Day off for Veteran's Day + semi-easy looking directions + free brewery tour = AWESOME DAY TRIP
Amanda and I were feeling a little daring yesterday and wanted to get out of the Yokosuka area. I was looking online at different day trips to do when I came across Kirin Beer Village. Obviously that intrigued me so I looked a little more into it and figured the directions looked easy enough that we hopefully wouldn't get lost using the train for the first time by ourselves. And plus, having free beer at the end of the trip was just another incentive to figure out Japan's train system!
The first step was trying to make a reservation by phone in Japanese. I easily figured out that if you say "Konnichiwa" and make a few other random noises, the person on the other obviously knows you can't speak Japanese. I say "Hai, English" and it's soon followed by a confusing conversation of one word phrases and repeating ourselves over and over. By the end of the phone call, I still wasn't quite sure if I made a reservation or not, but I thought, "What the heck, let's just go and figure it out there".
When Amanda and I got to the train station we had to get her an electronic train card. I already had mine from the week before when another girl had an extra one that I just had to add money to. We weren't sure how to get one for her exactly, so we went up to the ticket counter and showed them my card and held up some money. Apparently something was lost in translation, so we just shoved all the money under the window and kept pointing at the card and then Amanda. Guess that worked! Once we got into the train station, we tried to navigate our way to what we thought was the correct train. We stood at the track nervously awaiting the train to come, watching all these little Japanese school children using the train system with no problem at all.
YES! We got on the correct train and surprisingly it was a lot easier to use than I thought! I'll be a pro at that in no time. And of course, how much easier could this trip get having the beer village within a very short walk from the train station. The brewery tour was completely in Japanese with informational pamphlets in english. But let's be honest here, beer tasting was the common denominator, so it didn't really matter what language the tour was in! Our tour guide even showed us "how to pour the perfect head". I also learned Yokohama was the birthplace of Japanese beer brewing. Thank goodness for Americans importing barley and hops into the country back in the 1870's.
I have to say that I'm a little biased to Milwaukee brewery tours, especially Lakefront. But, you can definitely count on me going back to Kirin Beer Village. Any takers??