Over the years, the sake scene in the UK has got stronger, with most activity concentrated in London. This progress is gradually expanding out from the capital and Sam Boulton is one of the key movers.
The owner of Birmingham sake bar, Shibuya Underground, Boulton is keen to bring more awareness to nihonshu, shochu and awamori to UK consumers. He’s also a man after my own heart by being interested in a variety of obscure drinks that deserve more recognition.
As an industry, marketing is huge in the west and is the foundation for which popular culture and products are built on. I’ve always been curious how it’s perceived in Japan and it was great to have all my questions answered by Johnny Pawlik.
Co-founder of Mantra Media, Pawlik have worked on many international marketing campaigns centred on Japan and infuses Japanese philosophy into his view of marketing.
The world of sake is made up of interesting folks who’ve dedicated themselves to keeping the rich history of Japan’s native drink alive. Folks who’re leaving their own unique mark and something very special is going on at the Miyoshikiku brewery in Tokushima Prefecture.
Meet Mamiya Ryōichirō, the 5th generation head of the Miyoshikiku brewery. A born RocknRolla with a taste for out of the box sake and a man I had the pleasure of interviewing alongside Kyoko Nagano.
The sake industry is filled with people who’re passionate about keeping Japan’s native drink alive domestically and overseas. Kyoko Nagano is one of those champions and works with small sake breweries all over Japan to spread the good word of nihonshu.
It was a pleasure to speak to Kyoko about her sake experiences and she’s got a lot of great information to share.
If it takes time to become acquainted with a person in any meaningful way, then a bowl of noodles needs to be raised for John Daschbach. After spending an entire year filming a master ramen chef, the Tokyo-based filmmaker’s latest film Come Back Anytime beautifully captures the feeling of finally getting to know someone.
You’ve probably heard by now of Drive My Car, the Ryusuke Hamaguchi film based on three stories from the Haruki Murkami short story collection Men Without Women, and the fact that it has made history as the first Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. But if you’ve yet to find the three hours necessary to see it, you may be wondering what’s so special about this film.
Being in a bar or a restaurant is transformative. Venues like that are an intersection of new cultures, communication, excitement and storytelling. Drinks play a vital role in creating these experiences, with Japanese drinks like sake and shochu elevating nights out, intimate lunches and conversations with friends.
Sake is one of my favourite drinks. But it’s not the only thing that floats my boat. I’m pleased to announce the launch of Drink To That, a newsletter for imbibing knowledge, celebrating the hospitality industry and providing content marketing tips for drink brands.
In terms of ingredients, shochu may well be the most diverse spirit on the planet. Japan’s best kept secret can be made from lots of unusual substances. I’ve gravitated to more niche varieties of shochu and Tantakatan shiso comfortably sits in that camp.
A shochu with a fishy tale behind it, there’s a lot to enjoy about this delightful drink.
Travelling to Japan can have a transformative effect, inspiring people to start careers firmly rooted in their love of The Land Of The Rising Sun. For Tracey Delaney, the opportunity to represent her school and go to Japan sparked a life-long appreciation for the country.
Since then she’s become a global ambassador, a sake sommelier and provided support to the UK’s first sparkling sake brewery. Read on to find out more about Tracey’s story.