Museum of Sake Journal Summer 2015 - Page 45

A CHARMING LIFE God I love sake but it wasn’t love at first sight. My relationship with sake started 16 years ago when I was living in Hokkaido, the stunning northern island of Japan. It was a pretty typical first encounter: rough, piping hot and - seemingly - coupled with an alcoholic punch that imprinted only fear on the remaining fragments of my memory. “God this is terrible!” I thought. Since that awkward and painful first date, our relationship - mine and sake’s - has gone through a reawakening (tentative at first), muddled re-acquaintance (drunken but surprisingly hangover free), rapid appreciation (mutual, I hope) and, finally, a full-on, wondrous love affair. We’ve been in the honeymoon period for 10 over years now. Marriage crept in - I started my own sake import company - and the relationship grew and deepened. I have spent a lot of time studying sake and, for me, the more I learnt the more respect and understanding I developed for both the drink and the people that work hard to make it. But I longed to experience making sake myself, to really get an inside appreciation of what it involved, more than just that