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Showing posts from March, 2011

SofJ Update March

There has been a lot of unusual geothermal activity going on under Mt. Fujii these days, and about a dozen other volcanoes on this island which only indicate the death knells of time ringing. What we have all learned since the Tohoku-Chiho Earthquake is that what took man centuries to build can be destroyed in an instant by mother nature's wrath. I am humbled at how insignificant we are against the powers that lie underneath our feet, and am grateful to be alive.

(“No one will come back here,” he predicts of his old neighborhood, saying he will stay in town but move further inland.") survivor

I'm still here monitoring the events as they unfold day-to-day. I will not abandon Japan because this is a place that I have chosen to commit myself to. I do not run for the hills, but if others wish to then let me encourage them, I can die here in JAPAN IN THEIR STEAD. There will never be another NIPPON, that's how I see it and I will go down with this TITANIC because everything f…

Kakuemon: 角右衛門

The brewery that makes this sake is called Akita Kimura Shuzo, and the name of the sake I am drinking is called Kakuemon Tokubetsu Junmai Shu. This is a special brew that falls in between a junmai and a junmai ginjo; in other words an especially brewed premium sake.

The breakdown is as follows: Seimaibuai/Remaining Rice = 60%
Sando/Acidity Level =1.6
Alcohol = 16.5
The history of the brewery goes back centuries, which can be reflected in all of its sake. 
Keyword: SMOOTH, like the Akita Beauty. I love the complex fruits I get out of this one, and it's sweet. It's one of those sake you can only get if you are in Japan. It's a modest sake that holds up well to a variety of different dishes and occasions. You never get tired of it. Me and my Jukujo drank down this whole 1.8 liter bottle and crashed down on the mattress and slept deeply for hours.
It's more like an everyday, I-love-sake kind of drink you can binge on and know that you are getti…

Tengumai: Junmai Nama Genshu

The Tengumai brand has become synonymous with words like gamy and wild. What that means in laymen's terms is nihonshu that's tangy and bold flavored. How it gets that way has a lot to do with how bacteria is used during the sake making process called Yamahai(Shikomi). Just know this, sake made this way is the most traditional, and there are only a hand full of brewers who master the technique. The classification this sake falls under is called Junmai/premium ( no alcohol added. Just water and koji). Nama( unpasturized) Genshu (undiluted). The seimaibuai is 60%, which is how much rice is left after milling.
The brewer is called Shata Brewery and they have consistently received gold awards in National Sake Competitions in Japan. The significants for me choosing this sake for tonights posts is because #1 this particular version of the sake I am drinking tonight is *only* available in Japan. #2 because I'm home and all the hot springs in my area are closed due to the quake! #3 …

Earthquake in Japan

So as I type this post all of Japan is on edge for what might be another megaquake, sources tell us. When the first one struck, at approximately 2:44 Tokyo Time last Friday, I was sitting in a Starbucks having a sakura latte. My Macbook was uploading data and for some reason it was unusually slow.I started noticing trimmers under my feet, but nothing too noticeable. Most Japanese, generally speaking, ignore small quakes. I looked up and scanned around the cafe for any visible signs of distress from other patrons. Nothing. Everybody was just chatting it up and giggling over whatever. I looked back down at my keyboard and started typing away again. I stopped for a moment, took a nice full sip of that delightful sakura latte, and kept typing away. Another trimmer, but this time it wouldn't stop. Then there was a big thud and I heard glass shatter across the cafe!

That trimmer went from tiny little massage trimmer to the largest megaquake in recorded history in a blink of an eye! Peop…

Kinpou Shizenshu

One In a Million by Ne-Yo

Back to blogging about sake again. Today was a gorgeous and sunny day in Kanagawa, so I headed over to Kamiooka Station to visit the Keikyu Department store's sake corner, located in the basement. Once there I ran my eyes across so many incredible looking sake bottles, all neatly adorned with beautiful floral patterned labels each commemorating spring. I never get too carried away with labels though, just go for something I know. I'm pretty good at picking them and I chose two very good sake this afternoon! Normally what I do is look for the classification first, of course - junmai. Then, I look for rice and koji information; brewery, and so forth and so on.

