Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apparently I am an American Idiot

...for being so late to the party on this one!

Green Day - American IdiotI am speaking, of course, of Green Day's 2005 effort, "American Idiot", which I do not hesitate to call the best rock concept album of this century. Holy shit! This is the leftist answer to the likes of American idiots like Toby Keith (yeah, as if angry jingoistic bullshit will help "win" the "War" on "Terror").

One of my personal favourite lines from the album is this one:
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Now, let the debate begin on whether this is a punk rock album. I hold that punk more an attitude than a musical style, and Green Day's (correctly) anti-(fucking idiotic) establishment stance is very much in keeping with punk rock stalwarts such as The Clash ("Know Your Rights", anyone?). Three cords and yelling do not punk rock make, kids.

SFB, care to comment?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mitsuya's Liquor

Or Sam's Town Strikes Back.

It has been quite busy recently, so I've not had a chance to blog much, but we took a walk over to Daiso and Mitsuya's today, so I figured I'd dust off this entry and add a few photos to my directions.

Sam dusts off a bottle of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV for me.

I went into Sam's tonight to restock my beer fridge with a bottle each of Балтика 3 Классическое and Heather Ales Kelpie Seaweed Ale, and decided while I was there to grab a bottle of the bubbly to celebrate the end of a truly hellish work week. Sam recommended the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV, a real value at ¥1,450, and I was not disappointed. I am not a big champagne fan, but this was a very nice, dry one that even I could appreciate.

So if you too want to experience the magic that is Mitsuya's Liquor, clicky clicky for the map.


  • From Tokyo Metro Minami-Asagaya Station (南阿佐ケ谷):
      Minami-Asagaya Station, exit 2b
    1. Assuming you are coming from Shinjuku, get off the train and take the transfer passage under the tracks--it is in the middle of the platform--to the other side (if you are coming from Ogikubo simply stay on the same platform), then go out the turnstiles and up the stairs.
    2. Alley leading into the shopping arcade
    3. The left fork of the stairs (exit 2b) will dump you out in front of the Suginami-ku-yakusho (杉並区役所--ward office).
    4. Turn right and walk in front of the kuyakusho, taking the first right, which is a little path between the kuyakusho and Asagaya Middle School (阿佐ケ谷中文).
    5. The path will take you out behind the fenced-in playground of the school and to a small alley.
    6. Mituya's from the Minami-Asagaya Station side
    7. Turn left to follow the fence, then right with the alley when it turns (approximately 30 metres).
    8. The alley will dead-end into a shopping arcade; turn left, take five steps or so and Mitsuya's will be on the right-hand side of the arcade (you'll recognise it by the beer and wine bottles in boxes out front).

  • From JR Asagaya Station (阿佐ケ谷):
      Asagaya Station, North Exit
    1. Take the North Exit, then turn left and walk to the corner of the main street (there is a McDonald's across the street more or less in front of you).
    2. Cross the street, then the entrance to the shopping arcade will be horizontally to your right (at two o'clock on the dial of a watch, or at an angle of roughly 50 degrees--one radian?).
    3. Pass a Book-Off on the left
    4. Head into the arcade, and follow it for roughly 600 metres (you will pass a Laox on the right, then a Book-Off on the left, then a Peacock on the left).
    5. After you pass the Peacock, you will pass two alleys on the left, and Mitsuya will be on your left hand side, on the corner of the second alley.
    6. Pass a Peacock on the left
    7. Again, look for boxes of beer and wine out front.

Mitsuya's from the Asagaya Station side

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Whiskey, You're the Devil

You're leading me astray /
Over hills and mountains /
and to Amerikay /
You're sweetness from the Bleachner /
and spunkier than tea /
oh whisky you're my darling drunk or sober!

Oh yes; I've done it again; I've been drinking again and having too much fun!

First and foremost, I'd like to give shoutouts to mah boyz: Erin, Keith, Mauro, Pietro (capiche, paisan?), Edward, Alberto AKA Prez fo' Life, Lyle (nice to see you again, playah; let's make it twice a year from now on!), Dave B., Curt (you fake American Canuck you!), Edward "Holdin' Down His Set" Wri-zite, Marty and Karen, et al. Nice to meet Kim, Marty and Karen's awesome Irish guest (let's just call him Dougal), miscellaneous 日本人 (sorry gents, you did not give me cards and I cannot remember your names).

