The other day at Negishi Shinrin Park, one of Yokohama’s most renowned parks when it comes to cherry blossom viewing, was in full bloom. It’s quite customary for Japanese to drink sake or tea along with eating some delicious snacks under cherry blossom trees this time of year. For me, it’s always nihonshu ( Rice Brew) and some delicious seasonal dishes like sakura mochi,(sweet sticky rice ball) or some onigiri ( plain rice ball).
That day I was so lucky because before I had came to the park I was able to purchase two packs of jumbo gyoza from a kiosk inside a super market by the JR Negishi Station. The lady at the kiosk was visiting from Utsunomiya, a well-known city in Tochigi, Japan for its legendary gyoza. She was selling four gyoza per pack, so I bought two packs of freshly grilled gyoza then ran to the liquor store and picked up two small bottles of Japanese sake.
The first sake:
Sake Name: Kotsuzu
Translation: Small Charm
Ginjo Nama;sweet and dry. It's from Yamagata prefecture, and made especially for this season. This is one sake I would definitely order for cherry blossom viewing. It was a bit sweet, yet mild and worked well for maximum viewing pleasure.
Sake Name: Karakuchi Namacho: Junmai
Super dry type with an elegant tail. I am tempted to order a larger bottle because it was so delicious. You can’t go wrong with this one. It was excellent.
( Make no mistake, these were huge gyoza!)
Sitting there and sipping on this delicate tasting super dry sake while nibbling on these mammoth sized gyoza was heaven. There were so many children running and playing around while I was enjoying this feast. I could smell spring and other floral scents permeating from the cherry blossom trees in front of me. I stuck my nose in the sake cup to catch a whiff of this fruity, floral sake along with the outside spring breeze.
I moved the sake around in my mouth, exhaled and then swallowed. The after-taste and inhalation of outside air was fantastic. I was experiencing ohanami! Another pleasant breeze came, and then I think I was on my second gyoza and a half when I noticed this little three year old girl being knocked down to the ground by her big brother. She burst into tears and ran to her father with her cute little Mickey Mouse stockings and skirt dragging down by her little feet. It was funny and sweet, because after she found daddy everything was OK. No more tears.
No more tears….