Nov 1, 2011

"Ichiban-gumi" and "Shiboritate"

I got to Sawanoi-en at around 10 o'clock. It was a bit rainy.

On October 22nd, Ozawa Syuzou, the brewer of Sawanoi sake, held an open-brewery event. Many people who love Sawanoi sake gathered at brewery for the brewery's sake including this year's new brew.

Since I saw many people getting off the train at Sawai Station and they were undoubtedly heading for the brewery, I expected the brewery would get crowded soon. I knew many of these people would first buy tickets for the sake tasting. They could enter a brewery's building, where every type of Sawanoi sake bottles was placed on tables so that they could taste the sake. However, I decided to skip the sake tasting this year. I passed by the ticket selling place, headed for the Sawanoi-en rest station, bought a small bottle of warmed sake and oden, and occupied a table, because I anticipated that my friends would join me later.

Warmed sake with oden was a good starter for this day's long lasting "drinking party."

It is a bit cold and warmed sake is especially nice in such conditions.

Soon, the rest station began crowded. People, apparently a family, came to my table and asked if they could share the table with me. When a drinking place is crowded, people must make mutual concessions and have a good time over sake. So, of course, I let them sit at my table with pleasure. Saying they were from Mitaka City, they were admiring a beautiful Tama River running by the pavilion of the rest station. Actually, the water was murky due to the rain and it was not very beautiful to me. I somewhat in a roundabout way said, "In fine weather, the river is clearer." Nevertheless, the young woman, seemingly a daughter of the middle-aged couple, seemed to be satisfied with the sight, saying, "The river is beautiful all the same."

I thought maybe they were great lovers of nature.

Later on, my friends, acquaintances, and those who came with them joined me. Now, we were five people and our table became crowded and lively. The place was a bit cramped for room but it was pleasant to drink with many people.

On this day, we chiefly drank Shiboritate and Ichiban-gumi. Both were non-pasteurized new sake. Many said that they liked Ichiban-gumi better than Shiboritate, but I preferred Shiboritate. However, as we continue drinking or as we got drunk, the difference between them became insignificant.

(To be continued)

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