I just moved to Japan - Okazaki, Aichi to be specific - and am having a bit of a hard time in regards to the beer culture here, or should I say lack thereof. I'm originally from California, where I would imbibe daily on Russian River, Stone, Ballast Point, Deschutes (One of my favorite breweries), Goose Island, and so much more. You know, just like the rest of my fellow BAs. Well, here in Japan it's a completely different story. Sapporo, Kirin, Asahi, and Suntory rule the beer industry, even more so than AB-InBev and SAB combined. Really, it's that bad. What's worse, and I just learned about this, is that Japan taxes beer based on how much malt is used in the ingredients. That means that a six-pack of Sapporo, for example, will cost about 1,300 Yen, or roughly $15. INSANE, right?!?! Now, I'm living on a budget, since I'm here as a student and can't really splurge, so even that is out of my price range. I've resorted to buying TopValu Barreal, which is a daisan (third-tier) happoshu (Beer that uses malt substitutes such as soy) because it has little malt content and is cheap as crap. Today though, I went into Aeon, which is the local supermarket/mall, and found a store that actually has bottles of Stone Pale Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Sculpin, Anchor Steam, and a few other American craft beers. The ridiculous part though? Each 12oz bottle was priced at about 800 Yen, which translates to about $8.50 per. It's like the universe throws me a bone one second, and then slaps me in the face with its big fat dick the next. Luckily, there's a fantastic craft brewery called Baird (They collab'd with Stone for their Green Tea IPA a few years back), which I am close by, but it will still only be a once in a while thing considering a shinkansen ticket to get there will cost about $60. I'm drooling at the thought of visiting their taproom, and the brewers even returned an email to me expressing their excitement at having me come. I gained some solace from that, at least. So my fellow BAs, what I am asking of you is this: how do I cope with not having any good, decently priced brew around? Have any of you been in this predicament, be it within Japan or another country, and if so, what did you do? Should I just suck it up and dream of my cellar back at home, or should I sink to the lower depths and just stick with what I have? Your wisdom is greatly appreciated.