Author: Hiroyuki Kouda
October is called Kannazuki, or the “month without
|(c) Jet Creative|| The Japanese traditionally divided the year into 24
small seasons. October 8th marked the start of Kanro,
the “cold dew”, when temperatures begin to drop. The
morning dew reminds one of how autumn has deepened.
October 23rd is the season of “frosting”, when
frost begins to settle.
| Come October, when freshly harvested rice is delivered
to sake breweries - it’s time to make new sake. The
process usually ends by the end of March. Breweries
that take time off during the summer season, however,
make sake starting September, and complete the
process in May.
New sake is made when rice, cultivated with a mold,
is fermented between a period of 20 to 30 days, inside
a tank. The mash is then filtered into white lees and
An increasing number of sake drinkers have acquired
a taste for fresh sake in recent years. But most sake is left
to mature in tanks to round out the flavor.
There are, however, fears that the quality of the sake
may deteriorate while it ages. To remove unneeded
ingredients, a little activated carbon is mixed before the
liquor is filtered. This purifying process has earned the
nickname, “put on a little make-up”.
Next, the liquid is pasteurized. The liquor is heated to
about 65 degrees Celsius for about two or three minutes.
This stabilizes the sake quality as it halts the activities
of microorganisms and enzyme.
Sake is then left to mature in a tank between the
seasonal rain-front in June and throughout the summer.
Unlike distilled liquor, clear sake matures in about a
short period of six months, due to various substances,
which include amino acid and glucose.
When sake matures, the harsh flavor of new sake
becomes mellow, and the typical smell of new sake is
replaced by a rich aroma of clear sake.
As the young sake matures in October, the liquor is
finally ready for shipping. Traditionally, however, sake
was brewed in giant cedar tanks and matured also in
Also, as it gets cooler at this time of year, the possibility
of sake turning sour due to bacteria contamination
tend to diminish. When outside temperatures dropped
to about the same level of sake kept in the buckets, the
tradition was to ship the “unpasteurized“ and ”cold”
sake that were poured into barrels. Thus emerged the
term, hiyaoroshi, which means to “ship cold”.
The famous Nada sake district in western Japan calls
the well-rounded, matured sake Akibare, or autumnal
blue skies, which is a nice way to express the clear
nature of this liquor.
The sake cold be enjoyed cold or warm, especially
as days grow shorter and nights longer during the
Bean Moon Sake
A drinking party may turn ugly if not all diners are wellmannered.
Saury fattens up for the winter during autumn. It’s an
indispensable seasonal delicacy. The fresh ones are
eaten raw, in the form of sashimi or sushi. But one
cannot possibly turn a blind eye to saury grilled with
salt. This is because one cannot savor the bitter taste of
its intestines, which is so typical of saury. If the long fish
does not fit in a grill, it should be halved diagonally,
from the anus up, so the intestines would not be cut up.
As the centuries-old expression goes, “In comes
saury, out goes masseurs” - the Japanese have for long
acknowledged the powers of blue fish, which include
rich docosa-hexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic
acid (EPA) contents. These acids are said to
help improve memory and reduce natural fats in the
Snow crabs boast of die-hard popularity, while red
king crabs, which can recently be purchased in teleshops
and so forth, are enjoying growing attention. But
there are many people that prefer hair crabs, due to
their chewy texture.
They can be caught between the coasts of Hokkaido
to Sanriku, and Hokuriku. They become tastier
during late fall and winter. Immerse in boiling water with
a dash of salt and a few drops of vinegar, to drive out
The small cherry shrimp seem commonplace, but are
actually found only in the bays of Suruga and Saga in
central Japan, as well as some parts of Tokyo Bay.
The main catching grounds include the mouth of
River Fuji, Yui and Kambara towns in Shizuoka. They are
caught between October and May. The nocturnal
creatures are also called Hikari-ebi, or light-emitting
shrimp, as they emit light as they swim near the sea
surface during nightfall. They turn a beautiful pink color
when they are boiled as soon as they are netted.
When eaten with vinegar, soy sauce, broth and grated
daikon radish, they make a perfect sake accompaniment.
|The drinking age of sake, under Japanese law, is 20.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited. Do not drink to excess.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages poses a potential danger to
pregnant women and their future offspring, including birth defects.
Copyright 2000 by KIKUSUI SAKE CO., LTD.All rights reserved.
Kikusui Sake co.,ltd zip code 957-0011 750, Shimagata, Shibata-shi, Niigata-ken, Japan
Phone Number (+81-254) 24-5111