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Camping in the Dark Coldness in Autumn "Tohoku"

Nearing October 1st, Sake Day, is when most of your sake lovers get-together to organize the sake rice harvest for the year, usually around the last week of September.    Unlike last year, our group decided to enjoy a nice camp-out in the crisp chilly autumn air in Takizawa in Iwate Prefecture, near the border of Akita before harvesting sake rice the next morning.    It was a nice experience for me, as always, to be with the locals who are all born and raised in the local area.

This will be my 6th year planting, harvesting,  and brewing sake rice all over Japan for a number of breweries - literally.   Now, this year the plan was really nice.  We camped out near an onsen ( hot spring spa) surrounded by a lush green valley.    We had about 30 members this time around and a half a dozen tents were pitched before nightfall.   Many of us were in the outdoor bath after dusk while the chefs worked on the grills.

While in the bath I had reflected on my camping expeditions years ago!  From Yamanashi to Aomori and Hokkaido.   Some of the most amazing outdoor experiences and I have to say, that camping out in Autumn is the best, seriously.    What better way to enjoy hot sake in nature after a long hot bath with new faces who all enjoy the same brew...?

So much sake to get the blood warm as the cold approaches.    The sake flowed like hot silk down our throats and quickly warmed our bodies and spirits.  Great sake selections - rare ones.

       Iwate short-horn beef was lovely, tender, and juicy and it melted right in with the hot sake.

                Locally grown green onions broiled in sliced lemons with cod fish at the bottom.
                 Pasta dishes with locally sourced mushrooms and tomatoes garnished with cilantro!

Everybody was out!

Dragging ourselves out of the tent was a real challenge.  We didn't get to bed until 3am, then had to wake up 3 hours later.  For breakfast, there was beef stew and French bread.  

Then finally arriving on site were given instructions on what to do after we shear the rice from its stalks.   True team-work was on display and we succeeded!   When October rolls around it will be the start of the sake brewing season and I shall return to brew, as usual, the finest sake in the world!


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