How one man turned his trials into triumphs: The Story of Carl Rosa
By Kristine Ohkubo
“What if we viewed life’s challenges as tools that can actually help us prosper?” That is the question asked by Carl Rosa, the founder of the Sushi Club of Houston and several other highly successful businesses which promote Japanese cuisine and culture in the United States. It is a question which gives us pause to think, and also effectively encapsulates Carl’s own personal experiences beginning with the tragedy which struck his family in 2005.
Inspired by his incredible knowledge and love of Japan, I recently interviewed Carl to learn more about what fuels his passion and dedication to promote Japanese culture through carefully cultivated culinary experiences.
In Japan, there are many remote places worlds away from the bustling megacities of Tokyo and Kyoto. The town of Yamanaka in Ishikawa Prefecture is one such place and writer Hannah Kirshner reveals the intimate details of this mountainous town in Water, Wood & Wild Things: Learning Craft And Cultivation In A Japanese Mountain Town.
Lyrical, vivid and beautiful, Kirshner’s book is a window into a part of Japan that few have explored in literature and from the very first page, you’ll be transported to Yamanaka and feel right at home.
When it comes to Japanese ingredients, koji is one of the most versatile and misunderstood food products out there. I like to think of it as the Batman of the fermentation world because it’s the hero mould we need and deserve. It elevates everything it comes into contact with and makes food and drink more delicious.
So, it’s always great to see more brands spreading the koji love and that’s the case with Koji Soupe. I caught up with owners Yota and Noriko Suzuki, who are on a mission to bring more koji awareness to Montreal.
Read on to learn more about the business, what got them interested in fermentation and where they see the future of Koji Soupe.
When it comes to versatility, sake is arguably the best drink to choose in terms of texture, flavour, food pairing and serving temperatures. And while I’ve enjoyed trying plenty of premium ginjo sake, there’s a whole world of other categories to drink my way through and a style I’ve been drawn to lately is futsushu.
As table sake, futsushu isn’t considered a premium grade of nihonshu, but that has nothing to do with its quality and if you’ve never tried futsushu then you’ll want to dive in with the incredible Komachi Sakura.
Practicing philosophy invites the opportunity to bring it into aspects of life that you may not have thought about initially. In my case, I’ve become interested in the philosophy of Stoicism and over the course of learning, it’s made me curious to see how it could be introduced into other topics I find intriguing.
It’s for that reason I’m exploring Stoicism through the lens of sake brewing and how the four Stoic principles of courage, wisdom, temperance and justice is embodied in the sake industry.
In the UK, sake is experiencing something of a revolution through the likes of places like Moto and Kanpai Brewery in the South of England and The Sparrows in the North. Distributors are also leading the charge for getting nihonshu into the hands of the masses, with London Sake being at the forefront of the conversation.
With an ever-growing and diverse portfolio of sake and shochu to choose from, London Sake is a brand that should be on the list of sake fans across the UK and beyond.
I first encountered Morikuni Sake Brewery Co. Ltd (increasingly referred to as Shodoshima Shuzo) via their Hachi Hachi 88 junmai. Using local Oseto rice polished down to just 88%, the golden-coloured thick and nutty brew certainly grabbed my attention as one of the most unique junmai classification sake I’d experienced, and left me longing to try more of the small and very young (established 2005) company’s offerings.
I am delighted to say that tonight I achieved just that, finally getting my hands on each of the beautifully presented 300ml bottles of the Shodashima No Kagayaki range daiginjo and junmai daiginjo (stylised as ‘daiginjyo’ on the labels) via Ukiyo Republic’s online Japanese sake store.