Big props to everyone who was man (or woman: Karen) enough to partake of The King of Beers (ビールの王様). Sorry 'bout that, Edward. ;)

Much fun was had, much beer was drunk; I am proud to say we exhausted Town Cryer's supply of Bass, Anchor Steam, and some other beer that is not coming to mind at the moment.

Yeah, TLUG nomikai; act like ya know!

Soundwave Presents the Mos Def CollectionIn other news, hot shit includes:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ogikubo Yuki

I have no idea who this Ogikubo Yuki chick is, but she must be pretty famous, since they are always talking about her at the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line stations: 「一番線に荻窪行きが参ります。」

Lyani and I left a sleeping Kai in his grandmother's loving care and set off for Ogikubo this afternoon. We walked the back way, and were treated to parts of our picturesque little neighbourhood that we've never seen before. Suginami-ku is overflowing with greenery and flowers (those of you who think Tokyo is an ugly city really need to pop over this way and have a look-see), providing a lovely olfactory as well as visual treat for the pedestrian. This we knew. What we did not know is that people with a penchant for building unique and at times bizarre houses seem to flock to our little section of the -ku. There are two houses that we know of that are completely covered with ivy, with only the main door clear. There are houses that look like they belong in 17th century Holland, and houses that look like they belong in 23rd century floating cities. Words really cannot describe the fascinating stuff around here; I owe you all some pictures. Stay tuned.

We went to Ogikubo ostensibly for some grocery shopping, but mainly just to take a walk and enjoy each other's company. Mission accomplished, we arrived at Ogikubo Station with light hearts and lighter stomachs. Kentucky Fried Chicken I had a craving for some greasy chicken, and The Colonel was only too happy to oblige. I got the "Red Hot Chicken", which lived up to its name only inasmuch as it had a slightly reddish hue. The hot? Not so much. I also got a biscuit for desert, and really craved some butter on it, so I asked the cashier if they had any. She looked at me as if I were crazy and said no. I sighed and accepted the packet of Honey Maple Imitation Sweet Sticky Shite Sauce that comes with biscuits here in the Land of the Rising Diabetes Rate and started humming "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" softly to myself, a nostalgic tear forming in the corner of one eye as I dreamed of buttermilk biscuits slathered thickly with high-fat butter, washed down with a thick glass of buttermilk, extra butter please.

Give me butter!

Speaking of butter, we went to this fancy-smancy French restaurant a couple of weeks back when my boss was in from Seattle, and they had this butter that cost ¥500 it was so good. As if the Hokkaido butter that they dispensed gratis was not good enough. But, to quote the immortal John Travolta when presented with a five dollar shake, "Goddamn! That's a pretty fuckin' good milk shake pat of butter... I don't know if it's worth five dollars, but it's pretty fuckin' good."

I also was pleased to see that I spoke better Japanese than the Japanese register jockey. The fast-food staple phrase, "For here or to go?" in Japanese is rendered, 「店内でお召しあがりますか?」 ("Ten'nai de omeshi-agarimasu ka?"). To which the お客様 (okyaku-sama--the customer/god) replies 「はい」 (hai) if he is, or 「いいえ、持ち帰りです。」 ("iie, mochi-kaeri desu"--"no, takeout (please)") if he's in a hurry and must to blow this popcorn stand. But this teenager had shortened it to 「お召しあがりますか?」 ("omeshi-agarimasuka?"), which means, precisely, "Are you eating (oh most honoured and wonderful customer/god, to which I am not even scum upon the pond into which you urinate, most honourable and with a vigorous golden stream, glistening in the sun that has risen solely to honour your most honourable self... &c.)?" I should have replied, 「いや、見るだけのつもりですけど。。」 ("No, I was planning on just looking...").

Japanese people do not know no keigo no mo', unlike me, master of my own language and dabbler in theirs. Ain't ah thuh most smartest kid in skool, Mamma?

Anyway, we had us some finger-lickin' good chicken, then hit the Seiyu for to get our grocery on. I hit the jackpot by locating ice cream, which has all but disappeared from Japanese grocery stores and konbini in the past year (any Japan experts know WTF? Ota? Matthew?)--I am convinced there is some sort of conspiracy on. Maybe the Keizai Yakuza are shorting chocolate or something.

