Last weekend some of the gang headed down to Kurume on the JR line for a Sake festival = 先週の土曜日電車で久留米へ日本酒を飲みに行きました. We heard about this through a friend we inherited from last year’s lot “Mick”, though I’m sure that’s not his real name. He met us off the train in Kurume, a large-ish town south of Tosu which reminded me weirdly of Gateshead (don’t ask me why). Here are some pictures:
Also with him was a Yankee guy called Patrick who, along with Mick, described himself as a Nihon-shu nut. Nihon-shu is the correct name for what we call Sake.
We walked through a strange shopping arcade; there seem to be a lot of these places in Japan, long galleries filled with incorrect English and oddly fronted shops filled with things that haven’t been fashionable since the Eighties (though until recently the same could be said of the Conservative party).
The festival was in a park and was a heavenly thing. You paid 1500円 (around 12 GBP)on the door and they gave you a little thimble and a book to tick off the near one hundred different Sakes you could try in the four long tents around the park. North Kyushu, I am told, is one of a few big Nihon-shu producing areas, Napa of Nippon, Speyside of the Orient, Jura in Japan. And only a small sample of the local brewers were represented. But represented they were, with beautiful blue robes and even more beautiful products.
Knowing little of the ‘shu, I took my pick based on the prettiness of the bottle; the competition, like the stuff itself, was stiff but I managed. And I got quite 酔っぱらい (yopparai) quite early on. As it got colder, we took on the hot stuff, 熱燗 (atsukan).
Fun was had by all, and I staggered off home at around three, satisfied that I’d had a deliciously oriental afternoon.