Happy Birthday Sake Samurai of New York!



Happy birthday Tim!! You are sooo SAKE SAMURAI!!!

Kagami Biraki of Nanbu Bijin and huge birthday cake with Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo picture!

<Kagami Biraki (鏡開き) is a Japanese traditional ceremony which literally translates to “Opening the Mirror” (from an abstinence) or, also, “Breaking of the Mochi.” It traditionally falls on January 11 (odd numbers are associated with being good luck in Japan) but, in practice outside of Japan, generally occurs around that date. It is generally the first important event of the year after New Years Day. It refers to the opening of a Kagami mochi, or to the opening of a cask of Sake at a party or ceremony.>

Kubota Night at Sakagura!


IMG_0799I believe that you have heard the sake brand’s name “Kubota”, even you are not big sake fan. Kubota(Kubota is a sake brand of Asahi Brewery in Niigata prefecture, and Kubota brand has many grades as well) is one of the most famous sake brands in the world. Niigata prefecture has over 100 sake breweries, and of course very famous and popular as a sake region in Japan. Kubota is the top brand in Niigata, which means Kubota is one of the top sake brand in Japan. Fortunately, we can find Kubota brand in New York easily, but some Kubota’s Daiginjo are very hard to get in Japan!

So, I can say that we are very lucky to enjoy Kubota anytime at Sakagura or many Japanese resstaurants in New York. Especially, Sakagura has many Kubota brands like Kubota Manju, Kubota Hekiju, Kubota Koju, Kubota Senju, Senshin, and my most favorite Kubota’s Junmai Daiginjo Tokugetsu!

The other night, I really enjoyed Kubota sake tasting at Sakagura with my best sake friend Timothy Sullivan.

Mr. Sanjo of Kubota(the guy right side in the 2nd picture) served 6 kinds of Kubota with little cute gifts for customers. (BTW, he is one of the cutest sake people from Japan!)

Oh, and another great thing happened at the night. I saw very lovely couple who love Niigata and huge Kubota Senju fans! (they are in the picture with Mr. Sanjo) I used to take care of them at Sakagura when I was a sake sommelier of Sakagura, but I couldn’t say good-bye to them at the time, so I haven’t seem them for 2 years since then, but we could meet up again for beautiful Kubota sake!

Sake always gives me great encounters and stories….It’s called sake magic!

Don’t miss it! Oraganic sake Akira special tasting menu at Hakubai

With Akira Bottle


NEW YORK, NYThe critically-acclaimed Hakubai Restaurant at The Kitano New York Hotel will offer an exclusive Sake Pairing in the newly designed restaurant through March 12, 2010.  The Sake pairing will feature Akira Sake imported for the occasion from the Kanazawa Daichi organic farm in Japan along with a special tasting menu created by Executive Chef Sato.  Akira Sake was specially selected for the occasion by Sake Sommelier Chizuko Niikawa, known for her extensive knowledge of Sake and pairing expertise.

The Sake Pairing menu will feature Akira Sake served warm and presented in a traditional Tokkuri Japanese decanter.  The menu will consist of three tasting portions of Ika Syuto Ae (squid marinated in Bonito liver), Alaskan King Crab Kani Miso Ae (Alaskan King Crab Marinated in Crab Brain) and Tako Wakame Kyurisu (Octopus, seaweed and cucumber marinated in Japanese rice vinegar).   Complimenting the menu will be the pairing of Akira Sake traditionally served warm and presented tableside in a Japanese Tokkuri.  The cost is just $30 per person and includes complimentary Sake; exclusive of tax and gratuities. For reservations call Hakubai Restaurant at (212) 885-7111 or e-mail Hakubai@kitano.com.

$30.00 Sake Paring

Ika Syuto Ae

Squid marinated in Bonito Liver

Alaskan King Crab Kani Miso Ae

Alaskan king crab Marinated in Crab Brain

Tako Wakame Kyurisu

Octopus, Seaweed and Cucumber Marinated in Japanese Rice Vinegar

Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo with Great Omakase Sushi at Hatsuhana

IMG_0784I had a great Omakase sushi dinner at Hatsuhana. The cute server woman served Kagatobi with big smile because Kagatobi is from her hometown Ishikawa prefecture. She was proud of her hometown! I love it!!


