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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to JapanesePod101.com.
This is Talking Japanese Culture, Season 1.
In this series, you’ll learn conversation topics that will be handy when you’re talking to Japanese people.
I’m Eric.
In this lesson we will talk about the ​"Top 5 Alcoholic Drinks in Japan".
The first topic (on the list) is
Beer (J: bi-ru), which is the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan, and something people usually order for the opening of a drinking party. (J: en-kai).
Most beers consumed in Japan are produced by the “Five Big” domestic breweries - (J: Asahi),
(J: Kirin), (J:Sapporo), (J:Sun-tori) and (J:Ebisu).
Because of heavy taxation on Japanese beers, these companies also produce “low-malt beers” (J:Happo-shu). These less-expensive, beer-like beverages have a similar flavor to beers, but they have a slightly lighter taste.  
The next topic on the list is
Japanese Sake (J: Nihon shu).
This traditional Japanese alcoholic drink is
made from fermented rice, and has a sweet flavor
with a clean, dry finish.
It is good to know that all Sake can be
divided into two groups.
One is (J: Junmai-shu) which is made from
only highly polished rice. The other kind is
called (J: Hon-jo-zo), which contains a small
amount of brewed alcohol to bring out more
There are several Sake-making regions in Japan.
But among them, Niigata Prefecture is known to
produce the finest Sake because of its clear mountain water and high-quality rice.
Niigata is also a mecca for many Sake-lovers
because it is home of some legendary
brands such as (J: Koshi-no-kanbai) and (J: Hakkai-san).
The next topic on the list is
Shochu (J:Sho-chu).
This is a distilled spirit made of many different
ingredients such as wheat, rice, and potatoes.
There are two types of Shochu, (J:Ko) and(J: Otsu), and the main differences between them are
distilling method and alcohol content.
The Shochu classified as (J: Otsu) has a higher
alcohol content and a rich flavor from the ingredients. This type of Shochu is usually served straight, on the rocks or with hot water, to
let you enjoy the rich aroma of the main ingredient.
The next topic on the list is
Shochu Highball (J: chu-hai). This beverage is
made by mixing Shochu with soda and flavored
The chuhai was originally invented in downtown Tokyo to make an affordable version of the Whiskey Highball using inexpensive and lower-quality types of Shochu.
But these days, we have a variety of new kinds of (J: chuhai) that use vodkas and neutral spirits instead of Shochu.
(J: Chuhai) is a very popular alcoholic item in
Japanese-style bars (J: izakaya). But you can
also find canned Chuhai from liquor shops,
convenience stores, and even vending machines.
The last topic on the list is
Plum liquor (J: ume-shu). This drink is made by
soaking young green plums (J:ume), that are
harvested in the rainy season, in Shochu liquor
along with crystal sugar.
Almost all high-quality Plum liquor is produced with the most premium kind of plum from Wakayama Prefecture, which is called
(J: Kishu-nankou ume).
Two of the best-known Plum liquor brands in Japan are (J: Choya) and (J: Takara).
But many Japanese people also enjoy making their own plum liquor at home, as it is believed to be a healthy drink full of calcium and fruit acid.
Plum liquor is very sweet and is normally drunk
on the rocks, straight, or with soda.
That's all we have for this lesson.
Do you have any interesting or funny stories about drinking in Japan that you want to share? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.
Until then, bye!


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