The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Sam Boulton

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.

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The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Johnny Pawlik

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. 

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Pop Culture and Japan

Walking On The Wild Side Of Sake With The Miyoshikiku Brewery

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.

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The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: 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.

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Guest Posts

Guest Post: A Bowl Of Heart: A Film About More Than Just Ramen

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.

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Guest Posts

Guest Post: Drive My Car Movie Review

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. 

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Pop Culture and Japan

Sake, Shochu And Drinks Galore: Launching The Drink To That Newsletter

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.

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Shochu Reviews

Tantakatan Shochu Review: You Won’t Be A Fish Out Of Water With This Delicate Drink

TAN TAKA TAN 750ml 720ml 2020 Monde Selection Gold Award

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.

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Sake Reviews

Kikuchi Brewery Sake Is Awesome (Here’s Why)

What’s better than one bottle of sake? Three bottles of sake! Especially when they come from a brewery with the creative skills and history of the Kikuchi Sake Brewery in Okayama Prefecture. 

Read on to learn the stories and tasting profiles of three very different types of nihonshu: Sanzen tokubetsu junmai, Kiseki No Osake and Sanzen junmai daiginjo.

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The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Tracey Delaney

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.

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