Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Japan: Has Beaujolais Nouveau gone sour?

As the date changes at midnight on the third Thursday of November, corks come out of bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau and the celebration begins — in Japan. This has been an annual event since the 1980s, the period when the country enjoyed its bubble economy. The tradition still carries on, as many gather at restaurants and bars to enjoy the chance to taste the year's new brew before anyone else in the world does. Others not only drink the wine, but bathe in it.

Beaujolais Nouveau

The release of Beaujolais Nouveau was a popular topic last week among bloggers, including masakoski:

私もボジョレーヌーボー2007をまだ試飲していなかったので、近くのセブンイレブンで買ってきてもらい飲みました!
[…]
今年のボジョレー、美味しかった!

I hadn't tried beaujolais nouveau 2007 yet, so I asked [my brother] to buy it at the nearby 7-Eleven and drank it!
[…]
This year's beaujolais [nouveau] was delicious!

Although Japan is still by far the largest importer of Beaujolais Nouveau, sales have been declining. Bloggers point out various reasons for this trend.

As Japanese blogger tokorin25 writes, people are starting to question the quality of this overvalued wine:

以前ほど日本でのお祭りが盛り上がらなくなったのも良くわかります。皆さんワインの味を覚えて来たからです。

It is understanadable why the celebration has lost the party spirit it once had. It is because people now have a taste for wine.

Another blogger writes:

飲み放題といわれてもボジョレーそんなに飲めない。
おいしいわけじゃないしなぁ。薄いしなぁ。
普通の赤ワインのほうが断然おいしいんだけど、
「解禁」って言われるとなんだか飲みたくなるし、
なによりお祭りだから。収穫祭みたいなもんか。

Even though it is all-you-can-drink, I can't drink it much.
It's not that tasty, you know. It's watery.
I find regular red wine much tastier,
but when I hear the word “kaikin”, it kind of makes me want to drink it, and above all it is a celebration. I guess it's like a harvest festival.


“2007 Beaujolais nouveau released!: Glass 600yen, Bottle 3,200yen” reads a sign at a Tokyo restaurant.

This blogger shares his sarcasm about the tradition:

昔、ワイン通か何かの仲間が単なる遊び心で、誰が一番早くボジョレーヌーヴォーを飲むかを競う遊びをした事が、広まって今のようにブームになったのだ。
訳も分からず「解禁日のボジョレーはやっぱり旨いなぁ!?」なんてウンチクたれてる日本人を、その遊びを始めたヨーロッパのワイン通達が「バッカじゃないの。遊びだよ、あ・そ・び(笑)」と笑っているような気がしてならない。
クリスマスやバレンタインデーみたいに、日本人らしくていいけどね。

It all started a long time ago, when a few well-versed wine drinkers played a game to see who would get beaujolais nouveau first, and it spread to be what it is now.
I cannot help imagining those wine connoissers in Europe who started the game, seeing Japanese people who — with very little idea — say “beaujolais on the release day is really good” and going “you idiots, don't you know it's just a game. G・A・M・E”
Like Christmas and St. Valentine's Day, it's typical of Japanese, and it's ok.

sovversivo creazione, a high school student, shares their observations:

11月の第三木曜日が解禁日なんだそうで・・・。
最近よく聞くけど、あれ、日本がほとんど買い占めてるらしいね、輸出品。

本当は現地では日本より全然安い価格で買えるのにね。
まぁ、豊かな国って感じがするけど、実際石油の値上がりでいろんなものが値上がりしててもーうちの家計大丈夫か?って心配してる高校生です。
いやだってさ、ふつーにいろんなものの物価が高くて・・・・。
[…]
やっぱ、新しいエネルギーの模索も必要だけど、豊かになりすぎた日本は節約、効率的エネルギーの使用方法を見直すべきなんじゃないの?

Apparently, the third Thursday of November is the day it is realsed…
I've heard about it a lot recently, but Japan purchases most of the exports.

In fact, you can get it at a much cheaper price in [France].
Well, it sounds like we are in a rich country, but prices are going up because of the rise in the price of oil, and I am worrying about the family budget.
I mean, a lot of things have gotten expensive…
[…]
I guess searching for a new enegery is important, but now that we have grown too rich, shouldn't Japan reassess the way we conserve energy, and our usage of efficient energy?

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.