A wonderful sunny afternoon spent in Hachioji at their Wine Festival. If you buy a ticket, you get a wine glass and a red pouch to hang around your neck to keep it in, a wrist band, and a map of the dozens of participating restaurants and bars. Then you walk with your friends from place to place, sampling the wines and sometimes snacks. A small fee gets you a refill and a plate of hors d’oeuvres.
Bar 1: Comment on the quality of the wine.
Bar 2: Compare the wine with the previous place. Decide to wait to next place rather than pay for refill.
Bar 3: Face slightly flushed. Still commenting on quality. Don’t buy refill, but pay for hors d’oeuvres.
Bar 4: They ran out of red, but you forgo the white—the afternoon is young. Friendly nods to surrounding groups.
Bar 5: Women heard to murmur about “smaller pours than men get, I’m positive.” Interaction with surrounding groups. Receive unsolicited recommendations for places with good wine.
Bar 6: Ecstatic greetings from total strangers. Solicit recommendations for places that pour big.
Bar 7: Finish the sample in two swigs. Ask for refill and happily pull notes from wallet to pay. Buy another refill for the road on the way out.
Bar 8: Each wine tastes better than the last. Misidentify stranger as nephew’s girlfriend’s brother.
Bar 9: “Red or white?” (Holding out glass:) “Yes, please.” “Um, Red wine or white wine? “Whatever.” Lose sunglasses. Find them on your forehead.
Bar 10: Lose track of whose glass is whose. Claim the fullest one.
Bar 11: Wax lyrical over the best wine of the evening bar none. Internet check identifies it as 600 yen ($6) a bottle. Flirt outrageously with stranger in the company of your and their significant others.
Between Bar 11 and 12: stop at beer vending machine. Look for bathroom. Duck into convenience store (thank goodness for convenience store bathrooms) and find line of five other people wearing wine glasses around their necks, waiting.
Bar 12: “I dance better when I’m drunk.” Impromptu renditions of popular songs.
Between Bar 12 and 13: enter non-participating restaurant, proffering glass; it is filled. Look around for bathroom… The world is my bathroom!
Bar 13: Fistfight/New best friend for life, but omit to exchange business cards. At one with everyone/everything.
5PM. On way to station, enter shoe shop proffering glass; waylaid by friends.
Train. Oblivion. Reach terminus, and return to Hachoji. Home on second attempt.
Not really. It was as delightful and convivial as the last such event. This year, there was even a shrine serving sake and plum wine. Again, we thought it would be an ideal event to show off our own town. I left early so missed a final meal with our group, but fellow-Blockhead David was in the party and his photograph is in the previous post. The Good Things indeed.
(Many thanks D & J for your inspired suggestions.)