Mar 2, 2010

Sake Cup with Red Crab on It

Last Saturday, after having lunch at Kajikaen, an old Japanese style inn, which is near JR Mitake Station in Ome City, my friends and I enjoyed walking along the Tama River.

Intermittent gentle rain on that day did not make it difficult for us to stroll leisurely. Because of a cold climate of the city nestling in mountains, Japanese plum flowers were yet to be in full bloom. However, the rain giving moisture to the air was somehow spring-like, and the air seemed to have increased in the degree of opaqueness, which is characteristic of this season in Japan. We rambled while feeling slightly warmish air, which seems almost tangible. Bark of trees, partly wet and partly dry with rain, looked even seductive.

Along the footpath, we could find some teahouses or cafes, which were apparently operating for sightseers. Any one of these teahouses or cafes must be a perfect place to rest while looking down the stream of the Tama River, but I usually visit Sawanoi-en run by Ozawa Syuzou Brewery when I visit this vicinity.

We slowly walked and finally reached Sawanoi-en, which was rather un-crowded probably due to the rain of this day.

As usual, we headed to the sake tasting corner. I drank Kamekuchi, Iroha, Soten Nama, etc. This place always offers 10 or more types of sake brewed at Ozawa Syuzou Brewery (pay tasting). A cup of sake is sold at 200 to 500 yen, including 100 yen for a sake cup. So, you can drink each of the second and subsequent servings at the price of 100 to 400 yen. The Brewery's Daiginjo Bon is priced only at 400 yen (the sake cup holds about 90 cc). In addition, you can keep the cup at home, and later you can bring it to this place to save the price of another sake cup.

So, do not forget to bring your sake cup when it is highly likely for you to drop in Sawanoi-en after your visiting the Okutama or Ome area. However, actually, I often forget to. As a result, now I have five blue-crab sake cups (the cup has an image of a blue river crab on it) on my cupboard.

By the way, I found a red-crab cup this day at the sake tasting corner!

The red-crab cup was not for sale. You can be given one red-crab cup in exchange for ten conventional blue-crab cups. Someone said that Sawanoi-en started such exchange to promote the reuse of blue-crab cups. But, the reuse must be suspended until their customers collect 10 cups! I need to collect five more. OK, I will visit Sawanoi-en until I collect 10 cups!

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