Mar 29, 2011

Drinking even in this tragic Japan

The series of earthquakes and tsunami waves that hit an extensive area along the Pacific coast of the northern Japan on March 11 threw the area into an awfully wretched situation, and this situation still continues. In addition, the incident at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture has not settled yet, and the situation seems to even be getting worse according to news reports.

In many sake breweries in the Tohoku area, their brewing facilities were damaged or totally lost and many people were killed in this disaster. I wonder how much sake the brewers in the Tohoku area will be able to produce in the next brewery year. I am very concerned abut it.

Thinking of people in trials and tribulations in the afflicted area, it is difficult to drink sake in a carefree mood. However, if sake drinkers refrain from drinking sake, it is not good for the sake brewing industry and food service industry. Furthermore, such a voluntary restraint mood will adversely affect the economy of Japan, hindering the recovery in the afflicted area.

The voluntary restraint mood is spreading among organizers of festivals, shoes, and other amusing events, and many planned events are cancelled or postponed. Many sake tasting events and other sake events are also being cancelled or postponed. Some people support or tolerate such movement while others insist such events should not be cancelled without careful consideration so that the economic activities will not sag further.

Recently, one of my acquaintances held a drinking party, titled "Drinking party in the hard time" at an izakaya, and I attended it. Friends and I had a good time, happily drinking and making a fuss at that time, but later I felt kind of guilty for having too much fun when thinking about this fuss in retrospect.

When people drink sake, liquor shops and sake brewers make money and some money in turn goes to the Japan's government as liquor tax or consumption tax. Thus, we can somewhat contribute to the finance of the country, and eventually money will be spent for the restoration of the afflicted area. However, this is merely a logical way of thinking and humans sometimes do not act according to logic since they sometimes feel guilty even for their logical activities. Anyway, probably, I won't decrease the amount of sake I will drink, but maybe I cannot but drink more quietly and secretly for some period of time from now.

What stance do you think you should take on drinking sake when many compatriots are devastated and suffering?

(This video was taken February 26.)

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