Continuing with our trend of early morning’s, the 19th came fast. Yusuke, picked us up and we again traveled to the wonderful Zero waste town of Kamikatsu. He was a lovely host and explained much as we drove. We had a bit of time to waste so we got some pick-up shots and prepped the interview. Elijah has been doing the majority of the Japanese interviews, with me asking any questions that come to mind during the process. Elijah and I get along like a Hammer and an Axe. These objects can be blunt and combative, but wielded correctly they can sharpen and strengthen one another–you give them some wood to whittle or a project to pursue and you can create something beautiful…or tear it all down. Anyway, what I mean to say is that we’re really enjoying working together!
In the morning while we waited for Tanaka-san to arrive, we filmed the process of beer making. Yusuke was a gracious host especially for a brewer at work. He chatted with us about times for brewing and where we would like to set up. As the steam from the kettle rose in the air, that familiar smell filled our nostrils and our hearts. Yusuke and his assistant (who happened to be a wearing a blazers sports cap) completed the whole process on their small system.
The brewing assistant wearing some Portland swag. A souvenir from Yusuke’s recent trip.
Little after noon Tanaka-san arrived, and excited to interview him we sat down and started chatting right away. He enlightened us further to the principles that drive the Rise and Win brewery and the efforts they are making to spread the movement. He also let us know of a Zero Waste School he is working on, in collaboration with the local University. He hopes to provide beer lovers with a way to study its process as well as students the opportunity to understand how zero waste is possible and an important philosophy for the future. Then for some reason or another some local drone company stopped by for the first flight of their new drone. They were actually from Kamiyama, a business that had a secondary office in a rural area in connection with the future conference where we had been the night before. Pretty amazing to see in action and out of complete serendipity.
Drone, drone, drone…to be honest, it kind of scared us.
I asked Tanaka-san if he knew them or knew what they were doing and he said no, he had only just met them and had only just heard that they were doing their maiden flight. Impressed and smiling I replied, “Small towns right”. To which he said, “Yup, small towns”.
To our luck Tanaka-san was actually returning to Osaka later that night, but would of ended up taking a bus, then a taxi, then a ferry, then a taxi then a train to get to. So after interviewing, laughing, and chatting–some about Japan’s rich history with Marijuana (it has been used for Shinto Spiritual Practices, along with hemp, for thousands of years and still is), we left.
We love cars and driving and especially through rural country-side with so many people and places and evolving landscapes, it truly gives perspective of the visual world within which we all move.
We learned new words and spoke about other national issues, some of which are sadly commonplace throughout much of the world: corruption, intergenerational justice, disparity among the sexes. But in Japan specifically, there is a great problem with Large cities taking all the resources. When people leave, the private bus lines leave, and with cars being so expensive and impractical to own many towns are literally being abandoned. Historically, a family passes down a house to their children, but all the young ones are off to the big cities, which ultimately sucks more money out of the small communities as they try to help their children achieve their goals. But of course in the city, much of this money is frivolously spent on things that are solely necessary in the city: travel, various forms of entertainment, high priced meals, etc. But of course they get paid more. And this is truly the irony of it all. They aren’t paid more because the jobs are better, they are paid more because of the cost of living in and around the big cities. So at the end of the day having a lower paying job, somewhere further outside of the cities would essentially yield you the same if not more money to do things YOU truly want to do as compared to a much “better” job in the city. These are the issues that we keep hearing about here and in the states. As Tanaka-san says, ‘if you can talk about an issue, you can better understand it, so that why I’m interested in beer, it’s a communication tool!’.
Nonetheless, the ride mellowed out as we approached the city and the conversation turned less heated. We talked about things everyone loves like beer, boobs, bells, bacon, bacations (no letter v in Japanese, its starts with a b), and many other things starting with B. Along the way we even got to take a pitstop at their supporting company and meet their friendly pet goat, who only seemed to want to fight.
In Osaka, after a quick but large meal ordered from a vending machine and handed to the waitress, we got to our hostel. This night we got to sleep quickly. Tomorrow was another early in the morning but an exciting one. We were going to meet Kaori-san of Minoh beer and head into the mountains to pick Yuzu for their winter ale!