Now, I am a 🍶Sake Sommelier!

Last year I entered to a Sake recipe competition for which I had to create two Non-Japanese food recipes, one savoury and the other a dessert. To my surprise I went through to the final that was held in London in January. More surprisingly I won second place among 6 finalists. I have posted about this event and what happened to me on that day.

At the end of that event I was given some vouchers. That was great but that was not the main prize. The prize for the second place was “Two Days Certified Sake Sommelier Course” by the Sake Sommelier Academy. Although there are more and more people interested in Japanese alcohol ‘Sake’, the course runs only 2-3 times a year. So I had to wait to attend the course until the next one would be held in London and that was last week. So finally my waiting was over!

Two Days “Certified Sake Sommelier” Course

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Selection of Sake

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Shobu (菖蒲) / Iris

Shobu front

Koinobori‘ on my previous post is the traditional decoration on the ‘Kodomo-no-Hi‘ (Children’s Day/Boy’s Day) on the 5th of May in Japan. Another tradition on the day is that we decorate out house with ‘Shobu (Iris)’. So what is the reason behind this custom?

‘Shobu (菖蒲)’ on ‘Kodomo-no-Hi’

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Hana-shobu (ja.wikipedia.org)

First of all there are two types of ‘Shobu‘. One of them is ‘Hana-Shobu‘. It is Iris which we enjoy the magnificent flower with a striking colour and shape. The other one is medicinal ‘Shobu’ with very scented leaves but with insignificant flowers. They are totally different plants.

It seems like that people started using Shobu for this ceremonial occasion because …

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Kodomo-no-Hi / Koinobori

Koinobori

‘Koinobori’ sweet

Time passes fast. Very fast indeed! It’s already May. This week people in Japan are having the longest National Holiday break in a year called the Golden Week. One of the Bank Holidays during the Golden Week is the 5th of May, ‘Kodomo-no-Hi‘. It is a day to celebrate the growth & health of children, but it is more like the Boy’s Day. We have the Girl’s Day on the 3rd of March as I posted before.

‘Kodomo-no-Hi’

There are several things people do on the Kodomo-no-Hi. The most famous thing is that we place fish shaped flags outside called ‘Koinobori‘ (‘Koi’ means carp and ‘Nobori’ is a kind of Flag). We have a song about it for children.

🎶 Yane yori takai Koinobori 🎶

It means “Koinobori swimming higher than the roof …”

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Koinobori swimming high in the blue sky

Yes, it is placed traditionally higher than a roof, and some of them are bigger than a house. However, because many people live in a small apartment these days the size of Koinobori became much smaller in the last 50 years. From a week or two earlier towards the 5th of May you can see Koinobori swimming in the blue sky. It is a magnificent sight with a bit of wind, as they look like swimming in the sky. (However, I just saw somebody’s comment on social media that there is no Koinobori seen around where he lives…)

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