laugh, but this was the first instance that I got to see another culture twist into a Japanese amalgamation.

Like any good Oktoberfest, there was music! Okay, the first group was a Japanese gospel group of which we stood there and tried to figure out if they were singing in Japanese, German or English. Only by moving to the front of the stage did we determine that it was Engrish (the union of the Japanese and English languages… and not always so good… but the effort is appreciated). Of course, the language wasn’t the only thing that threw us off with this group. Shouldn’t there be German singers? Or at least German singing?

Not to disappoint our Fest experience, the second group was indeed those drunken stomping Germans. I tried to take a picture of this, but honestly I was having my own sobriety issues and couldn’t hold the camera too straight at this point. Perhaps it was the chorus line that I joined to dance around the room, clanking glasses and gulping down mouthfuls with every other step, that caused my pictures to suffer the shambles.

Besides beer, music and dancing, there was also sausage! One cannot leave out the sausage when there is a hearty hefeweizen in hand! Of course, one also cannot tell you if that sausage was a form of brat or what. They were quite good, although small in stature for the typically substantial German sausage. There was sauerkraut on the side. Please do not get me wrong… I love Japan and the food here… but these people no nothing of a good sauerkraut. Bland, bland, bland. I actually had to make pork and sauerkraut at home the very next day, just to remove the tasteless from my memory. But the intention was good.

All the components of a good Oktoberfest were represented… with that Japanese spin that has made my experience here so much more. After stopping for late night munchies (the sausages totally didn’t cut it), we made the very last train home. By the next day, we would all be given a firm reminder of why we don’t drink the good stuff too often.


Anonymous said...

Exactly how long does it take to go to Yokohama from Zushi by fast train and by slow train?

Are there a lot of foreigners living in Zushi?

Does Zushi have a lot of hills? up and down?


Kimono Karen said...

From train to Yokohama, the time is about the same... around 20-30 minutes, depending on how far into Yokohama you are headed.

There are a few foreigners in Zushi, but not many. There is one other family I know living in my general vicinity. It's mostly Japanese though, which is what I like about it.

Zushi is also a mix of hills and flat. To get to my house from either train station (downtown Zushi), you don't walk a single hill. However, there are quite a few areas that have some intense hills. We have friends that live on the other side. It is a walkable distance to the JR train station, but they always take a cab home because the hill is just too atrocious to walk back up. Like all of Japan, Zushi has a fair mix of both.

Anonymous said...

As a non-Japanese person like you who live in Japan, what do you think that foreigners need the most when they live in Japan?

I am thinking to do some business in Japan when I live in Japan, but I want to know how my business service can be benifital to the foreigners in Japan...

Hope you can povide some feedback..

Lisa said...

Hey! Come back, I miss you and am tired of reading about the Oktoberfest and hops! Finish up your school work and get your butt back to updating the blog. What better things do you have to do right now anyhow? (Are you makin' babies yet?!)

Love ya!!

Kimono Karen said...

There isn't honestly anything that foreigners 'need' per say. We can get whatever we need as long as we are willing to experiment until we find it (because we can't read labels). I have been on a quest for face wash that works for my fair skin, a good hairdresser who has the capability to highlight blond hair, a good Mexican or Greek meal, and other things that we need, want or use on a daily basis. Some I have found and some I have accepted that it is more of my own American tastes that limit me and not the fact that the Japanese have neglected to provide it. My best advice to you would be to take whatever strength you have in business and try to find a way to make it beneficial to both a Japanese and foreign market. The only thing that we gaijin sometimes feel we need is a bit more normalcy. But that normalcy is based on where we are from. Therefore, it just doesn't translate to a Japan or the Japanese market that is utterly Japanese... as it rightly should be. I guess this isn't much of a help. But I would say the best thing to do would be to look at the area you are interested in and determine the needs for that area. Like in Zushi... there is no chance you will find a restaurant that serves honest to goodness foreign food. It is all a manipulation towards the larger Japanese population. There just aren't that many gaijin here that make it worthwhile for anyone to provide services directly to us, unless you are catering to the people on local military bases. That opens up a whole new world for you.

Hope this helps some! If you are ever interested in emailing me, please feel free to do so and I will try my best to give you a good answer.