Chef Eiji Ichimura

Chef Ichimura has lived and worked in New York City since 1981 and has been crafting his guild for over 30 years.  In addition, he has served Edomae style sushi here in NYC to executives of Japanese businesses for over 15 years.

In 2002, he opened “Ichimura” in Mid-Town. Ichimura restaurant has been well reviewed by the world famous Michelin Guide, along with the New York Times, and was well visited by a myriad of celebrity patrons.

Chef Ichimura closed the door to “Ichimura” in 2007, and has recently been working as a consultant all over the world while preparing for the next step of his culinary journey. (This introduction of Chef Ichimura is written by NY Mutual Trading Inc.)

IMG_0786Heaven….. Sea urchin nigiri

IMG_0787Great sake friend, lightly seared octopus with spicy yuzu pepper paste

Sake And The Sundance Film Festival Photos

My friend Ayumi Sakamoto is a great photographer. My husband and her husband are good friends and both are editors of the movie Blue Valentine. We traveled all together during Sundance film festival 2010 in Park City.

Photos by A Y U M I  SAKAMOTO

Kanazawa Daichi Farmer’s Spirit Event at Hakubai on Mezamashi TV

Mezamashi TV is one of the most popular Japanese morning TV show. My event with Kanazawa Daichi at Hakubai Japanese restaurant was in the show! Please check this out, and try new Hakubai! It’s soooo authentic Japanese!!

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Kanazawa Daichi Farmer’s Spirit Event at Hakubai on Daily Sun New York 2


Kanazawa Daichi Farmer’s Spirit Event at Hakubai on Daily Sun New York 1


”農魂” Farmer’s Spirit in New York –Hakubai Restaurant Kitano Hotel–

I’m very proud of working for Japanese organic farm Kanazawa Daichi! They visited New York for introducing their organic products such as miso, soy souse, barley tea, udon noodles, and of course sake! Their soybean, wheat, and rice are certified organic by JAS(Japan Agricultural Standard), NOP(National Organic Program) and EU organic.

Their sake organic Junmai “Akira” is made with their organic Mitsuhikari rice, which is grown and certified organic in Japan. The name “Akira” is from the name of the chairperosn of Kanazawa Daichi Mr. Akira Imura, who is 68 years old. His farming practice focuses on : safety, affordable prices, and a continuous supply of delicious and stable agricultural farm products. Akira Imura has been farming rice, wheat, soybean, and vegetables for over 50 years in a large area of reclaimed land known as “Kahokugata”, a suburb of Kanazawa city in Ishikawa prefecture. Kanazawa Daichi also produces tofu, miso, and soy sauce all made with their organic ingredients and traditional methods handed down for generations. This is Mr. Akira Imura’s fifty-second year farming rice. Mr. Imura says there is nothing he would change about his life. He continues to grow and harvest rice and keep a strong connection to the true spirit of farming.

Junmai Akira, you will feel the power of pure, natural rice with your very first sip. Quite robust, a touch rugged and with a bitter undertone…. These flavors immediately bring to mind the beauty of a vast Japanese rice field. I highly recommend Akira Sake be served warm, in the range of 98F – 108F. You’ll find the flavor to be very mild and creamy, yet still having a nice bitterness and acidity, much as you would enjoy with a Yamahai or Kimoto style sake. Akira has an exciting, new flavor, but also remains true to the traditional taste of Japanese sake. I want everyone to know…. Akira is one of the best sakes in the world for serving warm!

We had a special party at authentic Japanese restaurant Hakubai New York on February, 3rd. Hakubai was renewed end of January. I love Hakubai, but new Hakubai is soooo beautiful!! Food is wonderful as always, but the atmosphere is brighter and more modern classic now. You have to try!

I produced their first New York tour, and had great tasting events with the farmers in New York. It was unforgettable days! So many people enjoyed and felt their farmer’s spirits!! See the pictures!! Farmer’s spirits made them big smile!!

They are looking for importers and distributors for US market. If you are interested in their products, let them know!

photos by Atsushi Nishijima