Tonight was the wine tasting at Muroya Shoyu, organized by Shoichi as part of the Hina Matsuri. Jess A, Hannah and Adam came as well.
I was not quite sure what to expect, I guess my mental image was of a long table in the parking bay of the factory next to the office and the dolls' display area, with the people milling around, you know, tasting wine and nibbling the nibbles.
But the Japanese like to impose order on a party, and this one was no exception.
It was held in the back of the factory, and we were seated at four tables surrounding one centrally located kerosene stove heater. The party duly 'started' with a couple of speeches and introductions, and the system was explained to us. We were to have three bottles of wine per table, one each of white, rose, and red. The food was served piece by tiny piece, onto our plates, one type at a time, mostly by chopsticks, but sometimes by hand.
Once we had tasted all the varieties, we were to choose, as a table, a fourth bottle. We all agreed on the Rose.After that things are not so clear. We were able to bring our own, but we had not, and I bought another bottle of the Rose.
I introduced the Keio people to the Again people and tried to stay upright. Going to the toilet was an adventure - weaving through the cedar barrels under the ancient beams and out through a side door to a long-drop squat toilet.
At some time people started to sing, and made us sing too. We decided on Waltzing Matilda as the least offensive national song, and the only one we all knew - me Hannah and Adam, that is. Jess got away with it. The party finally 'finished' with another round of speeches and thank yous.
We went to karaoke, where none of us could seem to make the thing work, we kept putting in the wrong song, or ones I put in never turned up. I have no idea how many beers and chuuhais I ended up drinking, but I am exceedingly grateful that no-one took me up on my suggestion to go to a Snack afterwards, and I stumbled home, only crashing the bike twice this time (I think), and ended up sleeping on the lounge floor because I was too cold to brave the stairs.