Then it was back to our station, where Lyani lit out for home with the hard-won chocolate ice cream clutched tightly in her hands, and I popped up to スタバ to procure some Arabian Mocha (also known as the crack rock of coffees).

cocaineThat reminds me of a funny story Keith told us at lunch yesterday. This Bolivian guy is stopped at the airport in Zurich by Swiss customs officials. He's importing this big 13kg (26 pounds or so) wheel of Bolivian cheese. Into Switzerland, a country famed almost as much for its cheese-making. as for its banking and chocolate producing. So they inspect this wheel of cheese, and needless to say (so why am I saying it?), beneath a thin veneer of cheese was tightly packed Bolivian White. Yeah, cocaine, baby. Awesome.

Teppanyaki chefStopped by Mitsuya's Liquor on the way home to pick up a bottle of Red Stripe and one of Tusker. Oh yeah, and a bottle of Napolean brandy, which is the closest thing to rakiya that I can find in Japan. Sam was there, so I asked him more about his personal history, and it turns out he spent 10 years in the good 'ol U.S. of A., in Tex-ahw and North Carolina. He was nothing other than a teppanyaki chef at Benihana's. I asked him if he can still do all the samurai badass stuff on the grill, and he said, "Yeah. I wanna do that stuff out on the street near here. There is this big festival in the summer every year, and I keep meaning to do a demonstration. It would blow people's minds, man."

Teppanyaki, you see, while not exactly a for-export-only product, in Japan is is just basically stuff cooked on an iron grill (鉄板 means "iron plate", and 焼き means "to grill"), minus all the showmanship.

Sam never ceases to amaze me. The next entry will be solely an advert for his beer store, with fancy Google Maps and the whole nine yards.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


You may have noticed Google AdSense links have appeared on my blog.

I harbour no illusions of these ads actually generating meaningful revenue, but I am curious about AdSense for two reasons:

  1. I want to see how it works so I can possibly use it for websites or webapps in the future, and

  2. I wonder what kinds of ads will be generated for the crazy-ass content I have on this blog. :)

If you really hate the ads, say so in the comments, and I will consider removing them. But you have to have a pretty good reason, as I think the AdSense stuff is pretty unobtrusive and does a good job of generating links to stuff I actually might care about.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

So, How Cool is Neal Stephenson?

Amazon.comYesterday was a day that reminded me how lucky I am to work for Amazon.

I started out the day by interviewing a candidate for an internal transfer to a new team under our umbrella (mobile retail). One of the coolest things about working for Amazon is that they encourage you to try new things; if you get burned out or bored with your job, apply for a different job with Amazon. This is an extremely good idea for a lot of reasons, but mainly because we have a lot of very smart people working for us--if our highly selective hiring process is working right--and why not give them chances to grow their career or try a different career with us instead of losing their talents and brains? I got my current job through an internal transfer, so maybe I am a bit biased. ;)

Anyway, internal candidates are given preferential treatment in two ways:

  1. They skip the phone screen stage (where we reject over 90% of candidates; anyone involved in hiring for engineering positions can surely understand this), and

  2. All other things being equal, and internal candidate always gets the offer over an external candidate.

The guy who I was interviewing was an absolute joy to talk to. He was a very smart, interesting guy, he knew his Computer Science backwards and forwards (which he should, since he has a Ph.D. therein; but some Ph.D.s seem to completely forget the basics due to an extreme focus on their specific research area) and best of all, he was passionate about his work.

The last interview I did for an internal transfer candidate also went very much like this. Interviewing is fun and rewarding when you get good candidates, people you cannot wait to work with.

Roppongi Academy HillsRight after the interview, I wrote my feedback like a good boy (Joel would be so proud), then popped out for lunch with Mauro and Keith. We went to TGI Friday, where we were met by our esteemed fellow TLUGger, Erin. We dined lustily on haute cuisine Américaine, then the three Amazonians rushed back to Cross Tower to get on a bus for Roppongi Academy Hills, for a special all-hands meeting with none other than Jeff Bezos.

