Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sake Factory

(PICTURE: Sake at the museum.)

Before coming to Japan, I was never a big fan of sake. I think the problem was that I was always drinking sake warm. In Japan they say that you should drink bad sake warm, but good sake cold (or warm). I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say I was probably always drinking bad sake in the states.

Since coming to Koryama I have not done too much drinking. I've had the occasional beer or two but the majority of my drinking has been sake at Kensuke and Masumi's house.

Last weekend Masumi, Kensuke and I went to Kitakata. Kitakata is a small little city which is famous for both its sake and its ramen shops. There are only 40,000 people living in Kitakata but there are 120 ramen shops!

Our first stop in Kitakata was at the Yamatogawa Sake Brewing Museum.

(PICTURE: Masumi and Kensuke at the entrance to the Yamatogawa Sake Brewing Museum.)

The three of us quickly made our way through the museum, checking out the different stages of sake making. At the end of the museum was the sake tasting room where Masumi and I tried a few different sakes.

All the sakes were really good including the "fresh sake" which was cloudy and had small chunks of rice in it. It was almost like a combination of rice pudding and sake...which is a pretty good combination.

After tasting different sakes, I bought a bottle for Masumi and Kensuke's house. I figure I drank enough of their sake these past three months that I could repay them with a nice bottle.

(PICTURE: The sake master...or at least the woman who poured me some sake to taste. The "fresh sake" is on the right side of the line.)

Following the museum we walked around the town looking for a particular ramen shop that sparked Masumi's interest. We each got a big bowl of ramen and split two plates of gyoza. Between the sake tasting, delicious ramen and my penchant for falling asleep in cars, I passed out in about two minutes when we hit the road after lunch.