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 β€œTwo Days Certified Sake Sommelier Course” by the Sake Sommelier Academy. Although there are more and more people interested in Japanese alcohol β€˜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 β€œCertified Sake Sommelier” Course

Sake selection.jpg

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?

β€˜Shobu (菖蒲)’ on ‘Kodomo-no-Hi’

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Hana-shobu (ja.wikipedia.org)

First of all there are two types of β€˜Shobuβ€˜. One of them is β€˜Hana-Shobuβ€˜. It is Iris which we enjoy the magnificent flower with a striking colour and shape. The other one is medicinal β€˜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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