The disruption of the Sho Chu Market

By Yuji Matsumoto

While sake is renown as an alcoholic beverage unique to Japan, there is very little recognition of shochu among American consumers. Because there is little information on the difference between the Korean Soju and traditional Japanese shochu, consumers are confused. This is a unique case particular to California, but despite shochu being a distilled spirit, if imported with alcohol level below 24%, then restaurants with Beer & Wine licenses can sell them as “Soju” as long as they’re imported and registered accordingly. Because over 90% of Japanese restaurants in California only hold Beer & Wine licenses, the term “Soju” must be used over “Shochu.” Depending on the manufacturers, some register two different labels for the same brand: the term “Soju” is used for alcohol level of 24%, while alcohol level of 25% and above is referred to as “Shochu.” The root of all confusion is this law. While the vendor wants to sell as Shochu, the market becomes so limited by the naming that vendors are forced to sell them as “Soju” instead. Since the label reads “Soju,” there’s no point in trying to explain that “Japanese Shochu is different from Soju,” since most American consumers don’t read Japanese and won’t understand the difference. I’m also troubled about how to train my employees.

The root of all confusion is this law. While the vendor wants to sell as Shochu, the market becomes so limited by the naming that vendors are forced to sell them as “Soju” instead. Since the label reads “Soju,” there’s no point in trying to explain that “Japanese Shochu is different from Soju,” since most American consumers don’t read Japanese and won’t understand the difference. I’m also troubled about how to train my employees.

While the Japanese are well aware of the obvious difference between the Korean Soju and traditional Japanese shochu by the name, it’s still a notable problem that American consumers who hold the key to expansion into future markets don’t know this difference. Since it seems unlikely that this law will be revised anytime soon, the only option is to advocate the ingredients, processing methods and ways to enjoy shochu as Japanese Premium Soju. Also, for import and distribution companies, one suggestion would be to distinguish Shochu as Japanese Premium Soju, or to include the subtitle “Honkaku Soju.”


日本固有の酒文化として日本酒(サケ)は大分知られるようになったが、まだまだ焼酎の知名度はアメリカ人にとって低い。また、韓国Sojuと日本の本格焼酎の違いについても情報提供がないため、消費者は困惑するばかりだ。カリフォルニア州での例外話しだが、日本の焼酎は蒸留酒にもかかわらず、アルコール度数が24度以下で「Soju」として輸入登録すればBeer & Wineライセンスのレストランでも売れる面白い法がある。9割以上のカリフォルニア州の日本食レストランは、Beer & Wineのライセンスしか保有していないので、ここで飲めるのは焼酎という名前ではなくSojuということになる。




日本人にとってはその違いは文字で端的に韓国Sojuと日本の本格焼酎の区別が理解できるが、今後の市場の拡大を握っているアメリカ人消費者には分からないのが大きな課題だ。この法律規制は、当面解消されることがないので、とりあえずはJapanese Premium Sojuとしてその原料や製法、飲み方を提唱していくことしかないのである。また、輸入や販売会社においては、Japanese Premium Soju、もしくは、サブタイトルに「Honkaku Soju」と入れるといいかもしれない。
#alljapannews #soju #sake #shochu


Sake Nation  “Kosher Certification Part 4”

By Kosuke Kuji

For Kosher certification, we start by having the Rabbi, leader of Judaism religion, observe the raw materials and manufacturing processes. After Nanbu Bijin planned to apply for Kosher certification for about 1 and ½ years, we had Rabbi Edelhi (exact spelling not sure) of Chabad of Japan come to our brewery many times. Certification for plum wine and other liquors besides sake were involved so the number of visits were more than usual, and we also had him observe the raw material of rice(s), fruit producer(s), and processing facilities etc. During the processing, even though indications of temperature of sterilization or as a raw material it is not certified, he carefully observed the contents of the extract that are used to culture the yeast etc, and strictly checked to see if any animal product or dairy product was used. In addition, regarding the raw materials, they all needed to be separated as ‘Kosher use’ in their records and must easily be identified at a glance. During this process, there was a problem with “distilled alcohol” which had the highest hurdle of Kosher certification for Japanese sake. At first we were told that we would not be able to receive Kosher certification if distilled alcohol was used due to difficulty of identifying the raw material(s) of distilled alcohol. Also, we had to show the condition of the distilled alcohol before it was mixed, and to put it strictly, this could not be achieved without having 2 separate facilities to make the sake.

However a large light of hope beamed on us here. One kind of distilled alcohol made by a distilled alcohol company in Shizuoka prefecture unbelievably succeeded in receiving Kosher certification as is.

In other words, if you use that Kosher certified distilled alcohol, the hurdle would immediately get lowered and the brewer of the Japanese sake got lucky to receive Kosher certification.

酒豪大陸「コーシャ認定 その4」


南部美人としてコーシャの認定を受けようと計画してから約1年半かけて、何度もCHABAD OF JAPANのラビのエデリーさんに蔵にきていただきました。日本酒だけではなく、梅酒などのリキュールの認定もあるので、その回数は通常よりも多く、さらには、原材料の米や果実の生産者、加工の施設なども視察していただきました。





#alljapannews #sake #koshercertification


Making a hit without changing the business style used in Japan!

Making a hit without changing t... Making a hit without changing t... Making a hit without changing t... Making a hit without changing t... Making a hit without changing t...
By Aya Ota

It has been long believed that bringing the Japanese way of business as is to the US would not lead to success. It has to be modified to fit the tastes and habits of local customers. Lately in the New York area, although authentic Japanese taste in general has settled in and well accepted in various menus, I believe almost no one has succeeded in bringing the Japanese way in every aspect including styles of service and operation up until now. The “Ikinari Steak” chain in Japan has been growing with incredible speed since the opening in December of 2013 with their innovative concept of “tachigui steak” (meaning you eat steak standing up), and now has 120 restaurants all over Japan. In February of 2017, their first overseas restaurant opened in the East Village of Manhattan, and has rapidly become super popular with more than 400 visitors daily.

