Essay - yo:ku:nel

The deity of the sake

Drawing: The deity of the sake?
The deity of the sake?
Recently my son took up residence at Arashiyama, Kyoto. There is Matsuo shrine near his new home. This shrine is dedicated to the deity of making the sake "Ooyama-guinokami". So, Matsuo-sama is enshrined in the household Shinto altar of the establishment at which sake is made.

My son is a nondrinker which is inherited from his mother's father. Some years ago, he got drunk and collapsed at Gion. And then, he was took in an ambulance. If he pay a visit to Matsuo shrine, he may be able to drink better.

Saying "Enjoy your drinking the sake after you are twenty", but I drink too much in spite of myself.

There are two types of sake, the one is a leading actor and the other is a supporting actor. We ejoy the former as sake itself and the latter as a foil of the meal. Saying about a white wine, for instance, Chardonnay is gorgeously and rich in variety as a wine, but Sauvignon Blanc is rather suit the meal better.

Drawing: the marvelous diet!
the marvelous diet!
Junmai-daiginjo and daiginjo are the leading type. The difference between of them is whether it has alcohol additives or not. They are priced at ten thousand yen per 1 sho (=1.8 liters) normally. As their rice polishing rate is very high, they are made only a little amount. Incidentally, its rate of rice which we eat at daily meal is about 90%, and the one of daiginjo is under 50%. In a word, polish and polish.

The supporting type is junmi-ginjo and honjouzou. The difference between of them is same as the former paragraph. They are priced at two or three thousand yen per 1 sho (=1.8 liters) normally. I mainly drink this junmai-ginjo type. I say "Which type is suit for tonight meal?" and drink first this and then that. But my family say "You are a mere tippler." Recently two go (=0.36 liters) is moderate amount for me.

Junmai is the another type of sake, but this type is used for cooking or drinked as warmed sake for me. If you want to make a good dish, you should use a good sake. Yasuko-san, of course, freely pour plenty of sake into cooking pot with a gurgling sound. I say "Oh no! Pour into my mouth!"

Whether or not to permit alcohol additives is the dividing line. Certainly alcohol or saccharide additives was ideas "dilute and thin" during the war. Recently sake maker say that it is difficult to make sake only rice, so we add alcohol for making sharp taste.

After the bulk production and high consumption caused the"bubble economy" and a mountain of bad loans, sake-making industry quicked to change their direction to "quality first" and localizable and they indicate regeneration of Japanese economy from now on, I may sound self-seeking, but I think.


Rice and Water

Drawing: How it turned out?
How it turned out?
As far as rice which is raw material of sake, if you use "Yamada-nishiki" which is the best rice for making sake, somehow you can make good sake. The other good species of rice for making sake are "Gohyakumangoku", "Omachi", "Miyama-nishiki". A fruity flavor comes from rice increase aroma of sake, but sometimes there are brewery which add addition. Be careful.

Sake is, in a word, fermented rice. The reason the study of alcoholic fermentation had been developed is European tippler had been obsessed with making wine. And, most of good wine or beer is made in a religious house. It's a common knowledge there are nice wine and dish in Catholic region like a France, Italy, Belgium and so on... Priestis is luxurious.

To make good sake is closely related to yeast fungus. Although they used to have their own fungus in each brewery, it is standardize now. "Kyoukai Koubo No.9" which was lifted and cultured in the Kouro brewery in Kumamoto is the original all over Japan. However the new type of fungus is developing in each district.

Drawing: good soup stock?
good soup stock?
After all, a basis of good sake is water. Some people call it "A soup stock from the mountain" Water of rain or snow are fallen in the mountains soak through root or rock, and flow underground after a great many years. And then, it gushes out as a underground water which has gotten the soup stock of the mountain. The reason Nada, Hyogo has been the center of making sake is there were good water called "shrine water". We owe it to the good water that Toyama's sake is so nice.

The heavy snowfall accumulated on Mt. Hakusan flow through granite. It becomes the Sho River at Toyama side and produces "Tateyama" and "Narimasa", while it becomes the Tedori River at Ishikawa side and produces "Kikuhime", "Tengu no mai" and "Tedorigawa". However "Ginban" "Masuizumi" and "Yoshinotomo" are made using water from the peaks of Tateyama.

In the place where the good water gush out, there is good sake. Because of environmental disruption these days, the future of the good water are already beginning to look rather gloomy. So I have to drink sake as hard as I can. After all, I, tippler, drink again today.


If its label is nice...
Highslide JS
Pear orchard in the Kureha Hill
(2002-4-17 / Tomi)
Highslide JS
Flower of pear
(2002-4-17 / Tomi)

In the pear orchard lying at the foot of the Kureha Hill, Toyama, the pear are in full bloom in the middle of April. Western pear is also as good as Japanese one. The main component of its elegant fragrance of Western one is Ethyl caproate which is one of aim of making Japanese sake. In the old days the simple fragrance such as malic acid was popular.

However, there are also brewery which has followed a tradition of deep taste and aroma without even taking notice of Ginjo-shu which is plain and has lean? fragrance (I think there was writer who called Ginjo-shu like a lean fashion model).

"Hakuro"by Sawada brewery in Tokoname, Aichi is handmade traditional sake which needs time and effort. They sale special sake such as "Yoshun" in spring and "Houjou" in autumn. They also sale "No.256" in autumn. This is my favorite.

Drawing: I don't want to drink like this
I don't want to drink like this

Originally Japanese sake was made from excess rice. At that mean, "Houjou (good harvest)" is the good name. The other name related rice I have remembered are "Denshu (sake of rice paddy)" in Aomori, "Kariho (harvested ears of rice)" in Akita, "Toyo no aki (rich autumn)" in Shimane. However there are many name thanks to water.

If you can not decide to select wine or sake, you should choice nice name and label which are almost right. This is the way of the world.

The other day I went skiing at Whistler, Canada. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon "Burrowing Owl" in British Columbia was wonderful. Its label of owl was nice.