matsuri
The typhoon (#24 this year if you're counting) wiped out classes for Mai-san's university so my presentation to her class was canceled as was my hoped for trip to Iki island the next day. By 7am it was raining heavily, though the winds hadn't yet really started. By noon there were frequent gusts but that didn't keep us inside. Read More...
whale
We duck into a local sushi-ya filled with older locals smoking cigarettes and enjoying their evening. A couple at the other end of the bar drink Iki shochu, a guy eating alone drinks beer from the bottle, and two women sitting next to us drink nihon-shu from a carafe before switching to shochu later in the meal. Read More...
shinozaki
After two days packed with 8 distillery tours in Kumamoto and a big night out in Fukuoka with the distillers to wrap it all up, it was time to shift gears. Matsuda-san from Sengetsu Shuzo, who lives in Fukuoka, picked me up at my hotel for an hour's drive into the Fukuoka countryside to visit Shinozaki Shuzo, a barley shochu distillery and sake brewery. Read More...
fukano hanatare
We drove about 45 minutes on rural roads to Toyonaga Shuzo, which makes Toyonaga, available in the US market. This was the first rice shochu that made me realize what kumajochu was. It's dry, crisp, and has surprising character for something so clean. Toyonaga-san was very glad to meet us and once he learned I liked joatsu muroka shochus he broke out a bottle of Jigaden, which immediately set a new standard for what a rice shochu could be. Read More...
sengetsu toji
Waking up at 7:30am for an 8am pick-up left us with no time for breakfast before our drive to Kumamoto's Hitoyoshi, home of 28 rice shochu distillers that collectively make "kumajochu", the WTO Appellation of Origin that can only be given to rice shochus that are made with local spring water and that are fermented, distilled, and bottled in the Hitoyoshi area. Read More...
RyuSui
After landing in Tokyo, I had kakiage soba (soba with fried seafood – crab and shrimp) and a draft beer. The perfect end to that long flight. After a 3 hour layover in Tokyo, I boarded a plane to Fukuoka, arriving at 9:45pm local time. Read More...

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