Here is how it is at “Ikinari Steak”—when you enter the restaurant, you will be guided to a table with usually no chairs (There are a few with chairs). You pick up a number plate on your table, walk towards the kitchen, and order your steak. There are 4 different types of steaks: “Ribeye” ($2.55/ oz), “Sirloin ($2.27/oz), “Filet” ($3.12/oz), and “Assorted Steak”) ($22.16 for 10oz). The price is by the weight of your order, and the meat is cut in front of you. The meat will be cooked according to your preference right away, and brought to your table on a sizzling hot iron plate. You pour the soy sauce-based special sauce made in-house by yourself, and eat the steaming excellent quality meat that is full of aroma. When you finish eating, you take the check on the table to the cashier to pay for your meal.

“The customers seem to enjoy the experience as a whole,” says Takashi Tsuchiyama, the US President of the company. During the planning for the opening, many people thought that no one would want to eat steak standing up, or that it would be so uncommon to have customers bring the bill to the cashier, but all those worries turned out to be in vain. The concept of “eating standing up” came from the hopes of offering high quality meat with reasonable pricing. As a result, the great taste and quality led to winning. In Japan, they use US, Australian, and domestic meat according to the menu, but in the US, they use only American beef to enable the offering of low cost yet high quality meat.

Customers in general prefer medium rare temperature, but the restaurant strongly recommends rare steak, and now 30% of the customers prefer rare. Their special sauce created with the idea of Kunio Ichinose, the founder of the company, is served warm in a thermos so the cooked-off-the-grill piping-hot steak won’t cool down.

The serving style of Japan is directly introduced as well. As soon as you arrive to your table, a glass of water is served. There is a place under the table for your belongings. In order to avoid spills or smells, your belongings will be covered with a cloth napkin, and for you, they provide a paper apron to protect your clothing from the spill of meat juice. The restaurant staff wear a see-through plastic mask for hygiene, and so not to hide their friendly smiles.

Their detailed service doesn’t end there. There is an odor-eliminating spray can at the exit. No tipping is necessary. The specially-priced lunch menu is offered until 5PM. There is no compromising except the little inconvenience of eating standing up. They also made minor adjustments by making the tables higher and wider than the standard sizes, and just started to change the meat weight unit from grams to ounces in July. All those efforts are for their “customers first” principle.
Their second restaurant is planned to open around this coming October in the Chelsea District. Their goal is to open 20 restaurants in Manhattan alone, and eventually a total of 1,000 restaurants nationwide. The secret for their success in Japan, where they opened 100 branches in only 3 years, was limiting the number of menu items for effective operation and productivity. One other secret for success for this New York restaurant is the introduction of Japanese sake on the menu. The promotion of the “J-Steak”, a Japan-made steak eating style, was very effective, and also made people want to drink sake. They introduced only one brand of sake in April, and sell more than 100 bottles a month.

Their next immediate goal is to familiarize in the US, the “Niku (meat) Mileage membership card” combined with an app., which is very popular in Japan. You collect points according to the weight of the meat you eat for discounts. In Japan, you can even add pre-paid amounts on the card, and get bonuses accordingly. They also publish the customer ranking according to the collected points, which creates many repeaters who wants to come eat steaks as if they enjoy playing games. I would really like you to go and try this new restaurant, “Ikinari Steak” in New York that gives you continuous surprise and excitement.


米国飲食業界では長年、「日本のやり方を持ってきてもうまくいかない。米国人客の嗜好や習慣に合わせなくてはいけない」と言われてきた。近年ニューヨークでは、メニューに関しては、日本そのままの本格的な味が受け入れられるようになったが、サービスやオペレーションまでそのまま持ってきて成功を収めている店は、これまで存在しなかったのではないだろうか。『いきなり!ステーキ』は“ 立ち食いステーキ”という斬新なコンセプトで、2013年12 月創業後、驚異的速度で日本全国に約120店舗に拡大。そして、2017年2 月、海外1 号店をイーストヴィレッジ地区に開店。瞬く間に一日400 人もの客が訪れる人気店となった。
 『いきなり!ステーキ』の仕組みはこうだ。店内に入ると、まずテーブルに案内される。テーブルと言っても、基本的には椅子はない(一部着席できるテーブルがある)。テーブルに設置された番号札を持って、キッチンへ歩き、肉を注文する。メニューは「リブロース($2.55/oz)」「サーロイン($2.27/oz)」「ヒレ($3.12/oz)」「乱切りカットステーキ(10oz $22.16)」の4 種類のみ。目の前で塊肉を好みの量にカットしてくれ、値段は重さに応じて決まる。焼き方を選んだ後、すぐさま焼き上げ、アツアツの鉄皿に乗せて、テーブルに運ばれる。客は自らの手で、醤油ベースの特製ソースをかけ、その香りと湯気を楽しみながら、極上の肉をほおばる。食べ終わったら、テーブルに置かれたチェックをレジに持参して精算…という流れだ。

「客はこの世界観全体を楽しんでいる」と話すのは米国社長の槌山隆氏。開店計画中には「ステーキを立ち食いする客などいない」「レジで会計させるのは非常識」などの声も多かったが、杞憂に終わった。立ち食いを導入したのは、そもそも「高級ステーキを安価に楽しんでほしい」と考えたからこそ。結果的に、味や品質が勝因につながった。日本では、牛肉は米国・豪州・国産を使い分けているが、ニューヨーク店ではすべて米国産を採用した結果、より低コストで高品質な肉を提供できている。一般的にミディアム・レアを好む客が多い中、同店では自慢のレアを堂々と勧めて、レアを頼む客も約3 割に増えたという。創業者の一瀬邦夫氏が考案した特製ソースは、焼きたての肉に温かいソースをかけるという細やかな配慮で、保温ポットで提供される。

