2008 June 5 Thursday thru June 7 Saturday.

The photo in today's blog, is a close up of a 500 ml bottle of OtokoYama SasaOri All Malt Rice Wine 男山笹おり 特別純米 生酒.

I have written about this before, but I think it deserves another mention, for all of my readers out there, who may not be familiar with this most excellent, cold Japanese Sake.

From the photo, you can see that the rice wine looks like there are clouds floating in it. There are.

These are clouds of LIVING YEAST that are still active, producing alcohol inside the bottle.

No kidding. This rice wine is totally non-pasteurized, meaning that it was never heated up, not even to room temperature, during the entire process of its production.

This rice wine is made during the coldest months of the year, and then bottled in March.

It is keep in a freezer at a temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius for about two months, before it is shipped out to the wholesalers and retailers in late May of each year, for sale to the general public.

Even after that, it must be kept refrigerated at a very low temperature until it is consumed by the end user.

This Japanese Sake tastes so damn good, it is like the nectar of the gods.

I am not kidding. In fact, on Friday evening at about 19:00,
Charles Hamel, a long time reader of this blog, called me up to tell me how much he was enjoying drinking this cold rice wine, even as we spoke on the telephone.

That's right Charlie, this stuff is ONLY sold in HOKKAIDO.

Welcome to the best island on the planet.

For many reasons, not JUST this ONE.

Also this year I have seen for the first time, big red paper labels with holes punched in them, for hanging around the neck of the 500 ml bottles, specifically

INFORMING everybody that this juice MUST BE KEPT REFRIGERATED! It's true.

I have had two encounters with spoiled SasaOri.

The first one happened at a 7-Eleven store about 8 years ago.

The bottle was inside a cooler display case, but when I reached in and got it out,
I noticed right away that the color was not cloudy clear, but slightly yellow.

Xit!!! I thought to myself.

But, I took a chance and bought it anyway.

Immediately thereafter, I discovered that it was indeed rotten.

I knew for a fact that the raw rice wine had been kept in a warm place for some amount of time.

It was ruined. I vowed to never make that mistake again.

But I forgot about it, UNTIL,.... July 8, 2006.

On that day, I was taking photographs at the Mebae Kindergarten TANABATA FESTIVAL on a beautiful warm evening.

When that gig was finished at about 18:00, I decided to get a bottle of my favorite summertime swill, at a nearby supermarket in Kamui.

Much to my horror, I found no bottles of SasaOri in the chilled sections of the store, but I did find five full cases of it, sitting on the floor of the supermarket, right next to the cheap wine and cheap whisky.

Oh my Gawd! Somebody doesn't know how to care for this product.

This time, I called a clerk and asked him if there were any cold SasaOri bottles in the back room.

He said, "I'll go check."

About 2 minutes later, he came back with a cold 500 ml bottle in his hand.

When he gave it to me, I could see right away that the color was a bit on the yellow side.

This bottle is cold, but it hasn't always been that way.

It was rotten too. I was totally hacked-off, so I asked the clerk to call the store manager.

I did this for ONE reason and ONE reason ONLY.

To prevent the total waste of this most delicious raw pure malt rice wine on the planet.


I hate to see stuff like that. I had a big smile on my face when I informed the store manger that this product was rotten, and would create a bad impression with the customers who bought and drank it.

Naturally, this would create a very bad image for the OtokoYama company.

UNFAIR! The company's products are excellent.

But some of them require special handling.

Seeing this mindless waste, and feeling extremely sad, I sent an email to Mr. Sasaki at the OtokoYama company, who is the Marketing Director and long time personal friend of mine.

As a token of his gratitude, he personally came by my classroom on the
Sunday Morning of July 30, 2006 and delivered a cold four-pack of the delicious brew.

Maybe my whistle-blowing, has something to do with the new RED BOTTLENECK TAGS that drape each and every bottle of SasaOri which are on sale this year.