#When I Fell In Love With Sake

Edited by Saki Kimura

Sake’s aficionados are passionate. They believe their love: they can even get angry for this drink to maintain its honor.
It might sound a kind of prejudice, but this is actually because why I decided to carry out a social media project called as #WhenIFellInLoveWithSake, which sake fans post their story of the moment they fell in love with sake with this hashtag. It is held both in English and Japanese, which got more applications than I expected.

For this article, I introduce some posts including the Best Story Award (I sent a gift to the winner). Please enjoy sake love stories from Japan and US!

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【Best Story Award】

Posted by SGL@浅倉 (@tapirus3)

  Shocked by Wakanami (Young Wave) Junmai Ginjo in spring
  moved by FY2 in summer
  addicted by Aka-tonbo (Red Dragonfly) in autumn
  and intoxicated by Tanpopo (Dandelion) in winter

  When I noticed all these are made by the same brewery
  I fell in love with sake

* Writer’s Comment
I wrote this as a love letter for my favorite drink sake.
Thank you for such an evaluation!

* Saki’s Comment
Analyzing his flavor preference, I presented him a sake “Takijiman Karakuchi Junmai Nama” brewed by Takijiman Shuzo in Mie Prefecture. Special thanks for Jizake Miyukiya, a liquor store in Wakayama!

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Special Selection

Posted by HOSHITARO@SAKEチャンネル (@SAKETUBER/Twitter)

──Seven years ago, I was determined to work for the best sake brewery in Japan. At the last of my adventure all over Japan, I had a sake one my father one on one at my parents’ home. The sake that my father got out of the refrigerator is made by the brewery that I am working for currently.

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Posted by yui (@uiuiui103/Twitter)

──When I realized, I’d fell in love with sake that had become a part of my life. I can’t imagine my life without sake – which sounds like I am really in a relationship with sake!

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Posted by KJ (@kerryjomama/Instagram)

‘The sake that got me.’

──Ever since I was a young kid growing up in a lively Italian family in the boroughs of New York I have had a sincere fascination with Japanese culture. While adventuring in theater and wine during my early 20’s, sake began its calling. As a member of the Japan Society in NYC, I was exposed to all the great arts of this land. In 2014, I attended an event hosted by John Gauntner and 10 sake breweries. I loved many of them, but my future obsession was fueled by the quality of Dassai – 5 years later and here I am! Arigato.

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Posted by HAL 公邸料理人 (@HAL87350031/Twitter)

──I had “Ikedsuki Usu-Nigori (subtle cloudy)” at the izakaya where my annoying senior coworker brought to scold me. The best memory and the worst memory co-exists in a glass of this supreme sake.

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Posted by りょーさけ (@ryosake3/Twitter)

  Kubota, that I had on New Year’s day when I was 20 years old.
  Dewazakura, that I had with my teacher who has already passed away.
  Aramasa, that I finally tasted seriously after I came back to my hometown.
  Kamokinshu, that I had as the last drink when I visited GEM by moto for the first time.

  Each sake starts shining like a star: each constellation changes its shape every time I fall in love with a certain sake.

  I fall in love with sake again.
  I chase it for many times, for good.

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Posted by Mei (@sake_mei_mei/Instagram)

──When I decided to move away from home at the age of 22. I needed to find work to support myself. I would mainly apply at Japanese restaurants because that’s all I knew. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long at all. I was hired as one of the opening staff of Roka Akor a contemporary restaurant in the Financial District of San Francisco with foods inspired by Japanese cuisine. It was my first time working at a place where the dollar signs were $$$$. I was used to your fast pace, local, and friendly Ma & Pa places. Roka Akor focused on high-end dining and proper serving etiquette. They properly trained their staff on the food, and drinks. And if you didn’t make the cut, you wouldn’t get to be a server. You’d get stuck with a lower paying title in terms of tips.

One of the mandatory trainings we did was on sake. We had a speaker named Eric Swanson, who came in to talk sake 101. It was super interesting to listen to. Rice milling? How do you mill rice? Each freakin grain is milled to the same percentage? It was impossible to imagine in my mind back then. I couldn’t understand how I was tasting the interesting flavors I experienced during the training. It was an epiphany! At the end of the training, I remember going up to Eric Swanson to ask him, “how do I get to do what you do?” Meaning, how can I get to go around and talk about sake like him? He paused for a second and then finally gave me an answer “just keep drinking.” My Mom wasn’t too happy when I told her that! Haha!

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Posted by Saki Kimura(@sakeschi/Twitter@sakekimura/Instagram

──I had sake for the first time at one of popular Japanese restaurants when I just turned into 20 years old. I was shocked by the quality of a ochoko of sake that my parents gave me saying “You wanna drink a bit?” This experience made me strongly believe that “Sake should be more tasty” even if I had bad sake at cheap izakayas when I was a university student. I never remember the brand or the brewery of my first sake: you might expect that my sake adventure should be romantic like looking for a girl whom I fell in love with. In fact, however, when I drink new glass I always feel “Awesome! There are various kinds of beautifuls in the world!” – I am sorry about that!

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Even though I believe that I should not rank people’s personal love stories, I launched this project in order to share love and respect each other. Thank you so much for all participants!

What kind of moment was when you fell in love with sake? This project is over, but I’d appreciate it if you share your story to SakeTips! anytime!