日本で実践しているおもてなしもそのまま導入。テーブルに着くと即座に水が運ばれる。足下の荷物置き場に荷物を置くと、臭いや汚れがつかないようさっと布をかけてくれる。肉汁が飛ばないように紙製のエプロンを用意。店員のマスクは、衛生面と笑顔が見えることを両立させた透明のプラスチック製。店の出口には消臭スプレーを設置。チップも廃止。ランチタイムには破格なメニューを用意し、しかも夕方5 時まで注文可能だ。

つまり、立ち食いなだけで、他は一切妥協しない。わずかに調整を加えたことと言えば、テーブルを少し高く、幅を広くしたこと。そして、この7 月にはグラム表示からオンス表示へ変更したこと。「顧客満足が第一」と考えるからこその調整だ。

10月頃には2号店をチェルシー地区に開店予定。マンハッタンだけでも20店舗、全米に1,000 店舗を目指しているという。日本でもわずか3 年で100 店舗という偉業を成し遂げた秘訣は、徹底してメニュー数を絞り、オペレーションを効率化し生産性を向上させたことにある。ひとつニューヨーク店初の試みとして成功したのは、日本酒の導入だ。日本発ステーキ“J-Steak” としての打ち出し方が功を奏し、日本酒を飲みたいという客が多かったという。4 月から1 種類のみ導入したが、1 カ月にボトル100 本以上売れるという。



Ikinari Steak
90 E 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 917-388-3546
#alljapannews #tachigui #Japanese #steak #NY #ikinaristeak


Replicating authentic Japanese izakaya with the food, service and ambience

Replicating authentic Japanese ... Replicating authentic Japanese ... Replicating authentic Japanese ... Replicating authentic Japanese ... Replicating authentic Japanese ...
By Keiko Fukuda

There is a restaurant in Torrance that has gained popularity quickly in the past few years for its vivid ambiance, in which you enjoy fresh seafood and meat dishes. It is “Izakaya Hachi”. Another Hachi restaurant also opened in Costa Mesa in Orange County a year ago. They opened their first restaurant in Santa Monica about 9 years ago as an affiliated restaurant of the Manpuku Group, and their popularity grew when they moved to Torrance in April of 2013.

“Back then, my goal was to make a restaurant where people can feel the true essence of Japan in Torrance where many people from Japan live, and many of them are corporate business people on assignments. My image for this place was a typical izakaya in the Shinbashi area of Tokyo. Lately, more and more local people started to come by word of mouth. I was not expecting that, but I heard that good reviews on social media such as Yelp spread widely,” says Tomohisa Kawachi, the Supervisor.
Their meat is procured from the same vendor which the Manpuku Group uses. Hachi’s most recommended meat dish is the thickly sliced beef tongue. The slowly charcoal-broiled tongue is flavorful and has a hint of sweetness. Their solid confidence in the freshness of the ingredients is represented by having beef sashimi on the menu. The seafood ingredients are directly sent by air from Japan.

There are so many items of seafood, meat, vegetables, and even Battera (pressed sushi) on the menu, which makes it difficult for you to make decisions. The list of menu items gets renewed every 6 months after a deep discussion between the chef and Mr. Kawachi.

Kawachi continues, “The data shows what sells well. What we want to push is not necessarily the same as what customers want. Therefore, based on the data, we decide what to leave, and what to add on the menu. For the dishes that are loved by only a few customers, we still offer them as the daily specials once in a while.”

Among their alcoholic drinks they carry for pairing with the food items, they recommend “Shinriki” from Hiroshima as a rare and precious sake brand. Among sake rice, Yamadanishiki is well known nowadays; however, before World War II, Shinrikimai was also very widely used along with Yamadanishiki. The Shinrikimai was believed to be eradicated due to the atomic bombing in the area.

He said, “A small amount of survived crop was found a few years ago, and preserved. Now, only a few hundred bottles of sake made with Shinrikimai are sold only in Kure-city of the Hiroshima prefecture. We get a few of those precious bottles through a special connection after a negotiation.
The sake Kawachi loves is "namazake" (non-filtered raw unprocessed sake). He says, “Its alcohol content is 19%, which is very different from other dry, fresh Japanese sake brands that are currently popular in the US. It tastes so satisfying!” He seems to be really fond of this sake.

“Customers are happy as long as good food and sake are there, and we tend to speak louder encouraged by seeing them being content. This reaction provides the restaurant’s vivid ambiance. I believe that vividness of a restaurant is created not intentionally by the restaurant, but by the customers. To me, it is very important for the healthy growth of the restaurant to keep making solid and consistent efforts in improving the quality of the service with continuous training of the staff,” says Kiuchi. This restaurant does not advertise at all. I asked him about the target for 5 years from now. “I would like Hachi to become a restaurant of a higher quality, meaning the kind of restaurant which even people from far-away places want to visit.”

Even now, there are already more than a few people who come from outside of the State. They also even have received a request to open another branch outside of California. However, as an immediate goal, Kawachi thinks it is more important to have the Costa Mesa branch catch up with the success of Torrance. I believe that the possibility of having more branches may open up after achieving that goal.













