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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...


Back in the day when I was traveling all over Japan, I remember seeing old Japanese men drinking either beer or nihonshu for breakfast.  In fact I recall a time when I was staying at an onsen ryoukan overnight once, a very old rustic onsen actually, where the only people who frequent such places are old people, I could see these old people ordering up sake with their breakfast—imagine that.  Eggs, fish and sake.  

For me, there is nothing like waking up on a dazzlingly beautiful Sunday morning, tucked away  in an old rustic onsen hotel in a deep valley somewhere with nothing to do and with no care in the world, no schedules, no appointments—just free.   The morning sun is so radiant and so powerful this time of day, but even the radiance of the sun is calmed by the deep blue hues of the clear cloudless morning sky.  I exhale. 

The  best smells in all of life for me are Japanese womb, nihonshu, hot rice, onsen, coffee, smegma, biore shampoo, lion heart cologne, brown tea, green tea, broiled fish, chicken karaage, and tatami, sometimes even tabacco.

I can also recall the aroma of onsen  from a mineral rich  natural hot spring  permeating from my bath towel from last nights dip. 

Today, now that I am officially living in my new mansion, alone, thanks to my connections I am inaugurating this day with a nihonshu breakfast of champions; sashimi, sake, and homemade miso soup! 
The sake in the picture is called “Daijirou” and its from Shiga prefecture, home of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan.  The sake itself came highly recommended from the store clerk yesterday when I was browsing around for a seasonal sake for breakfast.    The guy mentioned that this is not only good, but organic.   The sake is a Jyunmai Ginjyo, Nama Genshu, and it is brewed by Hata Shuzo in Shiga prefecture.  The rice used is organic YamadanishikiI can even taste  faint hints of pine and hinoki in the after-taste.   Just lovely.

Alc: 17.5
Nihonshudo: plus 3
Acid 1.8

The flavor profiles were excellent and quite typical of a sake of this class; Fruity, complex, well balanced, clean finish.  One of the best sake I have had since the Shimane tasting event.   Actually, this is the best sake I have had all year.  It’s almost 11am and I’ve already drunk half of the bottle down.
What better way to spend a weekday morning than in a clean new mansion, fresh sashimi, pipe and hot miso soup, and very cold sake!?  There’s even a clear blue sky out today.


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