All-hands meetings have been described as pep rallies, and I suppose that's basically fair. If so, this meeting was a resounding success, as I had a great time and came out of it feeling more energised and excited about the future of the company, &c.

Jeff BezosJeff Bezos is an extremely engaging speaker. He is funny, thoughtful, and modest with no traces of false humility. He had come to Japan to announce the launch of Amazon Prime, which is our "all you can eat" free shipping service. I am proud to say the Japan is the first international Amazon site (the others being Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Canada) to launch Prime, and I am even prouder to say that we on the Anywhere team launched Prime on the mobile phone site at the same time as the PC site.

Neal StephensonThere was a Q&A session at the end of the meeting, and someone asked the typical Japanese question, 「趣味は何ですか?」 (what is your hobby?). Jeff replied that his primary hobby was fatherhood, then went on to talk a little about Blue Origin. I just had to ask a follow-up question: "So, how cool is Neal Stephenson?"

Jeff laughed at that, then explained briefly who Neal Stephenson is ("metaverse" was the only word the Japanese interpreters had trouble with all day) and why he is relevant to Blue Origin, then he answered my question thusly:

"Very cool."

Kinda sums up the whole day for me. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Game Theory, Selfishness, Economics, Science, and Beer

In that order!

Scientific American June 2007 issueThere was the a very interesting article in the June 2007 issue of Scientific American about game theory that got me thinking. The article was written by the inventor of Traveller's Dilemma, which is a simple game devised as an experiment to test some principles of game theory.

It works like this: you and another person return on a plane from a tropical island. Both of you pack a souvenir that you bought on the island in your checked baggage. Predictably, your baggage is handled roughly, and the souvenir is reduced to fragments. The man in charge of the baggage claim desk has to reimburse you for your loss, but he doesn't want to overpay. So to keep you honest, he offers the following deal: both you and the other passenger write the cost of the souvenir, which can be no less than $2 and no more than $100. If both of you write the same number, he will assume that you are both honest and pay you that amount. However, if one person writes a lower amount than the other, he will assume the lower amount is the real price and pay you both that amount, but with an honesty bonus of $2 to the person who wrote the lower amount and a dishonesty penalty of $2 to the person who wrote the higher number.

For example, if you write $55, but the other passenger writes $45, he would get $47 (the low price of $45 plus the $2 honesty bonus) and you would get $43 ($45 minus the dishonesty penalty of $2).

Got all that?

Now how would you play the game? Your first instinct might be to simply write $100, or some other very high number ($98, $95, etc.). But the optimal strategy is actually to write $2!

It may sound counter-intuitive until you run the logic a bit. Here is an example of the voices inside the heads of the two players:

You think: I'll write $100.
He thinks: I could write $100... but if he writes $100, I'll write $99, that way I'll get $101 instead of just $100!
You think: But what if that bastard writes $99, thinking I'll write $100? I'll show him! I'll write $98, and thus get $100 even though he tried to screw me by undercutting my bid.
He thinks: But what if he is thinking this way too? I'd better write $97, so if he writes $98 to try and beat me, I'll still get $99.
You think: I've got it! I'll write $2, the lowest allowable, and there is nothing he can do to screw me over!
He thinks: I have to write $2, or otherwise he can undercut me.

Congratulations, you have arrived at the optimal strategy: $2. And since so has he, you guys are mired in the Nash equilibrium (yes, named after that John Nash).

But the interesting thing that Dr. Basu--the author of the article and inventor of the game--points out, people tend not to play as dickeshly as that. His conclusion is that humans have an altruistic instinct that is in constant conflict with the selfish one, and that models that start with the assumption that people are going to make decisions rationally and selfishly tend to get hack-tacular when they are munged to reflect people's actual observed behaviour.

This is the old argument: must a theory be elegant to be correct? Does nature allow for ugly models?

Stephen Hawking is an interesting chap, and he has an interesting viewpoint on reality. He subscribes to the so-called positivist doctrine, saying that a good scientific theory must make predictions about a wide variety of phenomena that can then be observed experimentally. Following from this is the idea that reality is completely subjective, that different mathematical models can be equally valid and equally basic if their predictions agree with observations. So this would mean that ugly theories can be as valid as elegant ones, but the history of science has often showed us that mathematical ugliness hides a flaw in the theory or the maths.

