January 19th was not only my birthday, but also a snow day, and what better way to celebrate than attending the sake-tasting event presented by Yamatoya sake and wine shop.
The event was held over two nights in Yamatoya’s Shuho Lounge, a small, comfortable and cozy place on the second floor of the Yamato-ya Building.
I managed to rope two Japanese friends of mine into joining me for the night, one drinker and fellow hot sake lover and another non-drinker. Although my non-drinker friend didn’t partake of the sake, he was most appreciative of the small snacks that were available and the warm atmosphere of the event.
As a female, I did notice that I was in the minority (I’m also a foreigner, so double points there!), but that never matters where alcohol is concerned, especially in Japan. Our hosts welcomed us warmly, we relieved ourselves of our coats and promptly ordered the three glass atsukan hot sake set for ¥500.
Watching the falling snow from the window overlooking the street, we sighed deeply as we sipped our sake and tried to discern what the familiar undertone was of the slightly yellow-coloured, Takesuzume (竹雀) Yamahai-junmai (山廃純米) sake from Gifu Prefecture.
“Honey!” I exclaimed.
My fellow drinker’s eyes widened and he said, “You’re right!”
It was our favourite tipple of the three and I would highly recommend it. Events like this are perfect for sampling small amounts and deciding what you do and don’t like as far as Japanese sake. It also means you don’t risk buying a large bottle of something that you discover later you don’t really like.
After draining the last drop we stumbled out into the night, our insides pleasantly warm from the sake, snacks and service of Yamatoya and our hearts satisfied from the snow-covered scenery of downtown Hiroshima.