"Importantly, these risk factors for adolescent smoking and drinking have been studied in countries of Western culture, but not in Japan. Japanese people have some unique characteristics, such as interdependent orientation and collective cultural thinking, which stresses conformity and intense competition for sameness within intragroup relations. These characteristics may influence the prevalence and etiology of adolescent smoking and drinking."
While teenagers who sip wine occasionally are not considered as suffering from teenage alcoholism, those who drink alcoholic drinks in larger quantities on a regular basis are.
There's everything in the Wine Crazy wine shop, a great range of wines in a great setting. Mr Iwata also organizes wine tastings every week for a fee per glass and he opens great bottles on these occasions.
The first bottles I spot on the side are from the US [1000 Yen make 6,5 Euro or 10 USD]: Harlan Estate 2003 (114 000 Yen), Meeker Merlot 2002, Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 (115 500 Yen), Maya 2000 (85 785 Yen), Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (60 900 Y), Opus One 2004 ( 39 800 Y), Staglin Estate C.S. 2003 (22 600 Y) and others like Nalle, Ravens wood, Pahlmeyer and Au Bon Climat. I drift to the bottles in the middle of the shop, most of his wines come from France (both artisan/natural wines and prestigious traditionnal estates): Nacarat (Cailloux du Paradis)- 2835 Y, Domaine de l'Anglore, Nulle Part Ailleurs 2700 Y, Trevallon 1999 - 4380 Y, Domaine Gauby 2002 "Coume Gineste" - 9770 Y, Pacalet (several others from him) Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins 2003- 15000 Y, Corton Vergennes Grand Cru 2004 Domaine de la Combe 11300 Y, Prieuré Roch Clos de Bèze 2004 - 31 500 Y, Clos de tart 1983 Mommessin (damaged label) - 34 000 Y, Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2002 - 21 000 Y, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Vieilles-Vignes 1986 - 80 000 Y, Bonnes Mares Leon Bocquet 1973 - 47 250 Y...
Of course the best Bordeaux are there too : Pauillac Pichon Comtesse 1940 (148 000 Y), Ausone Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 1982 (90 000 Y), Chateau Margaux 1982 (210 000 Y), Chateau Latour Pauillac 1949 (410 000 Y), Cheval Blanc St-Emilion 1984 (31 500 Y), and many others from more recent millesimes. Also what seems to be a very good selection of Italian wines, including one I know : Angiolino Maule Sassaia 2005 at 2730 Yen.
Now, with the wax food being displayed side by side with plastic drinks, that is a good way to begin choosing what to drink with the chosen dish. I see sake and beer but where's the wine ? I am sure that the people at Iwasaki-Bei (the company that started the concept and which is still leader of this niche market today) would have no problem replicating the delicate nuances of a light Pinot Noir, a golden Sauternes or a black-ink Grenache...
We reach the restaurant after a few minutes walk. There's no sign at the door, as if the owner didn't want the crowds here. If you reach the place, just notice that the door is just on the left of another venue named "Basa" (just look for Basa and you'll find this esoteric restaurant upstairs).You climb a narrow staircase to the 2nd floor. The restaurant is full of paintings or strange objects hanging on the walls. The music selection is also one of the gems here, one of the things that we heard was a 1940-1950 female Japanese singer and I wish I had thought to ask him to see the CD info. Another thing is that he has several Art works by Tadanori Yokoo, a famous Pop Art artist from the 1970s'. The owner, who cooks himself, has a strange butoh-like demeanor and he may come at your table (if he feels confident) holding a plush character which is very dear to him. He's a lovely person and his cuisine is a surprising blend of flavors and textures, there's something magic in there, and with the good mood of Terumi and her friend Keiko plus the warmful Chile wine we had, our dinner was really special. Back in France, I found out that fellow-blogger Claire who is a French/American girl living in Tokyo, listed this restaurant as "probably the best place to dine in tokyo". Read it on her blog, you will find her own post on Hinomaruken. The people at the Tokyo Michelin guide would better drop there one evening...
The other magazine, Winart is also a serious help fot the Japanese wine lovers, with lenghtly articles and beautiful photo work. It is more conventional and mainstream in its approach.
There is also a monthly publication (but I don't remember having leafed through one issue) named Vinotheque.
Cotes d'Auvergne Tricot Chardonnay 2006, 2 cuvées, 2100 Y and 300 Y. Saint Peray (white Rhone) les Champs Libres 2006 - 3150 Y. Arbois Pupillin Chardonnay 2005 - 3450 Y, Ploussard 2006 - 3900 Y.Simeoni, "Vin de Crise" (Vin de Pays, Herault) - 1730 Y. Clos Marie Pic Saint Loup (Languedoc) 2006 - 3150 Y. Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras 2005 - 2000 Y. Vosne Romanée Domaine Jean Grivet 2000 - 11 250 Y. Goisot Cotes d'Auxerre, Corps de Garde 2005 - 3060 Y. Karim Vionnet Beaujolais-Villages 2006 - 2480 Y. Didier Montehovet Beaune 1er Cru Vignes Franches 2004 - 5400 Y. Domaine des Bois Lucas (Junko Arai) "Otosan" (Touraine Gamay) 3300 Y. Marcel Deiss, Pinot Noir St Hyppolyte 2004 - 4500 Y. Chateau Vieux Maillet Pomerol 2000 - 5840 Y. Just a few example of what you find here. Very large choice of Champagne wines too (Gosset, Henriot, among others), plus several sparkling wines made by artisan vintners like Christian Binner (Alsace). There are also top international beers among which I spot the utmost delightful Chimay from Belgium at 460 Y a bottle.
We missed the owner who was not there when we dropped there (and the bar wasn't open yet) but B. had the opportunity to speak lenghly with him and taste some wines during her previous trips in Japan, and she learned many things about how wine has come more and more mainstream and also how well the no-additives wines were received here in the last few years.