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Together -- Hachinohe Kokutai

By Nao H. Kauffman
Chief Editor

From January 26th to the 30th of this year, the 66th winter national sports festival (冬季国体/ Touki Kokutai) will be held in Aomori Prefecture and Akita Prefecture. The festival is organized by the Japan Sports Association (JASA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and local venues.
Speed skating will be held at Nagane Kouen Skate Rink in Hachinohe. Short track skating and figure skating will be at the Misawa Ice Arena. The hockey tournament will take place at various skating rinks in Hachinohe (such as Niida, Nanbuyama, and Fukuchi Skating Rinks.) Also from February 12th to the 15th the ski competitions will be held in Akita Prefecture. The sites annually vary in many of the Tohoku regions. The other kinds of sports like the Olympics also create many competitions in other locations during the fall. Yamaguchi Prefecture has already been selected for the main site of the fall Kokutai(国体)2011.

What is the JASA?
“Sports for All!” widely calling the slogan out to the nation, JASA is an organization that promotes a sports environment and supports the practice of people enjoying safe sport activities. Moreover, the organization integrates national sports in Japan and promotes special public interest from children to seniors by advancing enterprises throughout life and a sports society.

The Misawa arena is open daily for the public during the winter. However, during this period, it will be completely closed for public skating or any other local sports club activities. Please contact the Misawa Arena for more information. This could be another way to enjoy local winter events in this area.

Nakai Liquor Shop

By Naomi S. K.
Guest Writer (Translation by Nao H. Kauffman)

Beer selection at Nakai Liquor Shop “Corona beer was set afloat through Japan from Misawa. Did you know it?” pleasantly said Mrs. Nakai. Nakai liquor shop is the most familiar liquor store near Misawa Air Base. She explained about the unique relationship between the base and this town. As the American culture naturally came in, it was no wonder for the people in Misawa to adopt futuristic tastes; meanwhile, those were so ordinary to the military people. Such uniqueness has been carried on for a long time. Why from Misawa? Probably, Misawa is not so large that the connection with the base could be tighter and more amicable than other places in Japan. Through the interview, I started realizing that the Nakai liquor shop could be the starting point to offer information and trends about alcohols.

Tenchi Nakai liquor shop has many selections of beer, Japanese sake, whiskeys, wine, Shouchu (Shouju), and tobacco. Currently, in addition to domestic beer, they sell many kinds of import beer. Especially, Belgian beer is rich in taste of hop plus its bitter flavor. Moreover, the shop strongly promotes in selling the American local breweries beer. The special beer glasses which perfectly match with certain kinds of beer are also available. They would be a great gift idea. As a matte of fact, Mrs. Nakai is a well-trained wrapping coordinator and offers complimentary wrapping service upon your purchase.

The staffs, Mr. Akahira and Mr. Kimura beside the owner, Mr. Nakai and Mrs. Nakai have been studying about liquor and mastered many licenses such as coordinators for sake, wine, shouchu etc. Since Mr. Akahira went to the college on base, he can fluently assist you in English during shopping.

Selling many import cigars, tobacco, and cloves can be another unique characteristic of this shop. Due to the recent tax increase, many young Japanese now started trying roll-your-own for an economical reason.

Nakai’s Liquor Preference Ranking from 2010!

USA -- SAPPORO (The star trademark has been approachable for the Americans.)

JAPAN -- Kyougetsu (Korean Shouju,) Kuro Kirishima (Kagoshima Sweet Potato Shochu), or Citrus Chuhai
USA -- JINRO (Korean Shouju,) Sweet Chuhai like grape or peach flavor
SAKE (Rice Wine)
JAPAN -- Dry Sake, mostly produced in Niigata
USA -- Sweet/White Sake (Nigori Zake)

Mrs. Nakai's Picks!
La Grande Ourse ★La Grande Ourse and ALCOK&MIZAK made in France (These are very seasonal and limited. Look for a label of the Septentrions.)
★Lou Dumont by Koji Nakada, who is the first and only one wine maker from Japan in France. (Look for a orange label in the wine cellar inside the shop. Mrs. Nakai highly recommends its delicate flavor.)

Gift wrapped wine Mrs. Nakai greatly admires how the American people enjoy drinking alcohol for many occasions. Then, she finds joy in passing the custom and preferences to the Misawa's market. The military people normally come and go. Such a personal relocation cycle greatly influence on their business. In short, it is a beneficial opportunity to learn something from the change and put into new things. Vice versa, now Nakai liquor shop is willing to challenge the American people. As they learned many things from generation to generation, now they would like to introduce the Japanese culture. For the first step, they started monthly free tasting on every 10th at 2 p.m. inside the shop or at MG plaza of the American village. They call that day “Japanese Sake Day.” (Depending on the calendar, the date may be subject to change.) They monthly create a theme and change brands what they offer. If you cannot drink, you can still enjoy the special water called Shikomisui, which is essential in order to produce Japanese Sake. The next month is February 10th at MG plaza. If you are looking for something new or need help for gift ideas, feel free to visit the shop.

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