Not sure how October passed so quickly, but there were sure many great sake events spread out all through the month. Plus, this month was also very much about some of my other favorite things: Pottery and Doburoku, so I was excited to see so many things happening :)
World Sake Day @ JSS
I love going to the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center, especially when they have an event. So it was great to hear that they were planning to have a Sake Day celebration, including workshops, live music, and of course plenty of sake.
Although the workshops filled up in advance (sold out in a blink) there was a great vibe and lots of people showed up to kanpai and enjoy the small concert.
Michikawa x Takanome Exhibition, Omotesando
I met the guys behind the Takanome labels earlier this year and was excited to be invited to their collaboration event with Michikawa-san. Great to see a pottery exhibition combined with their recently released sake.
They only sell their brand online and it is generally sold out in a heartbeat despite the higher price tag (or maybe because of it?). What is in the bottle? Nobody knows, as they do not share milling rate or brewery - the concept is to let the sake speak for itself.
I heard next up will be an underwater aged sake, so watch out for that..
“Shoujouen” Craft Sake Festival, Shimokita
Back in Tokyo, this time for the 2nd installment of “Shoujouen” at Shimokitazawa’s Bonus Track, and what a beautiful day.
Held earlier this year in Oga, Akita prefecture, this was the first time we saw this event coming to Tokyo and it was great to catch up with some of the rather new Craft Sake Association’s breweries, as they gathered from all over Japan and of course sample some of their great products including some pretty amazing Doburoku 🔥
Bizen Road Trip
With the Sake Mistress (Simone Maynard) in the country, I jumped on the opportunity and on a midnight bus to Kyoto to go on a little road trip with her to one of Japan's famous pottery villages - Bizen!
Joined by Andy Russel from Sake Deep Dive and with pottery Guide extraordinaire Robert Yellin, owner of RY Gallery in Kyoto we visited many shops and galleries including 3 studios. Nakamura, where we met two generations of amazing potters, Makoto and Kazuki Nakamura, Ishida Kazuya, and Jumpei Kaneshige. What a day!
Aged Sake Bar Yoramu
Great evening with plenty of delicious aged sake, along with a few things to nibble on. to be honest I am still surprised when I come here by all the bottles on the shelves and in the fridges and then to hear their stories told by Yoram himself.
Tsuji Honten (Gozenshu) in Katsuyama, Okayama
A truly special day out was the visit to Tsuji Honten, makers of Gozenshu, and meeting Maiko Chikamochi, who not just gave us a tour, but also a lift to the brewery, the rice fields and spent an amazing lunch and afternoon with us :)
It was such an honor to spend time with Maiko-san, who is such a lovely person, humble with a great sense of humor. In fact, I felt like I knew her for years. Another amazing day trip with the Sake Mistress, who so generously invited me on the trip - I am going to miss you a lot, Simone!
Looking forward to coming back to the brewery and got a few ideas for possible future collaborations, so stay tuned.
Shiga Morning Market
My monthly visit to my favorite morning market! This time featuring Yamaji Shuzo and Sato Shuzo. With Yuki-san and Sato-san representing their respective breweries. Worth mentioning were the uber-cool t-shirt by Yamaji Shuzo and their tasty take on a Mulberry sake cocktail.
The Market runs from 8am -11 am and really is as local as it gets, with many craft people, local food, and of course sake. Always impressed by the hot sake part of this as it is such a great opportunity to try sake from Shiga, with the producers. Already looking forward to next month!
Photo, Sake, and rock and roll
A few weeks ago I showed some photos as part of a private sake event in Tokyo. Included were some photos I took at Miyoshikiku sake brewery in Shikoku, where I participated in a sake brewing experience organized by Sake Lovers.
Fast forward to Tsukiji Sake Salon this month, this time we focused only on the brewery, its sake, and its people. As part of the exhibition, I showed photos showcasing Miyoshikiku accompanied by sake from the brewery, with the president and the toji Mamiya-san and two of his daughters (Orie and Koharu) joining the event and talking about their sake.
Such a great evening, again thanks to everyone who came that night and there will be another event soon!
Possibly my new favorite day of the year - “Doburoku Day”!!! Held every year on the 26 of October it is a great reminder of this fantastic beverage that many see as the origin of sake.
Why the 26th of the 10th? Because in Japanese Doburoku is “どぶろく” which can be read as ど= 10, ぶ= 2 and ろく= 6. Hence the date 10.26!
Of course, I joined in on the celebration, and who better than with the guys from Doburoku Lovers (or Dobu Rabu in Japanese). An organization whose sole purpose it is to educate and spread the love of Doburoku. With 20 Doburoku from all over the country to sample and mingle with some of its top producers, this was certainly the event to be at.
Sake and Italian Food
Giulia, my pattern in crime at “Sake Unplugged”, a weekly sake podcast in witch we talk about sake and interview people in the sake industry, has recently started her “Sake and Italian Food Pairing Events” in Tokyo. So it was exciting to experience her tasting firsthand.
What can I say, great sake and great homemade Italian food, and amazing company - we all felt like we were taken on a trip to Italy (with a Japanese twist).
For more info and how to book check out www.jijisake.com/
The Month Ahead
Although the brewing season has officially started and one might think there will be fewer events, I can already say "I don't think so". I have a few exciting events on my calendar already, including Vietnamese sake, sake spring (yes you are reading correctly), some shin-shochu, and more visitors to Japan, meaning this will be another busy yet exciting month!