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After the book-signing at Junkudo Hakata, I went "backstage" into the staff area to spend some time with Junkudo staff.

This is Chiyomi, the children's book buyer, and she had given me some lovely postcards of Fukuoka and a very beautiful Japanese children's book as a gift. Later, when I get home, I will try and take some pictures to show you the story.

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I remember when I was first going to come to Japan back in 1998. I read all these western guide books to prepare myself for Japanese culture and one of the things the books all said was how "stand-offish" the Japanese are and how they did not like you to touch them. Oh? I think the writers of these books have visited a different Japan than I have.

Chiyomi and I again:

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Then Mr. Nakamura, the manager of Junukdo Hakata presents me with a bottle of very special alcohol called "shochu" which is a native product of Kyushu. Most westerners are familiar with saki, but in this part of Japan, when they say "saki" they actually mean this distilled alchohol called "shochu". Shochu is made from one of several raw materials, including sweet potato, (shochu made from this is called "imo-jochu.") Other materials commonly used include from rice, soba (buckwheat), and barley. So this is a very special treat indeed.

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