Sake Poetry:
Hoken Junmai Ginjo Hattan-Nishiki “Treasured Sword”
(Hoken Brewery @Hiroshima Pref.)

Written by Ryosuke
Translated by Jojo Brandel

Walking far and climbing upwards. I can see an oak tree.

I climb the stone steps. It’s so hot.

I can see the surrounding nature. Something shines. 

I want to wake up here where it’s almost too bright.


The sun’s rays dazzle my eyes. It’s always bright. 

I can’t stare it’s so strong. 

I look down at my feet and rest a little, but know I must trudge on. 

Just a little further, just a little further. All I want is to see the sun shine from a slightly different place. 


I wonder,

Is it alright to feel joy from such a plain view? 

I wonder,

does my progress forward mean anything to anyone? 


Someone was waiting at the top of the stone steps. 

Further than 100, maybe 1000 steps away. 

This kind of progress without enlightenment is punishing

and as I look towards the light again today, I feel its weight. 


Year after year, day after day, the time to stop never comes.

I don’t even know whether it’s okay to laugh as I see the sweat drip down my arm.

Will it ever come? 


I swallow my own words with my sake,

my body lights up and I kick my feet back 

My heel thumps against the tatami mat with a thud.

It resonates in my head, shoulders, body and legs, before luring me to sleep. 


It was just another summer day with my glass of sake.