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Hokkaido, Japan: Handling Transition (Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, Kamuy & Okikurmi and Oki Dub Ainu Band)

By Alex Wood

In this episode, Alex and Travis (we miss you James!) to the magical island of Hokkaido in Northern Japan. We talk about the indigenous people to the land called The Ainu (2:03). The forced assimilation of the Ainu into Japanese culture is also discussed (5:30). Then, we cover the representation of Ainu people in popular culture (8:24). The tunnel built to connect Hokkaido to mainland Japan is discussed (11:39).    We then get into the Spirit Drink and the creator of Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, Masataka Taketsuru and his purpose of studying in Scotland (13:31). We talk about how he met his wife Rita (14:25) in Scotland and the married couple moving to Japan (15:11). We discuss the impact and change in the lives of the couple when World War II starts (17:06). We then talk about the presentation and aroma of the bottle (22:37) before giving it a taste and our thoughts.   The conversation switches to the divine beings of the Ainu culture called The Kamuy (38:10). This switches to the tale of a demigod famous in Ainu mythology named, Okikurmi (44:09). We talk about his origins and his famous struggle with the wind goddess Pikatakamuy (48:45).   We switch to the remix and the Japanese highball and give our thoughts (1:00:50).   Finally, we get into the Lyrics portion of the episode in which we talk about Oki Kano and his group Oki Dub Ainu Band (1:06:27). We discuss his time in New York and how he finds out about his biological father (1:12:43). We then talk about when he is gifted the musical instrument of his ancestors, The Tonkori (1:17:40) and how it inspired Oki Kano to move to Hokkaido (1:21:54). Finally, we talk about his unique sense of style (1:27:32) and discuss a few musical selections off the album Utarhythm (1:30:07).

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