Izakaya Hachi
1880 W.Carson St.Ste A
Torrance, CA 90501

Mon.-Thu. 5:30pm-10:30pm
Fri. 5:30pm-11:00pm
Sat. 5:00pm-10:30pm
Sun. 5:00pm-10:00pm
#alljapannews #Japanese #sake #izakaya #authentic #Torrance


New taste of mom’s cooking you can enjoy in a home-made café

New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo... New taste of mo...
by Eri Shimizu Editing: Elli Sekine

Lately, the Mission District is gathering a lot of attention as a typical fashionable back street of San Francisco, and also as an icon of street arts and gourmet foods. The area used to be lacking inpublic safety, but now has transformed into an area where many young Silicon Valley Tech people and artists like to live, and trendy people are attracted to. As for the dining scene of the area, organic restaurants, high-end sushi restaurants, Mexican restaurants, unique bars, etc., are mingled together in the area, creating the epitome of San Francisco as the multi-cultural city. “Bon Nene” opened its door in this hot area last year with an appearance of a typical back street café of Paris. Its homey appearance with a warm woodsy feel is filled with the passion of the owner. The name, Bon Nene (meaning cute Nene in French), was taken from her beloved dog, Nene, with the hopes that the restaurant would be loved by the local people.

The owner, Ms. Yumi Furuta had a dream of serving the kinds of foods she wants to eat herself, which led her to open this restaurant. The restaurant has an appearance like a French bistro or a café, but on the menu, there are Japanese home-cooking style dishes such as “Hijiki Salad“, ($12), “Natto Gohan” ($8), P-man Itame (pan-fried green pepper)” ($13), etc. The concept of this restaurant is “simple home-cooking”. The “Nene Potstickers”, hand-made signature dishes (original $9, vegetarian $8) which contain ground pork and nappa cabbage or various types of mushrooms in the vegetarian version, have an aromatic crispy layer on top called ha-ne. Ms Furuta says, “Gyoza (potstickeres) is my favorite repertoire, and I like customers to experience the good taste of hand-made home cooking.” The regulars love the “Champignon Pasta” ($13) which consists of thick noodles and nori (cut dried seaweed) as the topping. This sentimental tasting Japanese style pasta dish somewhat reminds you of home. The “Beef Curry” ($13.50) is a typical Japanese home-made curry with big chunks of potatoes and carrots inside. You rarely see restaurants who serve such home cooking in the Bay Area, and it seems that young foodies who are interested in and understand traditional Japanese cuisine find a rarity value in this restaurant.
The weekend-only menu, “Japanese Chosyoku Breakfast”, which started in May was realized by the request from the regulars. This is a typical Japanese ichiju-sansei style (one soup and three vegetable dishes) set breakfast menu that consists of broiled fish, eggs, small vegetable dishes, home-made pickles, and miso soup. There is another typical Japanese style breakfast item (known as the “Morning set” amongst Japanese) which consists of a thick-cut slice of toast served with red bean jam, a sunny-side up egg, and salad. The popular drink is the home-made ginger ale ($4.50). This home-made drink with fresh ginger and spices has a mature taste. The only Japanese sake they carry is the non-filtered unpasteurised Kakeya Junmai ginjo in a stylish bottle. As for the selection of beers, there are the following: Frozen Beer that creates very fine bubbles ($7), Sapporo Draft ($7), and Kawabe wheat and amber bottled beers ($9).

Ms. Furuta told me that she had an eye on this area for her own restaurant for a while. She used to come to this favorite area on her days off often to visit nearby restaurants and cafés. During that time, she came across a space for the current restaurant. The small space of about 1,000 sqft seemed ideal to create a homey ambience. Everything from the interior, dishes, to the menu book is well-crafted. She made curtains and cloth napkins herself, and the uniquely shaped menu book was made by an architect friend from carved wood. Originally, Ms. Furuta came to the US to enter a school of photography. She is using the interior walls as the exhibition spaces, and changes the artwork every 2 weeks to support young artists.

I asked Ms. Furuta which area she found most difficult as a first-time restaurateur. She said that the training for the kitchen staff was the most challenging part. Most of the staff had near-zero experience in working for Japanese restaurants, and they were not familiar with Japanese cuisine. She had to teach them the real basics such as how to make dashi, how to prepare rice for cooking, etc. To replicate the Japanese tastes we are so familiar with was entirely a first experience for them. Even now, she still cooks hijiki for the Hijiki Salad herself. However, the number of customers is gradually increasing. She says, “I would like to keep evolving the menu to respond to the growing customers’ needs.” I truly wish for the success of the future growth of this restaurant, and hope that Japanese home-cooking will take root in the US food culture.


近年おしゃれな裏通りの代表、ストリートアート、グルメのアイコンとして注目されるミッション地区。以前は治安が悪いエリアだったが、現在ではシリコンバレーのテック企業に勤める若者やアーティストなどが多く住み、流行に敏感な人々を惹きつける地域へと変貌を遂げた。ダイニングシーンにおいても、オーガニックレストランや高級寿司店、メキシカンレストラン、個性的なバーなどが混在し、まさに多文化シティサンフランシスコの縮図のようなエリアだ。そのホットなエリアに去年登場したのがパリの路地裏カフェを思わせる店構えの「Bon nene」だ。木の温もりを感じるアットホームな店にはオーナーのこだわりが詰まっている。店名の「Bon」はフランス語で「可愛い」という意味。「nene」はオーナーの愛犬の名前。地元に愛される店にしたいとの思いで付けられた。

オーナーの古田みゆ氏は長年サンフランシスコのフレンチビストロでフロアマネージャーを務めていたが、自分が食べたい料理を出したいという夢を抱き、この店をオープンした。一見、フレンチビストロかカフェのようだが、メニューには「hijiki salad」($12) や「nattogohan 」($8)、「p-man itame」($13) など日本の家庭の味が並ぶ。同店のコンセプトは「シンプルな母の味」。看板料理の焼き餃子「nene potsticker」(original$9, vegetarian $8) は手作りで、豚ひき肉と白菜、ベジタリアンメニューでは数種のきのこを使っており、パリパリとした「羽根」が香ばしい。「餃子は得意料理なので、手作りの美味しさを楽しんで欲しい」と古田氏。常連客に人気なのは椎茸やしめじ、エノキなどをたっぷり使った「champignion pasta」($13)で、太めの麺に海苔がトッピングされた、どこか懐かしい味わいの和風パスタだ。

