What do sake bloggers talk about when they finally meet in person? At the unofficial 2008 Sake Bloggers Summit, only two things filled our entire day for oh…. about 15 hours, non-stop. Sake, of course, and Shizuoka.
When the Sake Samurai, Tim, said he was coming back to Japan for this year’s Sake Samurai ceremony, Robert-Gilles from Shizuoka Sake, suggested Tim and two sake bloggers in Tokyo, Melinda and I make a trip to his proud home prefecture, Shizuoka. In October, we four intrepid sake bloggers finally met in the land of tea at the foot of Mt. Fuji where Robert-Gilles kindly scheduled two brewery visits and and showed us two of his favorite restaurants.
We met up with Robert-Gilles at the station, seeing him in person for the first time in my life. As soon as this Frenchman, who is a long term Shizuoka resident, greeted us at the station, our sake conversation from the train was put on hold and we were all immersed in Shizuoka facts. Did you know that Shizuoka City has the largest police force per capita in the country? Or, that Shizuoka produces over the half the himono, or dried fish, in Japan? The continuous flow of his wisdom was occasionally interrupted by other activities, such as brewery tours at Wakatake and Kumpai, and tasting sessions.
Please visit Tim, Melinda and Robert-Gills posts to read all about our visits to these two excellent breweries who kindly hosted our group that day out of their busy schedule when getting ready for the sake production season.
Throughout the day, we switched back and force between the two subjects: sake and Shizuoka. Then, finally, we finished the Bloggers Summit by beautifully integrating the two into a single, harmonious whole. At the end of the day, we were at Tomii sipping sake and having a good time. Eight different sake from Shizuoka were served in geographical order from west to east, paired with fresh sashimi, assorted tsumami dish, grilled fish and tempura. To top it off, Shizuoka style hospitality from the okami-san, the lady of the restaurant, made the day with the fellow sake enthusiast so memorable.
On the Shinkansen back to Tokyo that evening, I sat quietly, feeling good about the whole day with sake friends and about the place I grew up. I knew there were so many Shizuoka sake fans out there, but now I see why. It’s not just good sake, but the whole package that attracted us there!
Guys, thanks for the opportunity to finally meet! It was really fun and hope we can do this again, soon! Robe-chan, arigato gozaimasu!