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You should not drink anything straight where the name is constructed of two kanji where the first one means to burn or roast (sho) and the last one means alcohol (chu). It is usually mixed to make sours, chuuhai, and the salaryman's favorite, hoppy. On average, shochu's alcohol percentage goes up to the mid 30's.

The southern island of Kyushu is where the most famous and best quality shochu is made, thus, is very popular among and the pride of the people who live in and are from Kyushu. For some natives, many who have been drinking it from an early age, it is the only alcoholic drink that they will consume. As a matter of fact, one of my friends (male Tokyoite), on a trip to Kyushu in September of this year, was put to shame by a 19 year old female who put down two 1liter bottles in one night by herself. Now that is one helluva girl!!!