「beef curry」($13.5) は大きめにカットされたジャガイモや人参が入ったホームスタイルカレーだ。ベイエリアでこのような家庭料理を出す店は少なく、伝統的な和食への興味と理解を持つフーディーな若者が同店の希少価値を見出しているようだ。

5 月から始めた週末のみの和朝食「japanese chosyoku breakfast」は、常連客からのリクエストにより実現した。朝ごはんの定番、焼き魚に卵、野菜小鉢、自家製の漬物に味噌汁の一汁三菜がセットになっている。他には厚切りトーストに小豆ジャム、目玉焼きやサラダなどがワンプレートになった日本の「モーニング」の定番がある。ドリンクで人気なのは自家製のジンジャーエール($4.5)。フレッシュの生姜にスパイスが効いた大人の味だ。日本酒はスタイリッシュなボトルの無濾過生原酒KAKEYA 純米吟醸一種のみ。ビールはきめ細かい泡のフローズンビアー($7) やサッポロドラフト($7)、ボトルではKawabe Beer のWheat とAmber($9) を揃えている。

古田氏は自分の店を出すならこのエリアとまず決めていたという。近隣のレストランやカフェが好きで休日にはよく通っていた。そんな中、出会ったのが現在の物件だ。1,000 スクエアフィートほどの小さなスペースは家庭的な雰囲気を出すには理想的だった。インテリアから器、メニューブックまでクラフト感溢れる。カーテンや布ナプキンは自ら手作りし、ユニークな形のメニューブックは友人の建築家に頼んで木材削って作ってもらった。もともと古田氏の渡米のきっかけが写真学校への留学だった経歴から、店内の壁を展示スペースとして提供し、2週間ごとに異なるアート作品を展示し若手アーティストを支援している。


Bon nene
2850 21st street, san francisco, california
(415) 872-9332
Lunch:Tuesday – Friday 11:30am– 2:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am – 2:30pm
Dinner :Tuesday – Saturday 6:00pm – 9:30pm
#alljapannews #sanfrancisco #Japanese #curry #cafe #bobnene #morning


How to select sake suitable for enjoyment as hot sake

One appeal of Japanese sake is the wide range of temperatures for consumption. By changing the temperature, the flavor of the same brand of sake varies greatly, interestingly enough, along with its compatibility with various dishes, making sake enjoyable year-round.

In the fall, the flavors of dishes switch from mild to richer, the temperature of the atmosphere gets lower, and the best season for hot sake arrives.

However, many consumers cannot determine from the label which sake is suitable for consumption as hot sake.

I have written in the past about the need to improve display methods to “indicate on sake labels” (despite many consumers wanting to know how to consume the sake and what foods are most compatible together for consumption, such information is not indicated), and it’s disappointing to see that information is still not displayed on sake labels today. While some sake manufacturers do list the suitable temperature range, most don’t.

Therefore, in this article, we introduce a rough standard determined from the writings displayed on most labels.
Sake suitable for hot sake

• Sake indicated as Junmai or Honjozo
• Yamahai or Kimoto
• Dry

Sake not suitable for hot sake

1. nigori type (unfiltered sake) or flavored sake
2. Namasake (draft sake) or Genshu type (unprocessed sake)
3. Low alcohol level or sparkling sake
4. Daiginjo or Ginjo is basically to be avoided (with some exceptions)

Appropriate temperature range for heating
While gently heating the entire bottle by placing it in warm water is the best way, microwaving is also OK. For approximately 6 oz. of sake, remove the bottle from the warm water after heating for twenty seconds. Slew the bottle and place again in the warm water for approximately 10 seconds. The temperature is best kept at “lukewarm”.





• 純米や本醸造と書かれているもの
• “山廃や生もと造り”などが書かれているもの
• ドライ、辛などの表示があるもの

1. にごりタイプやフレイバー酒
2. 生酒や原酒タイプ
3. 低アルコール酒や発泡酒
4. 大吟醸や吟醸系は基本的に避ける(例外もある)

#alljapannews #Japanese #sake #hotsake


"Kosher Certification Part 3"

By Kosuke Kuji

I think there are very few people that know how the kosher certification is done. Kosher mark means "the food is sanitary", "manufacturing process is done appropriately", "all ingredients of the product meet the standards and are good for the consumers", "guarantees that the product does not use dairy products for ingredients and it is dairy allergy free" etc.

Kosher certification for meats and dairy products are very difficult and have high hurdles for that reason, but regarding the "Japanese sake" or "liqueur" that was certified for Nanbu Bijin this time originally doesn't use dairy products, doesn't use any animal products like meat etc as an ingredient and felt that we would get certified fairly smoothly.

However, if you look across Japan, there are only a few companies besides Nanbu Bijin that have received Kosher certification for Japanese sake. Also there is only one company in the U.S. that manufactures Japanese sake that has Kosher certification. For liqueur, umeshu (plum wine) by Choya is sold as Kosher only in Israel, but is not Kosher in Japan or the U.S. etc. Liqueur, specially regarding umeshu, probably Nanbu Bijin is probably the first to sell as Kosher in the world.

In addition, for the two liquors of Japanese sake and liqueur, Nanbu Bijin is probably the only company in the world that has Kosher certification.
For Kosher certification, it starts from having the rabbi who is a leader of Judaism review the ingredients and manufacturing steps. I would like to write the details of this in the next issue.

