KAMPAI! For the Love of Sake: Part II

By Kosuke Kuji

A documentary film featuring three female Japanese sake brewers, “KAMPAI! For the Love of Sake” kicked off in Tokyo in April 2019.

Three female sake brewers star in this documentary film: Miho Imada, CEO and Master Sake Brewer of Imada Sake Brewery Co., Ltd., producing “Fukucho” in Hiroshima prefecture; Marie Chiba, the charismatic manager of sake bar “GEM by moto” in the Ebisu district of Tokyo, also active as an author of books on pairing sake; and lastly, Rebekah Wilson-Lye, a New Zealand national and sake consultant of JAPAN CRAFT SAKE COMPANY owned by Hidetoshi Nakada, former professional Japanese soccer player.

The first film in which I also starred in, “KAMPAI! For the Love of Sake,” directed by Mirai Konishi based in Los Angeles, depicted the historic background of Japanese sake production that traditionally banned women from participation, but since evolved to include female brewers and Master Sake Brewers in many breweries today, actively involved in producing quality sake, along with many women visible in promoting and serving customers today. This documentary centers around three female pioneers leading Japanese sake production today.
The cast of participating brewers include renowned names, such as members of the Hiroshima Sake Makers Association, Owner Tadayoshi Onishi of “Jikon” in Mie prefecture, member brewers of “Next 5” leading Akita prefecture, and many other renowned brewers.

With the goal to brew sake more freely and enjoyably, this film tells the stories of three women captivated by the allure of Japanese sake, and the latest in the Japanese sake production industry. This film will likely be screened in the U.S. in the future, so please attend a screening if possible.

「映画カンパイ その2」


この映画は、主人公は3人の女性になります。広島県で「富久長」を醸す今田酒造本店の代表取締役で杜氏の今田美穂さん、東京恵比寿の日本酒バー「GEM by moto」のカリスマ店長で、ペアリングの本なども執筆する岩手出身の千葉麻里絵さん、そして、ニュージーランド出身でサッカー元日本代表の中田英寿さんが率いるJAPAN CRAFT SAKE COMPANY所属で、日本酒コンサルタントのレベッカ・ウィルソンライさん。



#KAMPAI #sake


“KANPAI – For the Love of Sake: Part I”

By Kosuke Kuji

Los Angeles-based Mirai Konishi produced “KANPAI – For the Love of Sake” from crowdfunding, released in 2015.

After a world premiere at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the film was also screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, and various film festivals domestic and abroad.

Starting from Iwate prefecture in 2016, the screening started north from Hokkaido, south from Okinawa, and continued on be screened and broadcast in 13 different countries.

Shinjoro Koizumi of The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan was said to be so moved by this film, he was driven to show it to fellow congressmen in his party, realized by a screening at The Liberal Democratic Party headquarters, further selected for broadcast in international flights with Japan Air Lines (JAL), widely viewed and loved nationwide.

This film is a documentary film on three outsiders. The main character is Philip Harper, Chief Brewer of “Tamagawa Brewery” in Kyoto prefecture, the first to assume this position in the world. The other main characters are John Gautner, a sake ambassador active in the U.S.; and myself, I manage a brewery.

In the U.S., the film was screened in Los Angeles in New York.

In Los Angeles, the Consul General hosted a screening party. This film had a great impact on sake fans in Japan and worldwide.

Currently, “KANPAI – For the Love of Sake” is currently available for viewing on Netflix, and the DVD is on sale on Amazon.

Due to the overwhelmingly positive review the film received, Director Konishi produced “KANPAI – For the Love of Sake 2,” and the screening started this year.

「映画カンパイ その1」









#sake #KANPAI


The much-needed standardization of labels

By Yuji Matsumoto

I had an opportunity to hold a Japanese sake seminar at The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

What they wanted to know most was the difference between cold and hot sake, brewing process, ingredients and health-related questions, mostly about “How to select your preferred sake.” What is the basis of selecting sake, and where are the descriptions of the sake listed? There were many unknown factors involved in selecting sake. Since over ten years ago, I’ve published the need to standardize labels for Japanese sake, and to display necessary information to the Japanese sake industry. However, I’m disappointed to see that we still haven’t moved forward with these efforts.

For example, the appropriate range of temperature to enjoy sake, compatible cuisines, and to incorporate simple flavors and aromas. The reason why we still don’t see these subjects addressed within the industry is because those affiliated with Japanese sake (including within the U.S.) knows nothing about the happenings on site.The sales of Japanese sake in Japan vs. U.S. is approximately 2% on average, so there’s no motivation. However, it would make sense to try and standardize the labels to ease understanding for consumers.








라벨 통일에 대한 요구
국제교류기금 로스앤젤레스 일본문화센터에서 니혼슈에 관한 세미나를 열 기회가 있었습니다.

