"If I was not in the situation, and I was objectively watching what had happened to this team in the last week, I'd probably be drinking a lot of beers and booing [...] usually I enjoy Japanese beer, but given the situation, if I was objectively watching the game, I wouldn’t care if it was Japanese beer, American beer or beer from Papua New Guinea." -- Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, May 23, 2008Some of the readers of USS Mariner, the best sports blog in creation, including myself, took this as a challenge: Find some Papuan beer and drink it in Ichiro's honor.
Derek Zumsteg, maestro of USSM, quickly ascertained that SP Lager was the stuff we were after. I personally visited the strange and wondrous Big Star beer store up on Northgate Way, but they didn't have it. Others tried Bottleworks on 45th; no luck. Uwajimaya, no. No place. You cannot buy SP Lager, or any other Papuan beer, anywhere in Seattle--nor anywhere in the United States.
So we tried online. I know more than a few of us paid our $13.75, plus $5 shipping. A month later, after no word, I was a little worried, but then I got an email saying it was on the boat. On July 31st of last year, it arrived in LA. Whoo hoo! Beer!
Then the shipping company called. You can't just send beer in a UPS box; it's gotta be shipped like freight. Plus, since it's alcohol, they have arcane rules: if it's over five bottles or cans, I have to become an importer. I have to sign up with the FDA's Industry Systems program, whatever the hell that is, and fill out a Prior Notice Application, which is a million pages long, and I'm going to have to write a letter to US Customs begging for permission to bend the rules just this once. And then I'm going to have to pay the freight forwarder NINETY DOLLARS to pay for their end of the deal.
I said screw it. I told them I was abandoning the shipment. No beer for me. Five bottles of wine and I'd be in the clear; a six-pack and I'm considered to be Heineken all of a sudden.
The reason I'm writing this post now is to provide the coda to this tale of woe. I got a pink letter from the Department of Homeland Security yesterday. They still have my six-pack, and they're going to AUCTION IT OFF. Abandoned property, you know.
Any readers who live near Carson City and have a hankering for beer that's been on a slow boat for a month and a warehouse for a year, be my guest.