Sake Matsuri

酒祭り(Sake Matsuri) is a weekend long festival held every year in Saijo.  Considering the name of the festival, you should be able to figure out what kind of festival it is.  I suppose it’s one of the larger events in Saijo – probably the largest.  Apparently people come from all over Japan – there were plenty of foreigners too – to attend.  This year the first day of the festival was quite rainy, but this didn’t seem to discourage anyone.  It made for a lost-and-found box full of umbrellas, though.  Two of my friends discovered that Sunday.

As a group the students in my program went on a tour conducted by one of the program leaders.  He took us to a fancy place with a beautiful balcony to sample some of the most expensive sake in Japan for free.  Sake is, in my opinion, not very palatable.  I failed to taste the subtle and pleasing differences and settled upon the most tolerable.

After that we went on to somewhere where the leader of our tour told us some about why Saijo is famous for its sake.  Apparently in a certain region of Saijo the underground water is unusually pure.  This makes the sake pure, so long as the rice is pure.  From the olden days people came to Saijo for this pure sake.  We were even shown a place where daimyo and other important figures stayed – a beautiful traditional building currently owned by a major player in a sake company – presumably to enjoy their time and sake in transit to elsewhere.

The tour was concluded with us being shown to the stage area where several local artists performed.  The majority of the students with us opted out and instead went across the street to a section devoted to all-you-can-drink samples.  The samples are labeled by prefecture, and you can choose from various drinks of that region.

If you are from anywhere in Japan, I probably drank to you.  Particularly if I could remember your hometown.

Let me say, Sake Matsuri is a lot of fun.  But it’s definitely a good thing it’s only once a year.

On Sunday, most of my friends had what in Japanese is called 二日酔い(futsuka yoi).  I’m sure you can use context to figure that one out.

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~ by megumiwasframed on October 12, 2010.

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