May 9, 2011

Tsukinowa, sake from Iwate

Among the breweries in the Tohoku area (Northeastern areas except Hokkaido) of Japan, there are many of those that have been stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Around the end of March, people in Japan were in a mood of voluntary restraint about enjoying themselves with various amusements including hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Since people usually drink alcohol beverages during hanami, it was thought that reluctance of people in having parties under cherry blossoms would negatively affect the consumption of sake, and eventually it would affect the Japan's economy.

At that time, some breweries in Iwate Prefecture made several movies and placed them at the YouTube site. These movies were to encourage us to drink sake without cancelling our hanami party plans.

Those who had their families or relatives in disaster-stricken areas must have been very anxious about them and it must have been very difficult to have hanami parties merrily. So, although I understood the voluntary restraint mood would adversely affect Japan's economy, I also understood their feelings. Maybe, each of us should have thought about whether to refrain from having a hanami party or to what degree to make a fuss at such a party and determine our own stances.

Recently, I dropped in a nearby liquor shop and found they were running a campaign for supporting breweries in the Tohoku area and sufferers of the disaster, carrying several sake brands from the area. The brands included Uragasumi, Tsukinowa, and Daishichi. So, I bought Tsukinowa, which I had not known about until recently.

Soon after the first sip of this junmai sake, I had an image of expansive rice paddy fields in my mind, and I could see golden rice ears waving in the breeze there. This sake had the rich and full-flavored sweetness of rice with acidity characteristic of junmai sake that makes you secrete much saliva.

I can't taste sake in olden days and I don't know what it tasted like, but I guess, without any good foundation, this junmai sake tastes like sake in earlier times.

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