Reviews & info on some beers, bars & pubs in Japan (mainly Tokyo/Yokohama area) - with an extra large serving of nonsensical jibbbbah jabbah thrown in:

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Hibiya Oktoberfest 09 - info, pics & svhdklgfhglf!


I have no idea what that means, but it more or less somes up an Oktoberfest in May, in Tokyo.

This year was no less weird and f*cked up.
Stil, it's an excuse to get hammered, so that's not so bad.
What is bad is the ever increasing price of drinks at this event.
The overpriced Germanbeers go for 1,300yen for 400ml or 3000yen for 1000ml.
I remember at the Yokohama Oktoberfest last year, the lovely guys at the Spaaten/Franziskaner stand increased the price of their booze and decreased the size of the glass!
Thank you, perhaps to the organiser and importer of said beer, Zato Trading.

They have a collection of about a dozen German themed beer restaurants across Tokyo.
They import Spaaten, Franziskaner in barrels and other German beers in bottles.

I thought the theme of an Oktoberfest was celebraton, but it seems the organisers are using overall profit as the theme for this year, and probably every year after this.

I certainly couldn't see signs of a faltering economy in Hibiya park this week. Japanese people seem to be perfectly happy to fork out 1300yen for less than 400ml of German beer or 3,000 for a maas (1l glass). They were happy to queue up for ages to get their hands on some foot long German sausage. The reality, fear and worry over the current global financial crisis could simply be left at the entrance to this fantasty world of beer, sausages and bad corny music.
These guys provide the 'entertainment' this year:

Boring stuff. They hardly move. The stage is tiny and looks miserable. Only the poeple in this one tent can actually see the band and there is not much to see, anyway. Pretty badly designed, if you ask me.

Compare that with Yokohama in 07 or 06:

Quite a different atmosphere, yes?

It was much better 2 years ago, when they had the legends that are Tomas and Toni:They do EVERYTHING!


Status Quo:

Country and Western:

They even do the Prost song wiht more vigor. I love those boys:

Unfortunately, the organisers didn't bring them back.
Tomas and Toni, it was sad to see you go, go, go...

Here's a photo of yours truly from a year or two ago, in Hibiya. I tried the German foot long and it wasn't bad not not at all cheap. I alos tried several beers, as they weren't as expensive as they are now. Plus, back then, they had Lowenbrau (brewed by Asahi over here) and some other cheaper beers on offer.
The beer and food at Yokohama was cheaper, too

Personally, as it is held in apulbic park and as the is so bloody expensive and as I don't have much money, I stokc up beforehand wiht cheaper booze. However, I do have my pride and respect for Japanese craft beer, so I stock up at craft beer stores, such as the amazing Tanakaya, in Mejiro.Then, when you get to Oktoberfest, you just need to order one beer (to get the glass), then refill from your cooler bag! I order my beer from the Japanese stand, to support Japaanese craft beer. It's also very, very good beer!
Last year, the choices were Fujisakura and Yokohama beer. This year, it's just Fujisakura. They have the weissen, dunklewiessen (which has now ran out), the pilsner and the rauch (brought in to replace the dunkle weissen).

Here are some pics from this year's Oktoberfest:

I usually start by grabbing myself a cool, fresh Fujisakura weissen or rauch.
One of the best weissens in Japan. Lovely.

Then you can just go and sit down with friends and enjoy your beer.When you're done with your first, you can just 'refill', using one of your cooler selection.
Here's a Shiga Kogen IPA. Lovely stuff. 380yen at Nearby Nagano Sake.You can then walk around, feeling the buzz from the booze and possibly meet some more friends!

Time for a Yaho American style ESB:The good thing about Oktoberfest is that it's so easy to make new friends:
The ladies even opened my bottle of Iwate Kura pale ale and poured it for me! - now those are ladies!Drunk as f*ck but still ladies.

You may even meet mysterious types, such as Mr.Mystery, seen here drinking a mysteriously dark and strong Spaaten optimator.
He also used the idea of bringing along a back up supply. His choice in the store was limited to the Grolsch weissen. Not bad but a bit too sweet for me.
All you need for a good evening is beer, a bottle opener and a nice woman...Voila!

Now, let's try that again. This time, with three nice beers, and three nice women!Well, perhaps 2 out of 3 isn't bad...

As the evening goes on, everybody gets more and more drunk, making it more and more easy to make friends with almost anyone.
For me, that's part of what Oktoberfest is about. Everyone 'kampai's with you. I happened to know one of these guys but they may as well have never seen me before, the reaction would have been just the same - "let's enjoy! Let's get drunk as f*ck!"
Even the suits, manning the big main tent started to loosen up and get into the spirit.Suits, I salute you!

By this stage, the booze is really kicking in and people start telling tall tales...
Mr.Mystery was not impressed.Time for one or twop more beers, after they call last orders. I'm still drinking when everyone else is sucking on an empty glass.
Then before you know it, everyone has gone and your glass is empty, not to be refilled until next year...Time to leave it all behind again.

Hibiya is okay, but it depends on the weather (a lot of it is in teh open air to rain messes wiht everything), the music and the beer. The people are pretty damn great, I reckon. no fighting, no problems, everyone is so friendly. Nice place to be. I'll be back there tonight.

However, Hibiya isn't as good as Yokohama.
The bands there are bigger and better.

For example, here are 2 horny tumpeters:

They were the horniest guys I have met for a long time:

Here's some silly dancing:

Here's a clip from Yokohama with yours truly forgetting to watch his P's and Q's (excuse the language, but I was drunk as f*ck):

The Japanese/German conga is fun for all the family!

It's very hard to resist:

Okay, so what does that have to do with Hibiya?
Well, it just goes to show how different the 2 festivals have become.
The Yokohama one charges a small fee to enter the place (I think it's about 400yen), but once you get in there, the atmosphere is really, really good. Hibiya lacks that, perhaps as most of the males there are salarymen, unsure of themselves and the music is at best bland and unoriginal and even the musicians and the 'fake Germans' manning the beer pumps don't seem to be feeling the spirit.

I mean, things have gotten so bad, that the idiot drunken clown doesn't even go in the fountain anymore.
What is the Oktoberfest coming to?

I think we should all have a wet t-shirt Oktoberfest fountain party with free booze and buxom wenches!!!
What sayeth you, buxom wenches?

I'm off back to Oktoberfest tonight, in the rain, not to see some wet t-shirts but to see if the place can live up to it's old ideals...

...if there are some wet t-shirts on display at the same time, that won't be so bad, either..

p.s. I apologise for all this toilet humour.
If you want some more, check out the new Oktoberfest toilet game, from Yokohama Oktoberfest (Where even the toilets were better organised than in Hibiya!):

p.p.s. if you still fancy some nice beer after the festival ends, you can do worse than head on over to the nearby Bulldog bar, where we usually end up.

Whatever you do, have a great Oktoberfest and don't forget what it's all about.

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