My personal favorite iichiko brand available in the US is iichiko Kurobin. Kurobin is literally translated as "black bottle," which is a pretty on the nose description of this evocative packaging. It is simply too pretty to throw away after finishing.
When I moved to Japan one of my hopes was to start secondary aging Okinawan awamori at home. While it is nearly impossible to source these ceramic pots in the US, it is not that difficult in Japan so long as you are willing to pay. These are typically reserved for long-aged, or kusu awamori (古酒泡盛), which can run hundreds of dollars per liter especially in the traditional decorative ceramic jars, or "kame" (甕).
The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks has been nominated for a James Beard Book Award in the category Beverage Without Recipes. This is the first book about Japanese alcohol ever nominated for a James Beard Award.
In this new and improved version of our website we are going to get lots of new shochu and awamori information up very soon with new writers including some certified shochu advisors from around the world.
Stephen Lyman has written the Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks, which was published in October by Tuttle. Find out more abou the book, where to buy it, and most importantly, where to meet Stephen to get your own signed copy as he travels Japan and North America.
I would not be exaggerating if I said there were chickens clucking in the yard with a 4x4 up on blocks, but this isn't the U.S., this is Japan, so instead there was a decrepit k-truck tucked under a tarp and a lithe cat warming itself in the sun. There was no activity, though I spied a middle aged man through a 2nd floor window of the old home. He quickly turned and disappeared from sight.