Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nihonshu no Hi (Sake Day)!

In celebration of Sake Day, and because the net is alive with the sound of sake day, I would like to give a little explanation I like to call: "what the heck is Sake Day?"

Sake Day (Nihonshu no Hi, 日本酒の日) Is much more than a party put on by True Sake SF, or a celebration at Sakaya NYC (although both of those are an awesome way to celebrate Sake Day!).

First "why October 1st?"
Two reasons:
  1. The Kanji (Japanese symbol) for Sake is made up of two parts: the three lines on the right, representing water, and the covered box part on the left 酉, which represents a Sake jug or pot.  The progression from pot to Sake is believed to have gone something like this:
  2. the symbol 酉 Can be read as "tori とり" which can mean bird 鳥. Tori or bird is the tenth animal in the chinese zodiac (which Japan uses as well), and when put to the Roman calendar becomes the tenth month of the year, October. Therefore the first day of the month of the bird is Sake Day! And:
  3. In Japan we use a really confusing system (for those who are not used to it) for marking the date of production for sake. Some of you out there may be saying "Oh yeah, I've heard of that, the Imperial calendar, Heisei year 21 and all that, old news." That is only part of the story. In fact, just to confuse you Roman Calendar only people out there, the sake world uses three labeling systems. The Roman Calendar, the Imperial Calendar, and to top it off The BY Calendar (Short for Brewers Year).

    The Brewers Year calendar is about 6 months behind the Imperial calendar, so that the start of the brewers calendar is July (Meaning that the sake you have been drinking all year was made in BY 20 and the sake they are about to start brewing will be BY 21). Why is this important? Before 1965 the start of the brewers year was October 1st! In 1965 in order to better accommodate an earlier brewing season, as technology was Changing to allow it, the National Brewers Association of Japan Changed the start of the brewing year to July 1st.
The very first sake day was held on October 1st, 1978, as decreed by the national Brewers Association that year.

"So now I know why Sake Day is on Oct 1st, but what am I supposed to do for Sake Day?"

Well similar to St. Patties day in Ireland one should dress in red and make an ass of themselves, right?
Not exactly... Although I won't stop you.
Sake day is a day when we should all grab our favorite brew, relax and enjoy.
A lot of blood sweat and tears goes into the making of every bottle of sake, and we should all take a moment to reflect on the fabulous brew.
Going to True sake's event or stopping by Sakaya NYC is a good start too!
If you live in Japan it gets even easier!
Just stop by your local Jizake Senmonten (地酒専門店 specialty sake store) and grab your favorite brew.

Till next time


Meishu no Yutaka staff

No comments:

Post a Comment