From which store do you tend to buy your heat-tech clothing?

Uniqlo's heat-tech usually only lasts me one season but it's readily available and gets the job done. My second pick would be Patagonia; they make excellen base layers. – Charissa

I used to use Uniqlo/GU exclusively but from last year I started to love wearing compression wear so I wear it every day, all year long. I wear compression wear w/heat-tech from a company called TELSA. – Ryan

I don’t need it. – Eugene


American wife and Japanese husband duo living in Japan. They make travel videos around Japan using fairly simple English and some Japanese.



This is the season for Illuminations and the following are
some of the more notable ones in this area.

SHIZUOKA Toki no Sumika Winter Illumination
28 October, 2017 - 31 March, 2018 (4:30 pm - 10:00 pm)

Toki no Sumika presents a theme of “Elegance” in 3 central areas: Tunnel of Lights, Royal Palace Hill, and Rainbow Lights and aims to provide an evening of elegant enchantment, fairy-tale fantasy, and laser lights.


TOKYO Winter Fantasia at Toshimaen
28 October, 2017 - 25 February, 2018 (3:00 pm - 9:30 pm)

With the soft light of lanterns in the shape of buildings animals and plants populating this garden, Toshimaen kicked off its illumination show with the theme of “Photogenic”.
Small children, as well as adults, can also enjoy treats and illumination along the special “Candy Road.”

TOKYO Michiterasu
24 December - 28 December, 2017

Held in Tokyo’s Marunouchi area, the theme for this year is“Celebration”. This will be integrated with several installments entitled “Symphony of Light and Flower” b Nicolai Bergmann, one of Tokyo’s top flower artist.


KANAGAWA Sagamiko Illumillion
3 November, 2017 - 8 April, 2018 (4:00 pm - 9:30 pm)

At the Sagami Lake Resort you can enjoy the amusemen park, camping and barbecue facilities, day spa and what they claim to be the largest illumination display in the region. In collaboration with FM Fuji, they will also provide an array of musical talent every Saturday, Nov 18 – Dec 2.

KANAGAWA Christmas Market Yokohama Brick Warehouse
25 November - 25 December, 2017 (11:00 am - 10:00 pm)

Modeled on the German Weinachtsmarkt or Christmas Market, this event is in its 8th year. Last year it attracted over 80,000 visitors who enjoyed shopping among the lights and atmosphere of a traditional German Christmas Market. This year visitors will be treated to a theme of "Christmas Market in Cologne"and can partake in mulled wine and German sausage while shopping.


GUNMA Isesaki Illumination in Kesouji
2 December, 2017 - 25 December, 2017 (4:30 pm - 9:30 pm)

In its 9th year, the Isesaki Illumination display features bridges, trees, and others decorated with multicolor LED.


OSAKA Umeda Snowman Festival「Hikari no Hinmeri」
22 November, 2017 - 25 December, 2017 (10:00 am - 8:00 pm)

If you find yourself in Osaka this winter, make a stop at the Hanky Department Store to check out this indoor illumination display. A giant mirror ball set in the atrium spreads colored light across the Christmas

Recommended resources for this project

Software: Beersmith2 v 2.3 Podcasts:
Beersmith Radio #72 (January 04, 2014)
Brewing with Style - Belgian Golden Strong (November 30, 2015)
Hardware: Anova (Sous Vide controller)

My first homebrewing attempts were in the mid-eighties, using probably stale malt syrups, questionable methods, and generic dry yeasts. The results were predictably poor, but it was fun to at least try to produce an alternative to the fizzy light domestic lagers of that era.

After coming to Japan, I revisited the hobby, but with new challenges: sourcing ingredients, and lack of space. When a friend of mine moved into an old house with fruiting persimmon trees, we searched and found a homebrew supply shop in Kobe run by an enthusiast, and she accepted orders by fax, and shipped CoD. We used the ripe fruit, well water, quality canned malt syrup, fresh yeast, and my tiny kitchen to brew a Persimmon Ale. Finally, real beer! The recipe had been improvised, but luckily the power of the fruity sweetness masked off-flavors. It was a big step forward, and encouraged me to try real styles from time to time.

These days, there are a few homebrew suppliers across Japan with on-line ordering, amazing ranges of grains and hops, and almost instant shipping. In the last few years, I have continued to experiment and brew several styles, using recipes that I crudely scaled to match my equipment. As experiments with small batch sizes, I could practice with a wide variety of variables, and learn a lot along the way.

"Nen echten Duvel";
in pursuit of
Belgian Strong Ale

While I could continue in this fashion, I was inspired (by the Belgian Beer Festival in Yokohama) to focus on one particular style, and try to perfectly emulate a production version; Belgian Strong Ale by Duvel. I learned from reading, listening to podcasts, and using special recipe-scaling software, several aspects to success with this style:

1. Mash schedule (long time / low temp for fuller fermentability and dry finish)
2. Aeration / adding invert sugar during fermentation (usually an oxidization risk)
3. Temperature control / adjustment during fermentation (water and ice bath to start cool, then ramp up over few days)
4. High pressure bottles (re-used Belgian small bottles with thick glass / deep punts)

My second attempt (codename: D2) is almost true-to-style, but my next attempt will include some refined steps to simplify / accelerate the process without sacrificing quality. After that, I want to conquer the final variable that separates mine from the original, which is clarity. This usually requires weeks undisturbed at freezing or slightly below, before bottling, but there are some possible mechanical methods to try first.

If anyone wants to help on a brew day, or just in a sample of the style, just let me know!