It's great to be back in the US. The scent of newly cut grass, long afternoons capped by a Napa table red, some home baked crackers (rosemary, parmesan and oregano, crusted with sea salt), a selection of reasonably priced cheese, and home canned heirloom tomatoes (courtesy of my Tuscany-loving friend).
Not that you can't have these in Tokyo (well, except for newly cut grass, since my compatriots thought it necessary to cement over every open patch of land), but it would have been more a grand affair than a pleasant afternoon at home, not to mention, far less affordable. And the scent of woodlands with actual songbirds all around would be hard to replicate.
After considerable thought (and unquaffable Japanese wine), I've decided to submit to the immutable and wiser laws of winemaking, and go to where the grapes grow best. We are debating if that is southern France, Tuscany, or some undiscovered part of Eastern Europe bordering the Adriatic Sea. (Australia and So. America are on the list as well, but we are draw to the lifestyle in Europe that has been cultivated over centuries of slow and decadent decline.)
One of the silver linings of this great credit crisis, and now multi-year economic malaise a la Japan, is that the first growths of Bordeaux and Napa are slashing their prices, some by almost 50%. It is not a bad time to be researching the best.