酒豪大陸「コーシャ認定 その3」





#alljapannews #kosher #certification #nanbubijin


Legendary bar where all the seats are always taken due to its demonstration of skills, good taste, and services of true Japan

Legendary bar where all the ... Legendary bar where all the ... Legendary bar where all the ... Legendary bar where all the ... Legendary bar where all the ... Legendary bar where all the ...
by Aya Ota

In the East Village, a vibrant town of condensation of diverse ethnic groups and cultures, you first climb a set of stairs to an izakaya, get inside, walk through it, glancing at people enjoying themselves over yakitori and beers on the way, then you reach a hidden door. When you push open the door which still looks like a wall, a classy and relaxing space opens up in front of you. It makes you feel as if you just entered an unknown world. This is “Angel’s Share”, a speakeasy, which has a reputation as the most popular bar in New York. It is unbelievable that there is such a bar hidden in a place like this. The bar is known as a mystery bar where you can hardly get in because it is always full.

Once you step into the bar, a female bartender who shakes a shaker behind the counter looking solemn draws your attention. She is Nana Shimosegawa, General Manager, who supervises the entire operation of the bar. She demonstrates her skills there as the first and only female bartender for this bar. In her career, she started working as a maître d' back in 2008. She built her experience at “Zest” in Ebisu, Tokyo, and never even thought about becoming a bartender in New York which is a totally different environment. However, her talent was spotted by the then head bartender, and she started training to become a bartender from the very bottom level. After 3 years of internship, she became a certified bartender in 2011, got promoted to a manager in 2012, and then has been working at the current position since 2016.

This bar first opened in 1994 with the concept “A space like a bar in Ginza where people enjoy good liquors in a relaxed atmosphere”. “Angel’s Share” after which the bar was named derives from evaporation that occurs during whiskey brewing during the barrel storing and aging processes. The name was taken from the traditional belief in which whiskey loses its volume during aging because an angel is secretly drinking it, and in return, the angel gives whiskey the aroma and depth.

Ms. Shimosegawa says, “I try to adopt the latest trends assertively while I respect the classical cocktail culture at the same time.” “Moon Light” ($15), a cocktail created by her, can be enjoyed by ladies who cannot drink much alcohol. The base is gin infused by juniper and raw honey. It is a perfect combination of fresh citrus aroma, and smooth textures of milk and egg white. This bar has a good reputation for the delicate flavored cocktails using Japanese ingredients as accents, which you can only find in bars like this one which are run by Japanese people. “Flirtibird” ($15) consists of true barley shochu and yuzu juice as the base. The plum salt on the rim of the glass, and shiso powder floating on the surface make this cocktail’s aroma and taste stand out. “Milky Way” is another cocktail created by Ms. Shimosegawa. Its base is Junmai sake. Ingredients which you do not normally think for cocktails such as soy milk and parmigiana cheese give this cocktail a unique and fabulous harmony. Every time you bring the glass close to your mouth, you can enjoy the smell of the aromatic powder soy sauce. She also interestingly uses other Japanese ingredients such as koji, sesame oil, matcha, and wa-sanbon sugar.

The secret hideout-like ambiance should be one of the reasons for its popularity. However, as soon as you taste some of the original cocktails, you would understand the true reasons for attracting customers constantly, are the taste, quality and high skills of the staff. On the menu, there are about 35 cocktails, and new items will be added a few times a year to give a good balance to the selection. The number of liquors used in the cocktails is as many as 4~500 to my surprise, which was the result of careful selection based on taste and quality. They are trying to differentiate themselves from other bars by carrying not only Japanese sake, but Japan-made whiskey, vodka, liquors, and beers.

“It is important for the bartender to have the ability to find what the customer wants instantly,” continues Ms. Shimosegawa. There are many customers who intentionally order cocktails that are not on the menu to try the bartender’s skill. They make all kinds of requests such as “something with gin as the base”, “something with a fresh and light taste”, “something summer-like”, “something that suits me”, etc. The bartender needs to detect the customer’s preference by observing the person, mood, and situation.

“Angel’s Share” opened the second bar next to it about 3 years ago due to high demands. This one is also a hideout-like bar whose entrance is hard to find. They sure are legendary. They never advertise and there are no signs, but customers constantly fill the entire seats only by word of mouth. I am certain that you would understand why people would want to tell someone about this bar once they visit.


多種多様な人種の文化が凝縮し活気あふれる街、イーストヴィレッジ。一軒の居酒屋へ向かう階段を上り店内に入り、焼き鳥やビールで盛り上がる人々を横目に、一見壁に見える隠し扉を押す。すると、そこには上品で落ち着いた雰囲気の空間が広がり、別世界に入り込んだような錯覚を覚える。ここは、ニューヨークで最も人気が高いと評判のスピークイージー、『Angel’s Share』。こんな場所にバーが潜んでいるとは全く想像できないが、常に満席でなかなか入店できない幻のバーとして知られている。


「銀座のバーのような、美味しいお酒を落ち着いて楽しめる空間」というコンセプトで同店が開店したのは1994年。店名の由来となった「Angel’s Share(天使の分け前)」とは、ウィスキーを樽貯蔵・熟成する過程で起こる蒸発のことを示す表現だ。熟成中のウィスキーが減っていくのは天使がこっそり飲んでいるからで、その代わりに、天使はウィスキーに香りや深みを与えてくれる…という言い伝えを、店名にした。