(Seems like I read a book review in SciAm a few months back on a book that talked all about elegance in mathematical models... I think it may well have been Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry.)

Anyway, returning to the Traveller's Dilemma, the observation that people do not play selfishly and reduce the TD to a zero-sum game is a very interesting result. Classical economic libertarianism, as espoused by Adam Smith et al., assumes that people do act selfishly, and the very act of everyone trying to serve his self-interest above all regulates the market. Hence the invisible hand.

So most studies of economics and game theory have assumed, until fairly recently, that people will be selfishly rational. Seeing as how this is not necessarily the case might complicate the question, but should simplify the maths.

However, these experiments have been carried out on people, not corporations. It seems to me that corporations as a whole probably do act in a rational, selfish way, controlled by the aggregate authority of their shareholders (or, in the case of private firms, stakeholders). So maybe classical economics is not dead yet. I need to read more about game theory and how it has developed in the latter half of the 20th century in order to understand its implications for global capitalism.

There was plenty of other good stuff in this month's issue of SciAm (and every month's issue, for that matter): an article on network coding; another on an alternate hypothesis to the RNA world one to explain the origin of life (isn't it great that Wikipedia has an "Origin of life" category!?); a bold new idea in the depressing field of conservation; etc.

Which leads me to my next point, that popular science is a wonderful and important thing. Today's scientific fields are so specialised and technical that it is very difficult for a layman to understand the exciting work going on. This simply means that scientists must work harder, because a public that is enthusiastic about science is one that is more likely to push for their elected representatives to fund science (other than extremely dubious weapons research).

Some scientists and laymen alike are rising to the task, and here are three fantastic books I've read about science in the last year, in order of ascending excellence:

  1. A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson - a fantastic history of scientific thought, theory, and of the characters who did the thinking and theorising. This really is the best general introduction to the foundations of modern science that I have seen. It covers everything from how our solar system formed to how human civilisation arose to the structure of an atom, and much more.

  2. The Universe in a Nutshell, by the great Stephen Hawking - Though not as good as the next book I'll talk about, TUiaN is a wonderful look at the basics of string theory, supergravity, M-theory, parallel universes, black holes that ain't so black, quarks, massless force-carrying virtual particles, and my all-time favourite, imaginary time. Simply brilliant. But wait, it gets better, with...

  3. The Illustrated Brief History of Time, also by mah homey S-dot. This book is beautiful in every way, from the lavish illustrations to the thick, creamy paper to the lively prose to the mind-blowing science. Stephen Hawking makes science more exciting than anyone, and the most amazing thing about ABoT is how accessible it is without being dumbed down. Dr. Hawking leaves all of the ideas in and only omits the maths, which are frankly over our heads anyway. :) Just buy this book, or check it out from the library or something. But read it! Now!

Ah yes, beer. I have not forgotten you, my constant companion! I've been having tremendous fun with I started using it just as a way to keep track of the interesting beers I've tried, and what I thought of them, but I now find myself addicted to beer tasting. I swore that I would never be one of those haughty-taughty types that drank their beer only from a glass and remarked on the palate of the brew, etc. But damnit, it is just so much fun!

So yes, my hobby is now beer tasting. Unlike wine tasting, however, you get to actually swallow the stuff. If you care to, you can probably keep up with my adventures on my beer rating page.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sam's Town, Redux

Sam's Beer Store is also known as Mitsuya Liquors. I'll provide an address and directions soon, as all of my readers who are located in Tokyo will want to make for it with the quickness.

I rated both the Cave Creek Chili Beer and the Taybeh Golden 2.3 out of 5, but for very different reasons. You may be able to see the details at without logging in, but the gist of it is that the Chili Beer was not beer as much as Picante Salsa without the chunks, very interesting but without any beerlike redeeming qualities, while the Taybeh was a perfect copy of a German pale lager, except minus any especially good taste. It reminded me of the worst Bulgarian beers, which is no insult. I certainly believe the superlative on the label: "The best beer in the Middle East".

But give me a Kamenitsa or a Zagorka any day. :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sam's Town

Cave Creek Chili BeerOr How I Located the Finest Beer Store in Japan.

