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Monday, July 3, 2017

Japanese Cowboy

It’s July 2, and I just watched the cowboy movie Tombstone on TV supposedly about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and the whole gun fight at the OK Corral.

I have always loved me some Westerns… not because I think it’s romantic… rather because it’s not. Perhaps I have been spoiled by The Man With No Name movie trilogy (Eastwood's spaghetti westerns), or excellent writing in the Jonah Hex comic books, but westerns have always grabbed me.

In Japan, I dare say that the same thing has occurred, rather than the Japanese falling in love with squinty-eyed cowboys, they fell in love with squinty-eyed samurai. That's not a racist comment by the way... have you seen how the samurai actors squinch up their eyes?

When I was in Japan, aside from a few sports, variety shows, cartoons and the news, Japanese television was populated by shows about food and samurai dramas.

I watched the odd episode of a televised samurai drama, but never got into it – perhaps because those shows were so heavily dialogue driven and without action, I was unable to get a grasp of what was actually going on.

Even today, much of Japanese culture is driven by the so-called samurai code of bushido, which was so frickin’ cool that the US Marines made it part of their own code: Death before dishonor.

It’s that same never surrender attitude that the Allied forces so feared when WWII was never its inevitable conclusion.

Two atomic bombs… and Japan still wouldn’t surrender, it was feared… a month of blitzkrieg firebombing attacks on Tokyo and Japanese resolve could not be swayed.

The average mom and her children were being taught how to fight with sticks and whatever weapons they could get their hands on in case the Allies began a land attack.

Fug… no soldier wants to go hand-to-hand with a 13-year-old in war. That was why the atomic bombs were dropped… to make Japan stop before countless MORE lives would be lost on both sides in a land invasion.

You know that more lives were lost on the month-long blitz on Tokyo than in the two atomic bomb blasts, right?

That’s the samurai code in effect.

That’s also what I like about cowboy movies… against all odds… you fight to the bitter end.

To this day, I still refuse to believe that Butch and Sundance died in that shootout. Nope… they shot their way out and lived happily ever after. I just don't want them to have died that way.

Anyhow, not that I’m hurting for a topic, but I decided to see if there were ever any Japanese cowboys in the old west.

There probably were, but I couldn’t find them.

I did find this very cool beer, pictured throughout, however called Japanese Cowboy brewed by Mountain Goat Beer... a brewery founded in 1997 from Richmond, Australia that was, in its 18th year, purchased by Japanese brewer Asahi.
I know… that was a lucky coincidence for a guy like me who likes his Japanese connections in his blogs.

According to www.ratebeer.com, which gave it a rating of 88/100, Japanese Cowboy is a 7% ABV US IPA beer (that’s a lot of initials!) that uses dry-hops of Chinook, Simcoe and Columbus, but adds the Japanese twist of Sorachi Ace hops, dry-hopped late in the fermentation. It also features malts of Ale, Vienna, Redback and Gladiator.

Because the Japanese Soraichi hops are added at the end, there isn’t a lot of heat to this beer, but rather you are supposed to be able to taste the citrus and dill flavors…

As you can see from the image at the top, the label pictures a silhouetted cowboy aboard a bucking bronco, hoisting a mug of beer – perhaps toasting the image of the Japanese rising sun in red.

It’s actually a clever design.

What isn’t as clever, is the fact that the beer contains writing in Japanese… where you are supposed to go to the Mountain Goat Beer website for a definition.

Personally, I hate crap like that. Tell me on the label or don’t tell me at all.

So now I have to go to the damn website. And I did, and couldn’t find anything. Sorry. It may be because it was a limited edition beer they made and sold out of.

I don’t know what that all means, but if you like a hoppy, bitter IPA (India Pale Ale), this beer is for you.

It’s not for me, unfortunately, as I can’t stand IPA beers. They taste great in your mouth, but when you swallow it, it hits the back of your throat and then for me – gah! I think IPA beers are a horrible trend in beer right now.

But… if you are able to find it and like IPA, more power to you brothers and sisters. More power to you.

Somewhere, rain drops are falling on my head,

Andrew Joseph

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