O Saké Onegaishimasu! ( saké please! )

March 25, 2011


American Red CrossJapanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

While we can make donations, communicate our hopes, and pray for those affected, for many of us with connections to Japan, the desire to do something positive is strong, even though the means and modes may be limited.  The effects of the destructive earthquake and tsunami, which struck on March 11, 2011, will have lasting effect in northern Japan, and we wish endurance for the strength and courage of the Japanese people.
We believe that they will survive, rebound, and return better than before, because the warrior spirit, breathes life into the heart of Japan.


We gathered with  friends Friday night, to participate in the casual event called for by W. Blake Gray, and to contribute to Wine Blogging Wednesday #72, both of which are intended to bring awareness to the situation in Japan, it’s impacts on the ancient sake industry, and hopefully drive additional donations to support Red Cross relief efforts.

We would like to thank those who helped us to procure (with courteous discounts) the products that we tasted this evening.  Peter Rutledge, proprietor of Norwich Wine and Spirits helped us out with two sakes from the south, which are brought into Vermont by Farrell Distributing.  Amelia Rappaport, wine maven at the Woodstock Farmers Market, hustled in a special order from Vermont Wine Merchants, for the two northern sakes, and reserved her last bottle of Umeshu from inventory for us as well.  Amelia and I met training in our local Aikido dojo, Shobu Aikido Vermont, back in 1993…we still continue to toss each other around, and cross swords to this day.  The early days of my training were marked by numerous hours on the mat, a lot of hard work, and fortunately a good introduction to delicious sake in a warm social environment.

Those that joined us for this little tasting dinner, enjoyed trying all of the fine beverages provided.  We paired our sake with a home made menu of our own special favorites…at least the ones that I am capable of preparing myself.
Brown rice miso soup, a pile of smoked salmon and avocado maki, squid and vegetable fried rice, and teriyaki chicken legs.  I need to make a shameless plug here, because the beautiful dinnerware that we used, is a recent creation by my lovely and talented wife, who is also quite patient with this crazy wine project of mine.

Folks really appreciated each of the four sakes, some of them tasting fine sake ( not steaming steakhouse swill )  for the first time.  The northern brews fared a bit better in final opinions, and the Umeshu proved to be the perfect sweet and cleansing finish.

We raised our cups in honor of the victims, the heroes who are striving to recover and rebuild, and to the future.


I had tasted the Hakushika and Kaguyahime at the dojo with one of the guys Wednesday night after class, and I took a few notes.  At the dinner, I just wanted people to relax, with no pressure to judge, and to enjoy one another’s company.
Doing a serious review seemed altogether inappropriate given the circumstances, and so I thought that there might be another way to show appreciation.

Kokoro no gokui.

Nanbu Bijin
sings high licorice
dancer’s body caresses
heavenly linger


Nanbu BiJin "Southern Beauty" - Junmai Gingo - Iwate

Tentaka Kuni
creamy powder nose
coconut in twilight air
rum bran loves my tongue


TenTaka Kuni "Hawk in the Heavens" - Junmai - Tochigi

summer sun bread rise
white flowers fall on carob
butterscotch sizzle


Kaguyahime - "Radiant-night Princess" - Junmai - Yamamoto

elusive jam toast
cold fierce beauty meets work man
high polish low down


Hakushika - "White Deer" - Junmai Gingo - Nishinomiya

Choya Umeshu
silk scent of plum skin
intoxicating caller
finish delicious


Choya - Umeshu Plum Wine - Osaka

-Kutsuoto Kitsune

Comments (1)


  1. todd says:

    This evening I got a call from a good friend and Aikido sempai, as we are planning a trip to a seminar in NYC together. He reports that his family, located about 40 miles west of Sendai, is doing OK…gasoline lines are very long, and heating fuel is in short supply, but for the time being, there is an ample supply of food and water.
    Based on additional reports that I’ve heard, I continue to feel great admiration for the attitude and fortitude that is displayed by the Japanese people, and wish that the rest of the world would not only take notice, but consider living the example.

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