Sake Reviews

Hayashi Honten Golden Amber Junmai Koshu Review: Bizarre And Beautiful

Golden Amber junmai koshu.

The world of sake is one of constant experimentation and versatility. Breweries with centuries of experience create products that demonstrate their sake making skills, and one brewery that’s particularly innovative in Hayashi Honten in Gifu Prefecture.

This is evident in the brewery’s Golden Amber junmai koshu, a complex drink full of wonderful contradictions.

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Pop Culture and Japan

10 Gift Ideas For Lovers Of Japanese Craftsmanship

Beautiful craftsmanship goes hand in hand with Japanese culture. For centuries, artisans have created high-quality goods made from natural materials that tell the story of the area they come from. From products as simplistic as a bowl, to items that are detailed as a ceramic pot, Japanese craftsmanship infuses a level of sophistication that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

There are plenty of great gifts out there for people who appreciate the beauty of Japanese craftsmanship and here are ten ideas.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Touring Kanpai Sake Brewery: A Story Of Innovation, Passion And Resilience

Lockdown may have stopped hospitality venues from operating normally, but the resiliency shown across the sector should be applauded. Businesses have adapted through embracing eCommerce, offering takeaways and launching virtual events to strengthen their connection with customers.

It’s during this time that I toured my first sake brewery and was able to do so from the comfort of my own home. At a virtual tour of Kanpai Brewery in London, I was able to peek behind the curtain and see how nihonshu is produced and the passion of the people involved.

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Psycho Samurai

Psycho Samurai produced by Photography Fables.

When you go into the city at night

Beware the psycho samurai

Dread hunter of the dark

Who stalks the backstreets and alleyways

Where righteous folk fear to tread

They say he was a good man once

As honourable as the day is long

Others whisper of the madness that always beat in his chest

Tempered by a woman

His geisha love

Her loss broke the chains of sanity

Now he roams

Wraith like

Waging war on the wicked 

Sword singing for blood

An unquenchable thirst for vengeance


A Life Distilled

Awamori Kame pots used for ageing.

You were born on the day of a storm

The weather matching the thunder and lightning

Rattling inside my chest from the moment

You were due to come into the world

I’ll never forget the gentle heartbeat

Or the tiny hand you placed into mine

The spark of potential that flashed in your eyes 

Was preserved inside the kame

Sealed with a handprint

Years of maturation

Cultivated with love and care

Until the boy became a man

And what a man you’ve become

Strong, brave, compassionate

Together we’ll drink the memories

That have aged in awamori

Nuanced flavours of a life

Still maturing 

Becoming more complex

With every new experience 

Set aside a fresh kame

Fill it with the hopes and dreams of your children

Teach them a life distilled 

Is a life worth cherishing

Pop Culture and Japan

A Love Letter To Japan’s National Drinks: Sake Future Summit 2020 Unites Experts From Across The World

Drink consumers are always looking for the next big thing, the next trend that will come along and transform the industry with new flavours and experiences. I believe the new frontier lies in sake and shochu. Both categories are becoming increasingly known in the western market through the tireless efforts of educators, ambassadors, retailers, restaurateurs and enthusiasts.

The world of sake and shochu is exciting and innovative, with many passionate people linked by a love for what they do. This passion was on full display at the Sake Future Summit 2020, which brought together sake professionals from across the globe for a dialogue on how sake can take over the world.

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Japanese Cuisine

Wafu Shochu Pasta Jumble With Tofu And Cannellini Beans

Bringing together food from different cultures can be a fun way to experiment with new dishes and develop unexpected flavour combinations. That’s why I enjoy creating wafu meals that combine European aesthetics with Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques.

Pasta is one of the easiest ingredients to mix into a wafu meal, especially when using leftovers. With that in mind, here is my wafu pasta jumble recipe that includes tofu and cannellini beans soaked in a homemade shochu roux.

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