First, I would like to point out a few things. There's a lot of talk nowadays about organic sake. Does it taste better? Will this new trend change future sake production? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding "hell no!" Sure, there will be brewers who will experiment …

Real Soba: 湧水

According to investigative journalist Hirokatsu Azuma, Azuma writes, if you eat buckwheat noodles, you can be almost 100% certain you’re eating a Chinese import. About 70% of all buckwheat flour consumed in Japan is sourced from China; but the remaining 30% is served only in the highest class specialty soba restaurants [Japan Times].
Now, this all sounds like a bunch of malarkey to me, especially since the Japanese take so much pride in their culinary legacy. But, for the sake of clarity, I’ll give this writer the benefit of the doubt, being that he is Japanese and that he should know his own cuisines - sorry if I’m sounding a bit unctuous here, I’m mean, you can lead me to the water, but you can’t make me drink. I do still believe that there’re a plethora of good soba shops that use 100% Japanese grown buckwheat noodles, and today I will introduce one. Near Jindaiji, one of the great epicenters of Japanese Edo tradition, located in a sparsely populated enclave in Tokyo, is this gem o…

Yoshiko-Private Body Sushi

My blog has attempted to bring together the things I find to be beautiful both naturally and spiritually, artistic and aesthetically pleasing to the senses in Japan. My focus has always been on Japanese food, nihonshu, the Jukujo, the shrine, and the hotspring experience, and those things which enhance that focus. I have searched far and wide for others with similar qualities, like in the case with Leonardo Fujita, and Toyoshige Watanabe

Both  men express beauty in different forms.   Fujita's was white skinned beauty, Toyoshige's was blackened devil beauty, two polar opposites united. These opposing elements that somehow infuse the whole of humanity stroke after stroke, brush after brush, all somehow merge into one whole defining beauty. All aspects have to be merged and not necessarily reinterpreted, and I think these men have accomplished just that.

Recently, a new talent has emerged on the art scene, a designer, who goes by the name of Andrea Rosagni from Genoa in north…

Honke Maguro

The title goes something like 本家鮪屋(Honke Maguro), an old favorite restaurant of mine I used to go to years ago. NHK had aired a special about Izu's famous Maguro (tuna) one evening and according to the broadcast Izu has a long history with tuna, its own brand of tuna.
When most Japanese think of maguro they think of places like Oma in Aomori, and Tsukiji in Tokyo, or Misaki in Yokosuka which all claim to have the most delicious maguro in all of Japan. I have been to, and have sampled all of these famous tunas and would have to agree that all three brands are the best.....I suppose. In Oma the tuna is so fresh the meat shines - a protein sheen left on the meat after it's been cut.

The Honke Maguro restaurant is unique in the fact that it specializes only in tuna it catches, and with an emphasis on style and eclecticism when it's being served. If you have a chance to stop by and enjoy Kawazu River, stop at this restaurant for dinner.

Any dish is delicious. Service is in Japan…

Kawazu River of Shizuoka

Kawazu River of ShizuokaIt's officially spring in Japan, and in spite of all the shitty weather we've been having off and on last week, cherry blossoms are in full bloom in some parts of the mainland. The place to be this weekend is Kawazu River in Shizuoka Prefecture, Izu, a place regarded by many old timers as being the Mecca of cherry blossoms in Japan! ======================================================== I agree if you want to take in scenic river views lined with pink cherry blossom trees. On a perfect day it's absolutely gorgeous down there. It just doesn't get any better unless you go to cities like Kyoto or Kakunodate - in April. There's just something about rivers, pink trees, and delicious sake with seasonal dishes that really create that special mood of freshness and newness spring brings during this time of year. My favorite treat is this========================================================= This is a photo I took last time I was down there an…