Last Sunday, June 15, 2014, I was in Hiroshima on a business trip to get some information for a new book I’m writing. It was pretty fruitful and I learned a lot. I had an extra day in Hiroshima and enjoyed talking with friends. I was down there for the World Cup match between Japan and Cote d’Ivoire. The match was at 10am and made my way to a place I stumbled upon the night before, Raku Beer. I’ll write more about Raku Beer in the future but for now I’ll focus mainly on my experience at the game. Japan is crazy for their team at the World Cup and no matter where you are in Japan you can see the games at almost every sports bar that has a TV. After grabbing a pint at Raku Beer the night before, they said they were showing the game and how could I resist. Raku Beer is a craft beer bar and there was no way I would look for a place showing the game, especially if I knew a place that was showing it and had craft beer!
For the game, they opened their doors at 9:30 am and I was there soon after. Most of their regulars had reserved a table so I was in the standing section. I did have a seat but it wasn’t the most comfortable seat in the world. They seemed to have a lot of regulars at the bar and they all seemed to know each other too. They had a really cool special where each player was assigned their own beer. It was like betting. If you bought a beer that corresponded to a player that would score a goal, you’d get a free pint of beer. In the first half of the game, I was still really tired and pretty hung over from the night of drinking, but I was able to enjoy the game. I was still out of it but when Keisuke Honda scored, I was so happy and so were the others in the bar. I bought the Minoh Stout at the start of the game, which was Keisuke Honda’s beer, so I got an Italian IPA for free as part of the game.
I actually didn’t really know of the rules of the game until I went up to the bar for another beer during the half time. They explained the prize beer to me but I was still somewhat out of it; they really recommended the prize beer to me and how could I say no? It wasn’t until they poured a pint for me and they said it was free that I realized what happened. The prize beer was a special Italian craft beer from Beerfist. They served the Space Man IPA which was pretty good. I was happy to get it and happily drank the beer, until part way through the second half. As you know by now, Cote d’Ivoire scored 2 goals in a short time and Japan was out of the game. Japan never really played as strong as they could have and somehow the excitement of the team seemed a little flat. I think they need a good swift kick in the rear as I know they can play a lot better than they did. They have done a lot better in the past but somehow the team is not gelling as fast as they did in the previous World Cup.
After the game ended, about half of the casual fans left, but the majority of the regulars stayed and had a lot of fun. I was not a regular so I didn’t know anyone and just left the bar after we finished our beers. It was an experience I will never forget and I found my bar in Hiroshima. If I ever live in Hiroshima, heck, if I ever visit Hiroshima again, you’ll be seeing me at this bar often as it is really cool and the people are very knowledgeable about beer. Keep a look out for the full Raku Beer report coming up once I get time to write it.
PS: I’m trying out a new style. What do you think? Better or worse than the older one?