We have lived in Suginami-ku for almost exactly six months now, but I just found out the best beer store in Japan is a 15 minute walk from our house about six weeks ago. There is this little shopping arcade connecting the nearby Tokyo Metro station and the JR station, and it has the usual assortment of liquor stores, among the cafes, massage parlours, drug stores, &c. I had noticed a time or two that one particular liquor store had a few import beers on display outside, among them Sam Adams, one of my personal favourites. But never did I venture into said store, for reasons unknown to me.

So one day, I come home from work to find Lyani grinning like the Cheshire Cat. She said she had a surprise for me, and that I should open the refrigerator post haste. I did so, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a bottle of Sam Adams, the perfect beer. Lyani said that she had visited the aforementioned liquor store and got me a Sammy, which to my great surprise was only 300 yen or so. I had seen Sam Adams elsewhere in Japan, but for double that price. She also told me that it was hard to find it inside, because they had so much beer. I assumed that she meant so much Japanese beer (for the big Japanese breweries--Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo--each produce a stunning assortment of varieties, all tasting more or less alike), but she told me of beers with Cyrillic labels, Chinese labels, Spanish labels, etc.

Needless to say (so why am I saying it?) I had to see this marvel for myself. So I made for the liquor store of legend the next time I needed beer (no, not five minutes after I finished the Sam Adams, but that is a reasonable guess, for those of you who know me). And Lyani was not mistaken. This little store had given over the entire back wall to beer coolers--four in all--offering at least 100 varieties of import beers and Japanese microbrews (of which there are sadly few).

Taybeh Golden beerBut wait; it gets better!

One day, Lyani and I were returning along this shopping arcade from the grocery store, and we stopped in the Beer Store, as I had started calling it, for to pick up something interesting. I bought two bottles, and the cashier rang them up: 641 yen. I was paying attention to the register, so I did not notice that he had said "roppyaku yon jyuu en" (640 yen) whilst I fished in my pocket for change. I dropped 641 on the counter, at which point Lyani, who had been listening instead of looking, told me, "without the one". I picked up the one yen coin, and the bag, then turned to Lyani and said, "Oh, I thought it was 641." To which the cashier said, "It was. I took one off." In American-accented English!

Those of you who do not live in Japan may not appreciate how shocked I was. You have probably heard that all Japanese people study English for ten years in school, and you may be under the illusion that this means they can speak it. You would be quite surprised, then, to hear that even in Tokyo, the vast majority of Japanese people cannot understand English unless it is spoken to them directly, slowly, simply, and accompanied by generous hand gestures. So to have a Japanese guy understand what I had said to Lyani out of the side of my mouth was impressive enough. So have said dude reply not "itto wazzu, ai tsukku wan", but in American English blew my mind, man.

Anyway, I was too flustered by this development to say anything beyond, "thanks", but the next time I went to the Beer Store, I made a point to ask this guy what his story, and the story of the Beer Store itself, was. It turned out that he had lived in America for some time, and he just really liked beer. I complimented him profusely on his selection, telling him that it rivalled all but the very best American beer specialty stores, and it was surely the best beer selection I had ever encountered in Japan. He asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Japan, and when I told him I was working for Amazon, he replied, "Oh, so you know Jimmy, then?" Jimmy being a software engineer who sits right next to me at work!

So I have been taking advantage of this excellent selection of beers for about six weeks now. Today, I picked up a bottle of Cave Creek Chili Beer (the link is to a Flash site, but it might be worth clicking on it to see a anthromorphic chili pepper kick the shite out of a lime)--a lager spiced up by the addition of a whole chili pepper!--and one of Taybeh Golden beer, which is brewed in the West Bank, Palestine. I have not drunk either of these yet, but here are a few varieties that I have enjoyed over the past few weeks:

  • Singha (Thailand): a really crappy Southeast Asian lager. Not much in the way of flavour, but I am sure that is OK on a blazing hot day in Bangkok. I'll have to ask my sister Bethany if she's ever had it in its native environment.
  • Tiger Beer (Singapore): a crappy Asian lager, but not as bad as Singha, no matter what says.

  • An Indonesian one that I cannot remember the name of, but it was the best non-Japanese Asian lager by far.

  • A Brazilian Pilsner that was really excellent.

I'll be sure to let you know how the Chili Beer turns out.