Sitting in a snug and very well appointed ski cabin in Niseko, several hours outside of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido. It’s snowing – not unusual in an area that annually averages over 45 feet; mostly powder, which has made the area an international drawing card for skiers. Far less developed than resorts in California and Colorado, Niseko attracts skiers from Asia and Australia (and the odd Yank).

The skiing is wonderful; and our grandson Otto, five years old and in his fourth ski season, is already going down the Black Diamond runs.

We spent Christmas in Shanghai. Amazing to see Holiday lights in the main shopping areas rivalling those of New York City. However, Christmas day was just another workday for Shanghai as a whole. The city continues development at breakneck speed, and moving about in the cool (mid 30’s) is far more comfortable than sweating through heat and humidity.


The Irish. Before leaving home, I had the great pleasure, along with Mike Martini and Kaitlyn,
of spend several hours in our Tasting Room with a visitor from Ireland (Mike Tierney) and his son (Mike Tierney). Three Mike Tierneys in a single room may sound excessive, but a jolly good time was had by all.

I was pleased to see evidence of Irish good cheer both in Shanghai (across the street from my son’s place), and in Niseko (right up the street).

Personal hygiene. The toilets in Japan are hands down the best in the world. Heated seats, wash and dry options (sorry, no spin cycle) – give real meaning to the term “quality time.”

We will finish out the week here; then return to Shanghai for a couple of days before going back to the Land of Taft Street Wine. Sapporo, Tsing Tao, and unfiltered sake (surprisingly pleasant) all have their place, but they do not enlighten the mind nor enhance the spirit the way a glass of Taft Street does.


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