The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Scott Haas

People feel connected to Japan in different ways and in the case of Scott Haas it started when he was thirteen years old. From there, his passion grew and he went on to write about his appreciation for Japanese culture for audiences across the world.

Having recently published a new book called Why Be Happy?, Scott has explored psychology and acceptance through the lens of Japanese culture. Learn more about the book, his backstory and what he’s got planned for the future. 

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Japanese Cuisine

Okinawa Sunshine Cocktail Recipe: Celebrating The Stories And Spirits Of Okinawa

Okinawa Sunshine uses Yokka Koji awamori and Cor Cor rum.

When it comes to cocktails, Japan is an authority in pushing the boundaries of mixed drinks and coming up with new creations. It’s a drinks culture build on innovation, high-quality craftsmanship and storytelling. 

The kind of flavours that can be achieved with Japanese ingredients is truly awe-inspiring and it’s fun to experiment with different combinations to see what happens. That’s why I wanted to create a Japanese cocktail that plays with different tastes, so here is a recipe for Okinawa Sunshine.

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Book Reviews

Why Be Happy? Review: A Resonant Book That Delves Into The Concept Of Acceptance In Japan

Why Be Happy? by Scott Haas.

What do we mean by acceptance? Is it the avoidance of conflict? The understanding that some events are simply beyond our control? Is it the resignation that certain things won’t change? These kinds of questions are asked everyday all over the world and every culture has their own take on what acceptance means.

In Japan, ukeireru is a type of acceptance that the Japanese embrace and Scott Haas is interested in peering behind the curtain to see what exactly it means. In Why Be Happy?The Japanese Way of Acceptance, Haas explores the concept of ukeireru, what it truly means to accept something and how the power of acceptance can help to build a happier and healthier life. 

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Japanese Cuisine

Creating An Original Cocktail: Wabi-Sabi Recipe

Japanese cocktail Wabi-Sabi made with Inugami shochu and wasabi vodka.

There’s something magical about cocktails. A story to tell, new ingredients to mix, cultures to share with a wider audience. Japanese cocktail culture has an incredible amount of creativity, from the way certain drinks are made, to the passion of every bartender and mixologist who puts a new concoction in front of their guests.

It’s that kind of energy that’s inspired me to try coming up with my own cocktails. Introducing Wabi-Sabi, a cocktail that taps into the philosophy of transience as viewed through Japanese culture.

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Japanese Cuisine

Kokoro Care Packages Offers A Diverse Range Of Regional Japanese Food Products

Kokoro Care Packages.

Japanese food is among the most diverse and multi-layered cuisine on the planet, with flavour profiles that spark the imagination. A large volume of regional Japanese food doesn’t get to be experienced outside of the country, so it’s wonderful to see businesses like Kokoro Care Packages changing that by offering bespoke Japanese food hampers from regions all over Japan.

Run by Lillian Hanako Rowlatt and Aki Sugiyama, Kokoro Care Packages is built on a foundation of bringing people closer together with new foods and tastes. I had the opportunity to see what was in Kokoro’s Community Favourites of 2020 package, which really opened my eyes to the huge range of regional Japanese products that are out there.

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Guest Posts · Sake Reviews

Guest Post: Kiuchi Awashizuku Sparkling Junmai Review

The Kiuchi brewery is known for making the famous Hitachino Nest beer as well as sake.

As a long-time enthusiastic craft beer drinker, one of my must-visit locations in Tokyo was Hitachino Brewing Lab, in the Akihabara district. Whilst I certainly spent a fair amount of time getting well acquainted with all manner of styles from the Hitachino Nest Beer range in the hip bar, I walked away completely oblivious to the fact that Kiuchi started life (and continues) as a sake brewery. 

It was actually not until I was back in the UK and looking to order some of my new favourite Nest Beers to enjoy at home that I stumbled across Kiuchi’s nihonshu range.

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Japanese Cuisine

Natto Breakfast Bowl Recipe

Natto breakfast bowl recipe.

Natto. The marmite of Japanese food. Either you love it or you hate it and it’s definitely one of the most unique Japanese meals you’ll come across. This fermented soybean dish can be recognised by its slimy texture, pungent smell and cheesy qualities. It’s also recognised for its health benefits, helping to improve digestion, potentially lowering blood pressure and promoting a healthier heart.

After trying it for the first time recently, I’ve fallen into the ‘I love Natto’ camp and see it as an extremely versatile ingredient. It was one of the main attractions in my natto breakfast bowl and here is the recipe.

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The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Alice Ngan

Ecila Choco.

It’s a known fact that Japanese sake goes well with pretty much anything, especially chocolate! Alice Ngan has explored this combination with Ecila Sake Chocolates, a brand that uses sake and sake kasu to create premium chocolate products.

Yamato Magazine presents an interview with Alice that covers her experience in sake, opening up a chocolate business in Toronto and exploring the local nihonshu scene. Remember that stressed is dessert spelt backwards, so grab your favourite sweet treat and enjoy reading this interview at your leisure. 

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The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Lillian Hanako Rowlatt

The Kokoro Files shares the stories of people who’re connected to Japan through heritage, food, culture and travel experience. The word ‘Kokoro’ is Japanese for heart, but it’s more than the physical organ. Kokoro is passion, love and connection all at once and Lillian Hanako Rowlatt channels that sentiment with Kokoro Care Packages.

Yamato Magazine caught up with Lillian about the story of her brand, her love of Japanese cuisine and her desire to help local farmers share their produce with a worldwide audience. 

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Pop Culture and Japan

Championing Small Scale Nihonshu Breweries With Sake Lovers

Sake Lovers.

Japanese sake is more than just a drink. It’s a story, a tradition, a culture, a lifestyle choice and a passion. From the people who brew nihonshu to the distributors and importers who sell it, there’s a real love for promoting something that’s been on a decline throughout Japan. 

There’s roughly about 1600 sake breweries in Japan, yet that number used to be much higher and preserving this tradition has become paramount for many small-scale breweries. 

Yuki Imanishi and Kyoko Nagano are on a mission to keep the livelihood of small sake breweries alive with Sake Lovers. Built on a love of craft production and heritage, Sake Lovers has a great story to tell.

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