Shochu (image by EricGJerde)
Your days of getting bombed off sake are over. Be a gentleman and have some shochu.
Shochu does not have a backstory that excites the palate. It was reportedly used to sterilize wounds of Japanese soldiers during WWII. In post-war Japan, shochu’s reputation improved a bit, but it was still known as a cheap high. You could (and still can) buy a canned version called chu-hai (which is mixed with fruity sodas) at vending machines.
But mirroring the tequila boom of a decade ago, high-end shochu is having a moment on both sides of the Pacific. Read more about it here.
Cyclists on the seawall encircling central Vancouver.
Green cityscapes, glass skyscrapers, grand mountains, and a gracious embrace of diversity make Vancouver a natural for the sporty gay. But come late July, southwestern British Columbia should be about the queerest place on the continent: There’s the city’s Queer Arts Festival (July 26–August 13), Vancouver Pride (July 25-31), and the North America Outgames (July 25-31), when this Olympic region again proves its athletic prowess. Competitors from as far away as Uganda will compete in various sports — a 10k run in Stanley Park, an EcoChallenge and Alpine marathon in Whistler, poker — and the event will hold an affiliated human rights conference …
Despite its name, Queen Village isn’t the official Gayborhood of Philly. That’s about 10 blocks away, officially called Midtown Village and decorated with rainbow-colored street signs.
But Queen Village (named for Queen Christina of Sweden) is gay-popular. It’s a low-slung district of narrow streets and brick-fronted row homes, just west of the Delaware River and south of Independence Hall. The original 17th-century settlers were Swedish, but just about everyone else has passed through since: Fabric Row on South Fourth Street is a historically Jewish stretch where some two dozen stores still cater to design-on-a-dime shoppers; the landmark Italian Market is just west; and by the ‘80s, young Philadelphians were flocking here for club clothes, cheap jewelry, tattoos, and cheesesteaks worth a half-hour queue…
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Philadelphia’s Funky Queen Village