Japanese Sake

_80258697_98570230

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30793331

先日は、日本のウイスキーについてお話しましたが、今回はなんと日本酒(Japanese Sake)が

BBCで取り上げられていました。

日本酒といえば、ビール好きのイギリス人にとってはそれほどなじみのあるものではなく、

あまり日常で見られるものではありません。

それでもこうして注目してもらえてうれしいばかりです。

The woes of Fukushima’s sake brewers

By Barbara BalfourBusiness reporter, Tokyo

Hiroyuki Karahashi at a sake tasting event in Tokyo
Hiroyuki Karahashi and other sake-makers in Fukushima have had a tough few years

Mr Karahashi, owner of the Homare Sake Brewing Company in the Fukushima prefecture, the region where the stricken nuclear power station is located, says the callers are all concerned about radiation levels.

“One of them told me that he received our sake as a gift from his friend, but he did not want to accept it,” says the 41-year-old.

“He asked me if he could return the bottle to us. I told him to discard it if he would not drink it, but he said it would contaminate his place to do so.”

Rebekah Wilson-LyeSake expert

Mr Karahashi adds that many more Japanese shoppers simply won’t buy any sake – an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice and water – from Fukushima.

“They do not openly say they will not buy Fukushima’s products, but they never buy them,” says Mr Karahashi, who is also chairman of the Fukushima Prefecture Sake Brewers’ Association.

“In that case we do not have the chance to explain to them the safety of our products.”

For the 62 member breweries of the Fukushima association, there is also little cheer from former key export markets.

China continues to ban all imports of sake from Fukushima and nine other Japanese regions, citing continuing radiation fears.

 

Steamed rice being spread out at a sake brewery in Japan

 

  • There are at least 80 different types of sake rice in Japan
  • The rice has its outer layer or bran removed before brewing
  • The rice is then soaked and steamed before a mould or fungus is added to start the fermentation
  • Water and yeast is then added, with the sake being produced two or three weeks later
  • Undiluted, sake typically contains between 18% and 20% alcohol
  • In Japan it is often served gently warmed in a small porcelain bottle called a tokkuri, then poured into small porcelain cups called sakazuki

 

Volunteers who helped to harvest the rice for the Izumibashi Brewery
Izumibashi Brewery gets the local community involved in the harvesting of its rice

 

なんと福島の酒造が震災事故以降、安全性などを懸念する消費者不信らに伴い、

困難になっていたところ、近年復帰し、このような華々しい賞を受賞したことが

取りざたされていました。

日本酒についてですが、実はイギリスではあまりこの日本酒は知られているものではなく、それほど

一般的なものではありません。

また以前、私もお知り合いの方に日本酒を贈ったことがあるのですが、かなり微妙な

反応でした。

たぶん、イギリス人にとってはやはりビールの味がお口に合うようです。

それから福島の事故についても、日本ほどの認知度がありません。

震災についてはなしたところ、そういうことがあったね。。。

という程度の認知度です。

それでもこうしてBBCに取り上げられてもらえるのはうれしい限り。

とくにお酒好きというわけではありませんが、やはり日本の伝統文化の

一つなので、多くの方に知ってもらえるのはうれしいばかりです。

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