「クラッシックなカクテル文化を大事にしつつ、最新の流行を積極的に取り入れるよう心がけている」と下瀬川氏は語る。同氏が創作したカクテル『Moon Light』(15ドル)は、酒に強くない女性でも楽しめるようにと考案したもので、ジュニパーと生蜂蜜がインフューズされたジンがベース。柑橘類の爽やかな香りと、牛乳や卵白で作るなめらかな口当たりが絶妙な組み合わせだ。日本人経営のバーならでは、和食材をアクセントに使った繊細な味のカクテルも評価が高い。『Flirtibird』(15ドル)は本格麦焼酎と柚子果汁がベース。グラスの縁につけられたプラムソルトと表面に浮かぶ紫蘇が、全体の香りや味を引き立てる。『Milly Way』も下瀬川氏が創作したレシピで、純米酒がベース。豆乳やパルミジャーノチーズといった、カクテルの固定概念を覆す食材を取り入れ、独特だが見事な調和を醸し出している。グラスに口を近づける度に、粉末醤油が芳ばしく、心地よい。他に、麹、胡麻油、抹茶、和三盆糖などの和食材を取り入れており興味深い。



『Angel’s Share』は、そのあまりの人気の高さゆえに、約3年前、隣に2号店を開店した。やはり入り口の分からない隠れ家バーだ。一切の宣伝もせず、看板もなく、口コミだけで満席が続く伝説の店。一度訪れると、誰かに教えたくなってしまう気持ちが分かるに違いない。

Angel’s Share
8 Stuyvesant Street
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 212-777-5415
#alljapannews #Japanese #bar #izakaya #yakitori #angelsshare #newyork


People form a line for the genuine seafood bowls and steak set meals

People form a line for the gen... People form a line for the gen... People form a line for the gen... People form a line for the gen... People form a line for the gen...
by Keiko Fukuda

Japanese food fans in the South Bay area are talking a lot about having lunch at Wadatsumi lately. I visited Wadatsumi in May, shortly after the opening. About 20 of us, business colleagues, had lunch in the space for large groups. First, I was impressed by the rich variety in the menu. There are various kinds of bowls with seafood ingredients on top including tuna. Among them, one really struck my attention, which was the Kaisen Donburi (Seafood Bowl) offered only to the first 12 customers. Not only is there an ample volume of seafood ingredients on top, the price is very reasonable at $14.95. However, do not worry even if you miss the chance to be one of the lucky 12! In addition to the aforementioned seafood bowls, there are plenty of other choices including the Bara Chirashi, Sashimi Teishoku (set meal), Broiled Fish Teishoku, Rib Roast Steak Teishoku etc. As many as 70 Sashimi Teishokus are served in a day. Both the Kaisen Donburi and the Sashimi Teishoku are so authentic, and make you feel as if you are dining at a sushi restaurant in Tsukiji, Tokyo.

Also known for the high quality equal to fish, the rib roast steak meat is Australian Angus beef which is the same meat used at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas. The sukui tofu that comes with the set menu is unique, and extraordinary. A large quantity of house-made tofu and chawan-mushi (steamed egg custard) are made daily with the two new steam convection ovens installed for the opening.

I saw a long line of people waiting to get in when I left the restaurant. I can totally understand why one would want to come back once they have eaten there. I truly felt satisfied with the value considering the quality, taste, and volume.

For dinner time, there are a list of a-la-carte dishes on the menu that you can enjoy with any Japanese cuisine. Among them, Mebachi Maguro (bigeye) sashimi is the dish the restaurant recommends the most with confidence. It is priced at 6 dollars for 8 pieces, which is so reasonable that no other restaurant can possibly offer an equivalent.

In the South Bay, there are many people who know true Japanese tastes. So, what this restaurant aims for is to draw such Japanese people in first, and then let a wider range of customers including other Asian Americans know “real Japanese cuisine”.

Mr. Michio Nonaka, the executive chef, who leads the kitchen has a solid 40-year career in just the cooking world. He started out with western style cooking in Japan, but after coming to the US, he learned how to make and prepare Sushi. He worked at Tsukiji in Gardena, a very popular restaurant for the uni bowl lunch, for over 10 years.

In any case, I wonder how it is possible to offer dishes this high in quality at this reasonable of a price. I asked Mr. Nonaka, but he refused to answer, saying, “It is an industry secret I cannot reveal.” The secret remains a mystery, but I am certain that I will keep going to this restaurant to get the Kaisen Donburi, and Sashimi Teishoku.







指揮を執るエグゼクティブシェフの野中通夫(Michio Nonaka)さんは料理業界一筋40年。最初は日本で洋食からスタートしたが、渡米後に寿司を修行し、ガーデナにあったランチの雲丹丼ぶりが大人気だった寿司店、築地では、10数年に渡り腕を振るった。


1757 W. Carson St., Suite R&S
Torrance CA 90501
#alljapannews #seafood #Torrance #wadatsumi #mixhikononaka


The first US “Hitachino Beer” restaurant, born in Ibaraki prefecture, opens! The quality and brand power are pursued.

The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H...
By Elli Sekine

“Hitachino Nest Beer”, known by its red owl logo, is gaining popularity in the US. The number of fans of this premium craft beer is growing, especially among foodies. The “Red Owl Phenomenon” seems to be appearing wildly in and out of the metropolitan areas of the US cities. For example, at “Whole Foods”, one of the specialty store chains, the space for the colorful owls (various kinds of the owl brand beer) has constantly been increasing each year, and in New York, you see its unique delivery trucks all over the city. The “Hitachino Nest Beer”, which was born in a small brewery in the Ibaraki prefecture, has now become one of the leading Japanese craft beer brands. Subsequently, this spring, the first US captive restaurant, “Hitachino Beer + Wagyu” opened in the downtown area of San Francisco. It is an exclusive restaurant where you can enjoy the first directly-imported Japanese draft beer, which has been long-awaited by many Nest Beer fans, along with the Hitachino brand wagyu.

The “Hitachino Nest Beer” is made by “Kiuchi Brewery”, a brewery with over 200 years of history in Hitachino city. There, a traditional way of saké making has been carried over multiple generations, and they still make saké. However, as years go by, saké making has been decreasing every year in Japan, and currently, there are only about 1,200 breweries compared to 3,500 in 1962 (by National Tax Agency).

