In popular culture, samurai are often portrayed with a mixture of romanticism and chivalric honour. They are presented with a strict code of honour that’s thought of as heroic, but in reality, the life of a samurai was far more complex. The absolute devotion they had to their code could make them ruthless and cruel to the people they considered to be beneath them.
In many ways, a samurai was a walking contradiction. A warrior who was expected to draw their sword at a moment’s notice, but was also meant to compose haikus, arrange flowers and be the living embodiment of Japanese virtues. This complexity is on full display in Ghost of Tsushima, a game I’ve been waiting to play for a long time and that allowed my inner history geek to run free.
Being a superhero is a tough gig. There are innocent lives to save, bad guys to stop and ideals to live up to. So, when a character like Katana finds a moment to herself, she’ll want to make the most of it. The Pop Culture Pub Crawl investigates the drinking habits of different superheroes.
With her dedication to Japanese tradition, I’d see Katana carrying out a personal drinking ritual that would bring her closer to her ancestors.
The Pop Culture Pub Crawl highlights the drinking habits of different superheroes and Wolverine has a reputation for being one of the booziest members of the X-Men. Wolverine’s love of Japanese culture is one of his defining traits, so let’s take a look at the type of hooch that he’d drink when out on the town in Japan.
Tattoos means different things in different cultures, with specific stylistic choices taking on their own culture and tradition. Japanese tattoos, also known as irezumi, are among the most distinctive. But the word ‘irezumi’ means far more than ‘tattoo.’ Irezumi is a lifestyle choice intwined with the seasons and a representation of an art form that has been built up over centuries.
To truly understand the language of irezumi, it’s worth knowing the words that appear in the category. Yamato Magazine has created a helpful glossary to introduce you to the wonderful world of Japanese tattoos.
The great thing about drinking sake is that it can be enjoyed in numerous vessels. From small ochoko cups to wine glasses, every vessel provides a new experience to enjoy, reflecting the wonderful diversity of nihonshu.
I’ve officially taken my sake geekery to the next level by investing in specially designed glassware that’s perfect for drinking Junmai (pure rice) sake. Crafted by the Riedel Glass Company, the Junmai sake glass really does make a difference when imbibing Japan’s national drink.
In an age of digital connection, podcasts are an excellent resource for learning new topics. As a fan of sake, I’ve enjoyed listening to the Sake On Air podcast, which regularly covers themes on nihonshu and shochu. But it’s not the only Japanese booze podcast in town. I’d also recommend listening to America’s first sake podcast, Sake Revolution.
Discovering new hobbies is a great technique for developing a positive mental health routine and in my case it’s been sake. Since setting off on my journey into the world of nihonshu, I’ve found it’s been a positive experience during times of poor mental health and I wanted to share four ways in which it’s helped.
Japan is known for having a unique drinking culture, best represented by sake/nihonshu in the west. But to leave out Japan’s national spirit, shochu, would be a massive disservice to the distillers who work tirelessly to produce one of the most versatile drinks in the world.
Education about shochu and its older cousin awamori is still lacking in western culture. But to help people learn more about it, Yamato Magazine has provided a glossary of essential shochu terms.
Immersing yourself in the world of sake is an exciting experience that can quickly turn into a life-long pursuit of knowledge. Just when you think you’ve mastered something, there’s a new kind of nihonshu to try or a different kind of rice to discover. Falling down the sake rabbit hole is rewarding, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the terminology.
To help, Yamato Magazine has created a handy glossary of useful sake terms to remember.
Experiencing a new culture through the lens of food and drink is a great way to connect to a different part of the world without having to hop on a plane. If you ever plan to travel to Okinawa, it’s worth knowing about the island’s indigenous spirit awamori and its importance to local history.