Niigata, Japan: Just Like I Pictured It

It’s just past six A.M. in Niigata and from T’s apartment, I can see Niigata City’s tall, gray buildings with their pinprick, red and blinking lights and beyond them and the flat surfaces between them, that is the Sea of Japan.

It’s my fourth visit to Niigata, 15th to Japan.

Kawabata made Niigata famous in his lovely, unsettling novel, “Snow Country,” and it’s a book I read ages ago.  You should read it, too, as it gives one man’s turmoil and desire to experience longing again and again on a daily basis an odd, broader context within nature and civic life.  He won’t let go, but can’t move forward.

Yesterday T and I visited three extraordinary micro-breweries, each one with distinctive features.  The final one, deep in the countryside, is run by a very individualistic person with a wonderful sense of humor and a ten year old Shiba Inu named Sakura.

Later we went to a brew pub in town to taste beer.

I am writing about micro-brewing in Japan for Beer Advocate.

Today we take the high speed boat to Sado Island to visit two sake breweries and a cheese factory.

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