Monday, January 08, 2007

More Japan

[By the way, this was Thursday, November 30th]

In Osaka we stayed at Inn Ishihashi, my first time at a ryokan! This place was inexpensive and conveniently located near Osaka station. The proprietors were so nice and seemed happy to have a western girl stay with them (especially since I had Mayu to teach me how to put on and take off my slippers and such!).

We arrived last night and walked around a bit. We stopped in at Takashimaya and looked over their sake selection. I picked two sparkling sake (shown in the picture) and a nice shop lady noticed and told me that the next day they were expecting their shipment of sparkling Suzune (made by Ichinokura of Miyagi Prefecture), a sake that is made in limited numbers and only available around this time of year. So, today we went back and picked up a bottle (as of today, February 5th, I haven't had a chance to drink it. I'm waiting for my friend Sally who I'm going to share it with. I'll report back.)

We had a really great meal at a small izakaya. They had their own nama sake, which they served out of a giant glass jug. The chef scooped the sake out of the jug into a bowl and then we served ourselves from the bowl.

The sake was extraordinary as was the food. After the meal, the mama-san brought Mayu and me upstairs to see the sake tank. I didn't really understand the setup completely. I think they said that they used to be a sakagura, but they weren't doing enough business, so they opened an izakaya downstairs and an Italian restaurant upstairs. It was a rare opportunity and again, I never would have experienced it without Mayu's help.


Melinda said...

Wow, sounds like they're really bridging the cultural gap there.

Ichinokura is a great brewery, and makes some classy, quiet stuff as well as off the chart sweet. But I've never tried the sparkling, so you must tell all!

Anonymous said...

Dear Valerie!
This is Robert-Gilles of shizuokasake.wordpress.
Very refreshing for an old hand to read about new experiences from others. You are taking me back to so many memories!
Sparkling sake!
I've tried that. Some is made in Shizuoka. Have to be careful as the last one almost exploded when I opened it!

Valerie Urban said...

Hi Robert-Gilles!

Thanks for writing. Wow, exploding sparkling sake...that would certainly add another level of excitement to the experience! I really like the sparkling sakes that I've tried. They seem to be light and sweet, sort of what I have always wanted to find in a champagne, but haven't quite found.

I took a quick look at your blog and I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing. It's always fun to find a new sake friend!

Chris Bunting said...

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