As I sit writing this on a Friday afternoon, thoughts across the country are no doubt turning to relaxing weekends at what is undoubtedly one of the nicest times of the year in Japan. It is when the sun is shining, the weather is warm and the real heat and humidity of the summer have yet to arrive. Essentially, it’s perfect for lounging in one of Tokyo’s many parks, an activity that, more often than not, is accompanied by an alcoholic beverage or two.
For Brits nostalgic for a taste of home, there are now more British drinks available than ever for such moments, for example ales and representatives of the UK’s burgeoning craft gin movement. Their number is set to expand yet further following a strong push this year by the Department for International Trade to promote them in Japan. We take a look at participants in April’s Foodex exhibition—the largest such event in Asia—which shone a light on beers, gins, whiskeys and other beverages produced in the UK.
Then we turn our attention to English sparkling wine. A relatively new product category, but one that has recently come into its own, the British Embassy Tokyo held a wine tasting to promote the drink to Japanese buyers and distributors, and a few days later two brands—Bolney Wine Estate and Digby Fine English—showcased their wares at an event by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ).
If these articles have seen you work up a thirst, then it shouldn’t be too hard to find some of these UK beverages to sample for yourself. Already a number of shops and supermarkets across the capital stock some of the brands mentioned. Raise a glass to their fine work this summer.
If you build it …
An ongoing theme in the world of Japanese business is how firms are wrestling with the country’s ageing society and the resulting problem of a serious labour shortage. As a result, we are seeing a gradual increase in different work styles and the promotion of women’s involvement in the workplace.
One firm attempting to help alleviate the problem is BCCJ member ESR Ltd., a logistic real estate developer and fund manager. Across the firm’s many sites in Japan new facilities for parents and the local community are being introduced. Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gibson tells us more about both the firm’s work in this area and its adoption of renewable energy.
The end of May saw the Knights in White Lycra (KIWL) charity cycle team—whom we have covered in previous issues of BCCJ ACUMEN—embark on their annual ride in support of the non-profit organisation Mirai no Mori, which helps disadvantaged children. The efforts of the riders and organisers were well rewarded, with KIWL achieving a record amount of sponsorship this year: more than ¥11mn.
The ride was at times challenging, with the team encountering some very inclement weather. Nonetheless, the feat was highly rewarding for all those involved in supporting most worthy cause. Take a look at their exploits, and buy them a drink next time you see them!