day 22 sachi imo
A typhoon that had been threatening Kyushu weakened and changed course so we were left with some clouds and light rain for my last day in Ichiki. A local TV station, MBC-Kagoshima, which had profiled my visit to Komasa Shuzo last summer, found me again for a piece on my internship at Yamato Zakura. Read More...
koji
The afternoon's work was broken up by a visit to the Tengu Sakura Shuzo, a 5 minute walk from Yamato Zakura. This is another tezukuri (handmade) distillery in Ichiki, but it's a much larger operation, making two to three times more shochu each day and having many more brands. The telltale Tengu (a god-like creature with a long nose) bottle appears throughout Japan in any respectable shochu bar. Read More...
day20koji
Today is another slower day at the distillery since Sunday's closure means no imo washing today. I get to sleep in until a decadent 7am before starting the day's work. Over breakfast Tekkan-san informs me that the local newspaper and government offices will be visiting to conduct an interview with me - they'd caught wind of my internship through his facebook page. Read More...
saruya owner
To say that Saruya ("monkey house") is in Satsuma-Sendai is kind of like saying that Staten Island is in New York City. Technically it is, but only technically. Driving down a dark country road surrounded by thick old forest we come upon a small parking lot in front of a windowless building decorated with shochu bottles and a neon sign. This was our destination. There's not another building in sight. Read More...
oysters
On my previous visit to Kagoshima in the summer of 2012, I had not done any sightseeing, instead just nonstop distillery tours during the day and izakaya visits at night. I managed to go three days in Kagoshima without even seeing Sakurajima, the volcano that looms over the city from across the bay. I'd already remedied that on previous days, but decided to stroll aimlessly around the city to see what it was like. Read More...
future
With no set itinerary for the weekend, I was able to sleep in a little before Yagi-kun picked me up for the drive to the Sakurajima ferry terminal. On our drive Sakurajima was silent until it wasn't. An enormous eruption sent ash billowing skyward in a startling display of the volcano's volatility. Startling apparently only to me as Yagi-kun and his wife didn't seem at all surprised or impressed. They stopped the car for a photo nonetheless. Read More...

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