Skip to main content

Hanami Viewing with Japanese Sake!

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 Classification: Ginjo SMV: +4.0 Acidity: 1.4 Rating: 5.0 Tasting Notes: 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.
kotsuzu
Next up:
Sake Name: Karakuchi Namacho:  Junmai SMV: +8.0 Acidity: 1.3 Rating: 5.0 Tasting Notes: 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.
karakuchinama
The gyoza:
gyoza
( 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.
negishi
No more tears….

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  





Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

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, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…