Tag Archives: sake

Cameo: Maniwa, Okayama Tourism Brochure

Well, I really hit the big time now ;)… If you look closely, I mean *very very* closely, you can see me in the brewing loft of the centuries old saké maker in our neighbouring region of Maniwa here in Okayama, Japan.

Background: Ryoko and I were invited along very special tour around fermented foods makers (2 saké makers, plus craft beer, wine/grappa/cheese, and miso/ vinegar/ shoyu/ koji)… along with a handful of international guests came a small legion of photographers/videomakers to document the event.

(Some of) the results appear in this lusciously-designed and luxuriously-produced brochure.

Aside: We had visited this area for Ryoko’s work a few weeks earlier, at which point I shared some thoughts about the changes going on in inaka/country areas of Japan (i.e. de-population, lack of investment, transportation links cut/reduced, so many elderly folks somewhat ignored, reduction of services in general, lack of appreciation for the important produce of these areas…) as so much of the attention and money and power is concentrated in the big cities (really, Tokyo). 

Anyway, there are loads are fantastic photos from this outing, and one tiny one appears here as a bit of a preview… (Really i will share eventually! It’s on my list but, so are a lot of other things, one of these days…) and you’ve maybe noticed of late I’m learning more about fermented foods (i.e. making pickles) with a big dream of making my own miso.

Anyhow, did you spot me? Might need a magnifying glass, like I said “big-time”. Let’s visit Maniwa next time you come to visit OK?

Diary: New Year’s Morning + Day / Reiwa 2, Let’s Enjoy!

Well hello 2020. Let’s enjoy. Step 1 (or 2) #japanlife

special stash of Indonesian coffee beans
give em a special extra roast
into the Moka (not mocha) pot – my fave all-around way to prepare coffee
warm up in our chilly little cottage

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Morning + Day / Reiwa 2, Let’s Enjoy!

Diary: Days Before New Year’s Eve / Lead-up Activities + Goodnight Year of the Boar

Well, the days between Christmas and New Year’s aren’t really a thing per se in Japan as Christmas is just a reason for decor and music (as it should be at most) and all the build up is for New Year’s – this being my first “real” New Year’s in Japan, i just sorta held on for the ride… 

Anyhow, regardless, during this time, Ryoko and I were out and about for various events, errands, chores, adventures and whatnot – much of which is documented elsewhere in this archive and here are the pleasant mundane-ities which didn’t fit anywhere else – with minor annotations perhaps of “Japan Life”. 

Let’s begin with a few lunches and beverages – after a shop at a hardware store, we slipped into a little Yoshoku restaurant – sorta Japan remix of western dishes – this one sorta French but ya know, not really (and that’s not the point). Anyhow… had a sort of cutlet above and a pot of tea to follow. 

Another lunchtime, our relationship with pizza toast continued at home. 

And this seems absurd but the wonderful konbini stores can provide fresh ground/brewed coffee – i mean, it seems weird to say this but dang, not bad and well priced. That’s me in reflection (literally and metaphorically). Continue reading Diary: Days Before New Year’s Eve / Lead-up Activities + Goodnight Year of the Boar

Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Dave visits a Café terrace at Night – at “the Market” for a special event (described below) – photo by Ryoko (van Gogh homage)

After all the friends came and went from the wedding festivities in April (including a hospital stay by one intrepid adventurer) and then the Emperor abdicated and new one enthroned, then we rambled through much of May to Toyama, Nagano, Niigata etc. seeing small museums, riding various trains, soaking in a few hot springs, visiting a few pals… oh then of course, doing all the paperwork and procedure for my zairyu card, national insurance and pension programs and setting up our little house with some 2nd hand furniture, a fresh shelf books and hooks and hangers… we set about just “normal life” here. 

Note: Indeed, indulged with a very practical maneouver to acquire a stack of books… this pile is primarily from Vancouver and Vancouver-related by Grant Lawrence, Aaron Chapman, Eve Lazarus, plus Marc Zegans and David Willis… i will document these and many others recently added to collection forthwith(ish). 

What follows are very mediocre snapshots to chronicle various normal-outings, non-events, day-to-day errands, and other otherwise insignificant actions. 

For the record, we live in Tsuchida neighbourhood outside of Okayama city (shi), the capital of Okayama prefecture (ken). A mix of old (pre-war) homes, new homes, rice fields. 20 mins by car or 30 minutes by the fantastic Uno Bus to Okayama Station. Easy to go to Kurashiki or Bizen or the inland sea

I’ve even tried to plant some garden boxes and various seeds for greens. Okaasan (mother) has a much better technique and diligence with gardening. 

Continue reading Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Watching my every each step

Is the task at hand

So i’ll watch yours instead

Continue reading Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Explaining saké… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Sushi hitherto unknown

Yet pressed into translation help

Explaining sake to Germans

Thanks to Vendors and Helpers / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Note: what follows is the information as was printed upon a sheet which was included in the gift bags as a way to support and thank the various vendors, suppliers, helpers and whatnot for the wedding and build their businesses by fostering community. (pdf attached for your convenience). 

For many of these sections (party, giftbag, shrine, pottery etc) there are additional posts and artifacts. As such, this isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just the way the goodness was shared and printed, quite literally the morning of the party with very few modifications in this form. 

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Let us introduce the various friends and providers who helped us put together the wedding festivities. Please help us show thanks by offering reviews, likes, shares, photos etc.   

Food

Rural Caprine Farm / ルーラルカプリ農場 / Sempei Makoto Kobayashi  / 小林真人 party host and food / yagimilk.com/  

Noriko Hinuma / 日沼 紀子 / Spice chef / スパイス料理家 

Pom / ケーキ工房ポム / cake / pomme101.com

Continue reading Thanks to Vendors and Helpers / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Drunken Japanese Petenque Storytime – Choogle On! #64

Drunken Japanese Petenque Storytime – Choogle on #64
Drunken Japanese Petenque Storytime – Choogle on #64

Wandering the streets of Austin with old pal Yaki Niku, Uncle Weed recounts a strange international steel ball tossing tournament in a remote Japanese village known for radioactive hot springs. The multi-national, dignitaries, dubbed the Genki Monkeys, represented eagerly through much drunkeness at the hands of mayor and his cohorts, followed by Born to be Wild karaoke and outdoor hot spring soaking riverside.

Followed by an early morning breakfast of raw eggs, a hungover beat down by of old folks with tape measures, and a long afternoon of waiting around in the valley in discomfort due to a queasy formal dinner and an endless tour of world liquors. 

Stumble along for Drunken Japanese Petenque Storytime – Choogle on #64 (.mp3, 22:21, 18MB)

Continue reading Drunken Japanese Petenque Storytime – Choogle On! #64