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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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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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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The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Giulia Maglio

The sake industry is filled with a passionate community of folks who love spreading the good word of nihonshu. Being a part of it has put me in touch with so many great people and it’s been a pleasure to chat to Giulia Maglio, AKA Jiji Sake. 

Giulia is a sake sommelier, writer and podcast host dedicated to spreading the love of sake throughout Italy, Japan and beyond. In this interview, we talk about her experiences in Japan, her latest projects and where she sees the sake industry going. 

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Shochu Reviews

Kinjo Shiro Shochu Review: Sweet And Savoury Heaven In A Glass

Kinjo shiro shochu review from Yamato Magazine.

Ever tried Japanese shochu? If not, you’re missing out on a world of incredible flavour and history. Yamato Magazine has become something of an evangelical space for Japan’s indigenous spirit and diving down the shochu rabbit hole continues with the beautiful kinjo shiro shochu from Takahashi Shuzo.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Fire Water Of The Kamuni: Burash

Japanese spirits like shochu aren’t that well-known in Western countries. But when you develop a taste for shochu, it’s easy to disappear down the rabbit hole and drinking the spirit has inspired the creation of a spirit for my horror world of The Frontier.

No matter where you come from on The Frontier, alcohol is the great equaliser, playing a vital role in religionpolitics and everyday life. The same goes for the kamuni, who use alcohol as a way to be closer to their beliefs, celebrate and mark important milestones.

A popular drink within kamuni culture is burash, a type of spirit that can be made from several ingredients and has a huge range of flavour profiles.

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