그들이 가장 알고 싶어 하는 것은 차가운 술과 뜨겁게 데운 술의 차이, 제조 방법, 원료나 건강적인 측면 등에 대한 질문이 있었지만, "자신이 좋아하는 타입의 술을 어떻게 선택하면 좋은가"라는 질문이 많았습니다. 즉, 무엇을 기준으로 선택하는지, 맛이나 향에 관한 프로필은 어디에 쓰여 있는지에 관한 질문입니다. 수십 년 동안 니혼슈의 라벨 통일화와 정보 표시의 필요성을 니혼슈 업계에 전달해 왔지만 전혀 진척되지 않고 있는 현실이 매우 유감스럽습니다. 예를 들어, 표시 라벨에 적정 음주 온도의 범위, 궁합이 잘 맞는 음식, 간단한 맛과 향을 표기하는 것입니다. 아직도 업계 전반에 걸쳐 이러한 움직임이 전혀 보이지 않는 이유는, 아마도 니혼슈와 관련된(미국도 포함) 사람들이 현장을 전혀 모르기 때문일 것입니다.

일본과 미국의 니혼슈 판매 금액을 비교하면 평균 약 2%에도 미치지 못하기 때문에 무리일 수도 있지만, 좀 더 소비자 친화적인 통일된 라벨을 검토해 주었으면 합니다.
#sake #standardization


Creating new lines of people in New York, “Momofuku Noodle Bar”

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By Aya Ota

“Momofuku Group” has always been drawing people’s attention with its innovative concept. Since its opening of “Momofuku Noodle Bar” in 2004 in the East Village District by David Chung, a chef and restaurant entrepreneur, the Group has been growing at an amazing speed. It has developed about 15 various restaurants from casual to high-end, mainly in New York, including Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. It has also developed fast food chains: “Fuku” of fried chicken sandwiches, and “Milk Bar” of sweets & bakery.

David Chung has won various awards which include the Best Chef Award by James Beard Foundation. He is a star chef who is often featured in all kinds of media, who was also selected by Esquire magazine as one of “the most influential people of the 21st Century” along with the politician, Hillary Clinton, the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

“Noodle Bar”, the leader of this Group’s development, has always been creating a line of waiting people since its 2004 opening, and the second NY location at Columbus Circle which opened at the end of last year after a long wait, is also creating a new line.

“Noodle Bar” is managed by Tony Kim, Executive Chef. He has a unique background. He used to be in the marketing industry, but his passion for cooking made him go into the restaurant industry. After building a career in California in a few restaurant groups, he moved to New York in 2011, and joined “Momofuku Group” in 2013.

Both the founder, David, and Tony are second-generation Korean Americans. Not to mention they have been influenced by Korean home cooking, David has been trained in Japan as well. So, not only by Japanese food ingredients, they have also been greatly influenced by Japanese cooking methods and philosophy. Their bacon dashi has the characteristics of umami of bonito flakes and smoky fragrance. They are firm about the idea of “creating no waste of food, and use the fat from grilling chicken for soup and oil to make fried chicken. Tony has used various Japanese food ingredients such as miso and soy sauce to create new tastes. He said that he always tries to combine ingredients without overpowering their originalities.

Although the name is Noodle Bar, there are only 5 noodle dishes, and the rest is offered by category like Chinese buns (Bread), small plates, vegetables, and large plates. It appears that the number of menu items is not very many, but they also offer “today’s special”, and a daily-changing signature menu item in which plenty of seasonal local ingredients are used to keep repeat customers interested. Since New York is the type of place where a wide variety of customers reside, they pay attention to give a good balance in their menu selection. As for food ingredients, they use a rich variety of meat, fish, and vegetables, and also a wide variety for flavoring from spicy to mild. This Group established “Momofuku Culinary Lab” in 2010. Using traditional Japanese and Korean cooking methods, they have developed seasonings and furikake toppings that suit the preferences of Americans, and use them in the restaurant. The Chinese buns are also all particularly made by hand.

Inside of the restaurant, a kitchen counter is installed on one side, and a bar counter on the other side to give the feeling of presence, and to accommodate all customers in all situations, there are tables and chairs in the center.

In 2020, another Noodle Bar is supposed to open in Los Angeles. They keep opening restaurants of new business models in New York and Las Vegas as well. I cannot keep my eyes off of these current trends.


 常に斬新なコンセプトで注目を浴び続ける『モモフク・グループ』。シェフでレストラン実業家のデイヴィッド・チャン氏が、2004年にイーストヴィレッジ地区に『モモフク・ヌードル・バー』を開店以来、破竹の勢いで成長を続け、現在ニューヨークを中心に、ワシントンD.C.、ラスベガス、ロサンゼルス、オーストラリア・シドニー、カナダ・トロントに、カジュアルな店から高級店まで約15店舗展開する。また、フライドチキン・サンドイッチのファストフード店『Fuku』、スイーツ&ベーカリーの『Milk Bar』をチェーン展開している。







Momofuku Noodle Bar
The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019


Lunch - Daily 11:30 am – 4 pm
Dinner - Daily 5 pm – 10:30 pm
The bar remains open from 4 – 5 pm
#NY #MomofukuNoodleBar


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