Jan 12, 2009

See You in the Sake Event "Niigata Sake no Jin" in March!

Also this year, the annual sake event "Niigata Sake no Jin 2009" will be held at Toki Messe Niigata Convention Center (http://www.tokimesse.com/english/) on March 14 and 15. I believe many of you readers are sake fans and many plan to attend this event.

Last year, I attended the event "Niigata Sake no Jin 2008" for the first time. Today, I want to share some information about how to get prepared for this year's event with you based on what I learned from the experience last year. I list several points below.

-- Scene of the last year's event --

1. Early drinker gets a kikijoko. :-)
At the entrance, you are to be handed a bottle of shikomisui (mother water for making sake) and kikijoko (sake tasting cup) if you are among the first 10,000 visitors who enter the venue. The two-day event of the year before last gathered about 60,000 people and the event of the last year, about 76,000 people, attracting more and more people every year. Naturally, I guess people more than last year will appear in the Toki Messe this year. If you want to be assured that you will get a kikijoko, make sure to get to the venue before noon of 14.

2. Which sake will you drink?
There are 96 sake breweries in Niigata Prefecture, almost all of them will place their products on show, and each of the breweries will bring about five sakes. So, about 500 sakes in Niigata Prefecture will be brought in the venue. Unfortunately, however much you love sake, it is obvious that you, as just one person, cannot taste all of these products in two days. So, it may be wise of you to get the floor map of the venue at the entrance, check the map carefully, and decide which brewery's booths to visit in advance. It allows you to taste various sakes efficiently.

In the view above described, the tasting behavior of me last year is a bad example. Like a butterfly flying from one flower to another, I went just casually to one booth to spend some time for tasting sake and enjoying talking with staff there, and then went to another booth that just aroused my curiosity. Thus, I was wasting much time, and tasted sake from only 17 breweries. Let's behave according to a plan this year.

3. Keep on the alert for theft.
There are tables and chairs in the venue so that you can bring sake and food from various food stalls or sake booths and eat and drink there. If you leave your belongings there, they may disappear when you return there next time. In a nutshell they are stolen. Last year, one of my friends had her kikijoko stolen. If you have a lot of belongings, you may want to put them on a table for a while and leave there for something to eat or drink. Be careful!

4. Neck-hanging type tray
It is difficult to take photos and take a note about sake you drink while bringing a kikijoko in your hand. However, leaving some of your belongings on a table involves the risk of theft. So, I prepared a neck-hanging type tray for the last year event. This can be made in the following way:
1) Prepare a hard plastic tray.
2) Drill holes in the four corners of the tray.
3) Attach strings to the holes so that you can hang the tray down from your neck.
Placing my digital camera, ball-point pen, memo pad, and kikijoko on the tray, I could easily go around from booth to booth for various sakes in the last-year event.

-- Neck-hanging type tray --

Everyone, I will appear in this year's event also in kimono with the neck-hanging type tray. If you find me at Toki Messe, feel free to initiate a casual chat with me.
Well, see you at Toki Messe March 14.

Today's Sake
Kamekuchi-shu of Sawanoi Junmai Ginjo Soten (Ozawa Syuzou Co., Ltd.)
Since they were giving visitors sake from a taru (cask) free of charge as part of service for customers yesterday, I visited Sawanoien (Ome City in Tokyo), a brewery-run resting place where you can buy Sawanoi sake and eat some food and drink fresh sake. At this time, I went to the sake-tasting corner to taste some sakes.
Sawanoi Junmai Ginjo Soten is a popular product of this brewery, and they have kamekuch-shu (sake that has just been pressed) of this sake in this place. This sake has quite an enchanting flavor with refreshing fragrance.
I place the photo of tarus (casks) of sake and the sake tasting corner.

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