Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Three Incredible Kura Visits In One Day.

Yesterday was one for the books! A summary:

Plot twist: tea! Toji-san found a heretofore unknown, hidden hidden tea house less than 400 meters where he has been working for 33 year years!! Surprise, ne!! I was seated in a secret room that was actually inside an upcycled, wooden soy sauce vat.

Sated, we visited Asahi Giku, whose 100+ year-old kura burned to the ground a few years ago. But they bounced back! Because 8x down, 9x up. I was shocked at how delicious their sake was. If you can lay your hands on their Junmai Kimoto, do. I give it my highest recommendation. Asahi Giku is one of 10-15 kuras that only brew Junmai sakes, too.

Then Toji-san drove us to Mori No Kura. Murata-san is one of my favorites. A new sake is found!! Aged sake that uses nitrogen in the tank to slow the aging process? Whoa. We were sent away with a 1.8L sake that can't be bought.

Last stop: Wakanami Shuzo. Yuka-chan is one of 30 female tojis of the 2,000 alive in Japan and one of my favorite people, Toji or otherwise. Yuka-chan assumed leadership of her kura with her brother when her father was ill five years ago. Her sakes soar!

We say in sake-brewing "Every year is like the first grade." If you love learning, as I do, this is a good thing. I sampled sake brewed by heretofore unknown methods and I've got so much to learn.

My life is so grand. Every day, a holiday. Every meal, a feast. Camaraderie, culture, hospitality...It was one of the best days of my life. But so was the day before, and the day before that.

The Japanese friends that I am making are such honorable people—sometimes even heroic. I'm a plain person. Yet such icons were made for plain people, who don't know how far they can go.

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