Fujieda City

The Ale House in Fujieda City (Summer 2013-revisited)

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Service: Friendly and smiling, all in a very quiet atmosphere (when not full!)
Facilities: Overall very clean. Clean washroom
Prices: Reasonable to slightly expensive
Strong points: Shizuoka Micro breweries’ beers on tap, Belgian beers and pub grub.

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There are very few pubs, I mean real pubs, British or Irish, worth noticing in our Prefecture.
But I surely don’t mind traveling all the way from Shizuoka City to Fujieda City and come back with the last train back home under the questioning looks from commuters going back to their sleeping town! Fortunately The Ale House is only less than 10 minutes away from the south exit of the JR Station!

It has become one of those “kakureya” (“hidden spots”) that a lot of residents expats talk about, and deservedly so.
Would you believe it I visited it for the first time again in 6 years with a motley of friends! They stille remembered me, though! LOL

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At least it looks like a real pub!

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But I let my English friend Patrick of Think Twiceguide me along and introduce me to the matser of the Place, Mr. Masayuki Saitou
Mr. Saitou explained us he opened his Pub in 1995 out a search for a new challenge away from the dreary life of a typical Japanese “salaryman”, and indulge in his hobby, namely whisky.
Talking of whisky, he does have an impression collection, but you will have to ask him to show it as it is protected from the spotlights inside wooden cabinets!
Now, if you are a beer lover, he has an extra treat for you, a proof of his dedication: baird Beer from Numazu City and Bayern Meister Bier from Fujinomiya City on tap!

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The only problem is that it is really tough to take clear pictures in the very dark lounge bar!

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Some of the beers available with their country of origin clearly marked. Don’t worry Mr. Saitoh will somehow explain everything if you don’t read Japanese!

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Some of these are actually sometimes available!

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The food menu ( a lot of typical pub grub) is in Japanese but the master will gladly help you read it!

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the same for the drinks!

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Interestingly enough, people here do not know we do have quite a few notable “jibiru”, microbreweries, in Shizuoka Prefecture!
Now if you are into cocktails, no worries, the Ale House has more than you can drink.

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Beers come in all kinds of sizes, shapes, colors, on the tap and in bottles!

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Long ones, too?

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These beer coasters were everywhere! Now, who is this guy?

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A very dark beer in a very dark place! LOL

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there is plenty of grub (foods) to choose from:
Cheese assortment.

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Fried potato wedges with their skins.

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Pickles.

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Sausages.

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Spicy potatoes.

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Keema pizza!

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Skillet-fried chicken and vegetables.

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Spicy mushroom noodles.

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And even desserts such as this pear tart!

I won’t want 6 years till my next visit, I can assure you!

The Ale House
426-0061 Fujieda City, Tanuma, 1-4-12 (JR Station South Exit, take second on left)
Tel. & Fax: 054-6362889
Opening hours: 18:30~25:00
Closed on Mondays (Tuesdays are open, even in the case of a National Holiday)
Blog/Homepage (Japanese only)

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Akihiro Matsushita: Organic Sake Rice Grower in Fujieda City!

Akihiro Matsushita/松下明弘, Yuuji Miyata/宮田祐二 and Densaburou Aoshima/青島傳三郎!

Akihiro Matsushita is a true pioneer!
No less than 17 years ago he decided to grow all his rice organically, a revolution at the time that did not please many people in the very closed world of Japanese farming!
Fortunately things have changed since then…

15 years ago Akihiro contacted Densaburou (Sake Brewmaster’s name) Aoshima of Aoshima Sake Brewery in Fujieda City to aks him if he would be interested in creating sake with truly organic rice. Densaburou is also a true pioneer in his own closed Japanese sake world who gladly accepted the challenge.
And it certainly was a challenge!

Aoshima Brewery in Fujieda City! Kikuyoi/喜久酔 is their main brand name!

I’ve known Densaburou for quite some time now, and the fact he speaks fluent English does help when I introduce him to foreign fans of his nectars!

Yuuji Miyata/宮田祐二, Ryohei Miyake/三宅良平 and Densaburou Aoshima/青島傳三郎
Whatever the occasion, this is Japan, and nothing will start before business cards have been exchanged!

The fact I know quite a lot of people in the Japanese sake world in Shizuoka Prefecture even helps with my Japanese friends and colleagues.
Before meeting Akihiro Matsushita in his farm, Yuuji Miyamata, the man in charge of the development of Homare Fuji Sake Rice in Yaizu City and Ryohei Miyake, an official from the Shida Haibara Agriculture and Forestry Bureau joined me to visit Densaburou at his brewery as we were all going together to Akihiro’s place. Densaburou does not use the Homare Fuji Sake Rice in his brews but he entertains warm relations with all people concerned with the sake business in his region.

Akihiro is a shy gentleman who will nonetheless quickly open and talk passionately about his trade.
And you certainly need to be passionate and extremely knowledgeable to convince people in one of the most conservative regions of Japan!

Keeping his own fields separated from non-organic growers is no longer a problem, but it was open conflict when he started his venture. He does not remember how many times he had to clean his own fields of mountains of rubbish thrown into them during the night…
But since then Akihiro has been recognized and accepted as a true grower as amply proved by his JAS Organic Grower Recognition and his Shida EM Organic Agriculture Association Chairmanship!

Not only his fields, but surrounding areas have to be kept clean of any chemicals and unwanted materials.
Even so, rice growing within a few meters of the perimeter of his fields will not be sold or used!

Yamada Nishiki, the most famous sake rice variety in Japan! The grains will appear end of August!
The soil being part of the Ooigawa River bed is sandy. The same sand is river sand formed by the constant rubbing of stones.

A single look at the water and soil will tell you this is organic environment with all these bugs and snails!
Akihiro and Densaburou had once thought of ducks to keep their fields clean of bugs. Unfortunately the local stray cats put an end to the trials!

Although Mr. Miyata’s field is not concerned with Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice, his expertise is always welcome!

Akihiro’s fields of organic sake rice and those or normal edible organic rice occupy a lot of land here and there. I asked him if he would be interested in exporting some. He replied that he wouldn’t have enough land to do so! An unequivocal proof of his peers’ and customers’ recognition!

Everyone soon forgot me so passionate their discussions had become!

For all his extremely busy life, Akihiro still finds enough time for constant research: organic black rice!

This passion and thirst for new solutions just proves that Japan and its people, for all the cataclysms that regularly visit them, might bend now and again but will never break like the stalks of their rice!

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The Hidden Gems of Japan!

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