A seventh generation sake-maker of Kiuchi Brewery, Toshiyuki Kiuchi, the Senior Executive of Kiuch Brewery Company, suggested to take on a brand-new beer brewing business to survive in the industry by taking advantage of the craft beer boom happening at that time. The “Hitachino Nest Beer” was thus born in 1996. The craft beer boom died down in two years, but Kiuchi Brewery survived. Not only did they survive, they started to expand to the rest of the world. “We were making beer anyway, so we wanted to make the kind of beer that can be accepted world-wide,” said Mr. Kiuchi, reminiscing. They were so determined.

They hired a beer brewing specialist from the US, and succeeded to earn the “World Beer Cup” title within 2 years from the start of the sales in 1998. They have been looking 10, 20 years ahead since, and strengthening the overseas export business. Now, 20 years since the start of the sales, Mr. Kiuchi’s strategy for overseas has worked out well. The beer branch has been separated from the saké branch of the company as “Kiuchi Brewery N”, and the beer factory in Ibaraki prefecture has been expanded for the production. About 50% of the whole production is exported, and half of it is for the US. New York accounts for the majority of the sales in the US.

However, why was San Francisco chosen for the first restaurant? “In the whole US, they have the biggest foodie population, and their gourmet related information will spread worldwide with no time,” says Mr. Kiuchi. Compared to New York, the California market has only a 15% share, and is still under developed. He said that he did not think twice about choosing this location in order to strengthen the brand power. To prove it right, as soon as the red owl sign got illuminated in downtown, many people gathered right away. Most of the crowd were young Hitachino Beer fans. They looked happy, drinking the draft beer from the 10 different kinds of taps.

There is a large counter by the entrance of the restaurant, and the interior decorated with the furniture which used to be used at Ibaraki’s Kiuchi Brewery has created a serene Japanese ambience. The pub area is around the counter, and the dining area is in the back with tables for relaxed eating. The menu for the two areas are different. For the counter bar, you can choose and take small dishes in a cup (a glass cup as you see in any Japanese vending machine) filled with nikujaga, kakuni, salad, pickles, etc. to your plate to eat. On the other hand, the restaurant space is for reservations only. Hitachino brand wagyu is imported directly, and a wagyu course meal is served.

The executive chef is Noriyuki Sugie, who is also from Hitachino. He is known for his skillful collaboration of Japanese and western cuisine popups in San Francisco. He met Hitachino Beer while he was working at the Mandarin Hotel in New York, and has been doing beer collaborations with Kiuchi Brewery all over the word. The unique course meal using Hitachino brand Wagyu A5 attracts customers with its long-learned international cooking technique with a Japanese twist. The taste of the Japan-produced beef is wonderful, and the price is reasonable.

“Hitachino Nest Beer” keeps moving at high speed from the Ibaraki prefecture to the world, and never seems to stop. In 2014, they built the first overseas large beer factory in South Korea to expand their overseas markets. Whereas in Japan, they opened Hitachino Brewing Labs where anyone can experience craft beer brewing, in Kanda, Tokyo, etc. to establish a new craft beer era. Its rapid growth must be due to their passion for beer making which is particular about using pure Japanese produce (most of it is made in Ibaraki in the efforts to contribute to hometown revitalization), and the branding strategy. I feel proud of Kiuchi Brewery who has demonstrated a real example as to how to have Japanese craft beer be recognized by the world.


赤いフクロウのロゴでお馴染みの「常陸野ネストビール」が米国で人気急上昇中だ。特にフーディーの間ではプレミアムクラフトとして愛飲者が増えている。すでに「ホールフーズ」等のスペシャリティーストアでは、年々棚一列に色とりどりのフクロウ(数種類のビール)がその幅を拡張しており、ニューヨークではこの専用輸送トラックが街を走り回るほど、“赤いフクロウ現象”が米国都市部を中心に吹き荒れている。いまやジャパニーズクラフトビールの代表格となったのが、茨城県の小さな酒蔵から生まれた「常陸野ネストビール」なのだ。そしてこの春、全米に先駆け直営第一号店となるレストラン、「Hitachino Beer+Wagyu」がサンフランシスコ、ダウンタウンにオープンした。“ネストビール”ファンが待ちわびた、米国で初めて日本直輸入のドラフトビールと常陸野ブランドの和牛が楽しめるエクスクルーシブな店だ。


海外輸出はその内約50%、その半分が米国輸出となっている。米国での販売数はニューヨークが圧倒的に多い。しかしなぜ第一号店はサンフランシスコだったのか。「全米の中で最もフーディーな人口が多く、ここからのグルメ情報はあっという間に世界に広がる」と木内氏。NYと比べるとまだカリフォルニア市場は17%の普及途上にある。ブランド力を高める為、ロケーションに迷いはなかったという。その期待に応えるように、ダウンタウンに赤いフクロウの看板が点灯されると、たちまち多くの人が訪れた。客の大半は若年層の“ネストビール” ファン達。彼らは初めて口にする直輸入のタップ10種類を飲み比べならが楽しんでいた。



彼はサンフランシスコでは和と洋をコラボさせた匠な料理のポップアップでその名を知られている。NYのマンダリンオリエンタルホテルでシェフを勤めていた際常陸野ビールと出会い、木内酒造とこれまで世界各国でビールコラボを続けてきた。独特の常陸野ブランドA 5和牛を使ったコース料理は、繊細な味付けと巧みな食材の組み合わせ。今まで培った国際的な料理のテクニックに和のツイストを加えて客を魅了している。価格設定($78 〜)もリーズナブル。



Hitachino Beer and Wagyu
639 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 792-6160

Tuesday - Saturday 4:30PM–12AM
#alljapannews #hitachino #nest #beer #Japanese #Ibaraki #craftbeer #wagyu #SF


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