My Interview on the Small Business Japan Podcast

I'm excited to share my interview on the Small Business Japan podcast with host Josh Smith! During our chat we talked about my entrepreneurial journey, creating my own path in the world of sake, and digging deeper into Japanese culture in order…

Sake Without Rice... Are you ready for "Molecular Sake"?

Any serious fan of Star Trek (such as myself) would know their favorite starship captain's drink of choice when standing in front of the replicator, that machine that can synthesize just about any food or drink item on demand. Imagine 3-D printing…
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UNESCO Sake? In The News: 02-08-2020

The government has decided to apply to have Japanese sake listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage by the-japan-news.com via The Yomiuri Shimbun February 07, 2020 The government has decided to apply to have Japanese sake listed…
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Sake In The News: 11-05-19

Looks like the Government of Japan is going to ramp up support for sake as an export product! Govt support for sake exports to get more punch by the-japan-news.com via The Yomiuri Shimbun November 5, 2019 SAKAIMINATO, Tottori — The…
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Sake In The News: 03-02-18

New York has its first sake brewery and it is fantastic. The Taproom at Brooklyn Kura opens today and serves the freshest sake you can get this side of the Pacific: Just pressed sake on draft, lightly filtered Orizake as well as raw sake mash…
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Sake In The News: 02-21-18

Nice article from a major media outlet about the growth of sake in the export market. As Japan falls out of love with sake, brewers look to the West by DANIEL HURST, NBCnews.com February 21, 2018 KYOTO, Japan — Sake runs in Tokubee Masuda’s…
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Sake In The News: 02-20-18

Sake seems to be hitting its stride. Sake Exports increased 19% in 2017 and has tripled in volume over the last 16 years. Awesome news that speaks to the growing interest in and knowledge about sake with consumers outside of Japan! Sake exports…

Lecture at Japan Society: My Year at a Japanese Sake Brewery

I was honored recently to be able to speak at the Japan Society in NYC about my year living and interning at Hakkaisan Sake Brewery.  It was an amazing experience, and if you want to learn more, you can check out my lecture posted on Y…
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Sake In The News: 02-14-18

Is Sake too cheap in Japan? I often hear that prices for premium sake in the USA are too high. But I always enjoy the very low premium sake prices whenever I visit Japan. This article raises many interesting questions! Is Japanese sake too…
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Sake In The News: 01-30-18

I'm quoted in this article about the sake industry's move to expand its market overseas. The Export market for Japanese brewers is an area of growth and I think they will continue to put lots of effort into growing demand for sake outside Japan. Learning…

Interview on Japan Eats: My Year at a Japanese Sake Brewery

I was interviewed on the Japan Eats radio show. Host Akiko Katayama talked with me about my year in Japan. If you like please take a listen below! What did I think of my year?? Was I skilled at Sake Brewing?? What were my fun cultural activites?!…

Writing About Sake? Here Are My Sake Reporting Pet Peeves... With Cats!

No one is more excited than me to see a news article, restaurant review or blog post mention sake! This means there is interest in my favorite beverage and the more the word gets out there the better! I want everyone to know about sake. However,…

Stunning Sake Production Video from Matsumoto Brewery

Mastumoto Brewery is a well known Kura in Fushimi, Kyoto. Recently, they've produced a video that shows the beauty of the sake production process unlike anything I've seen before. Looks like the filmmakers also used a drone to get aerial shots…

Sake Dispatch from 1907 - "Potent Liquor is Sake"

I recently came across this century old description of Japanese sake and was thrilled to learn about it's author, Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), a greek born writer who became one of the first western writers to document Japan. He had a Japanese…

Become a Certified Sake Adviser with the Sake School of America Dec 1 in NYC!

Do you want to take your sake knowledge to the next level and get certified as a Sake Adviser? Open to hospitality industry professionals as well as serious sake enthusiasts, this Sake Adviser course will dive deep into the world of…

New Cup on the Block: Azasu!

Longtime readers of Urban Sake will know that I am a devoted fan of Cup Sake! So much so, I organized a cup sake week back in 2009! Cup sake week never took off, but I still love my single serving cup sake every chance I get. My hopes for…

Become a Certified Sake Adviser with the Sake School of America June 30 in NYC!

Do you want to take your sake knowledge to the next level and get certified as a Sake Adviser? Open to hospitality industry professionals as well as serious sake enthusiasts, this Sake Adviser course will dive deep into the world of sake.…

4th World Sake Sommelier Competition

Calling all Sake Sommeliers! SSI and Sake School of America are hosting the 4th World Sake Sommelier Competition! Are you a sake professional and want to get in on the action? Email by May 20th to apply your spot for regional competitions…

Sake Tourism to Japan: Sake Journeys!

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to Japan's best Sake regions, meeting the sake brewers and drinking the very best sake on the planet? Now you can! I hope you'll consider joining me on our next Sake Journey to Japan from March 12-19!…
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2013 Golden Masu Awards

Another year has come and gone. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the sakes of 2013... Year after year, I produce this semi-serious "Golden Masu Award" roundup, which is my totally biased take on the superior sakes, bodacious brews and…

Sake and Nobu at De Gustibus Cooking School

Recently, I had the good fortune to get invited to introduce some sakes at a cooking class - but this wasn't just any cooking class, this was a cooking seminar from the chefs of Nobu New York, Nobu Next Door and Nobu 57 at the renowned De Gustibus…

Joy of Sake Friends & Family Discount

We're all sake friends here, right? Well, lucky us because I have a discount code for friends and family of Urban Sake to get $15 off the cost of admission to the Joy of Sake! When you are buying your tickets use code "FAFNY". Act fast this…

Urban Sake Upgrade 2013!

Back in 2006, just one year after starting my website, I was proud as a new papa of my fledgling Urban Sake website redesign. I was crowing about my new Sake Directory filled with a whopping 20 sakes! Well, as they say... times have changed! I've…

New Film: The Birth of Sake

I've visited many sake breweries over the years and always have my camera or video camera in tow. I am always sure I'll capture the perfect video to help convey the magic of sake making on film. Well - it doesn't quite work out that way.…

The 10 Commandments of Sake

Well, good heavens! I've been teaching about sake since 2007 and believe me, I get it - sake can be confusing and even downright intimidating for those just getting started. I always thought it would be a good idea to pull together a cheat…

Daishichi Baccarat Sake Night at Hakubai

Daishichi is a sake brand that is famous for two things - its exclusive use of the Kimoto brewing method, and it's extreme elegance. That elegance was on full display at a recent sake dinner featuring Baccarat Crystal at the Hakubai Restaurant…

Win a Free Ticket to the Masumi Arabashiri Tasting at Cherry!!

Welcome to our Masumi Arabashiri Tasting Giveaway! To enter, log into the widget below and answer our trivia question about Masumi sake! All entries with the correct response will be entered to win a ticket to the April 10th Masumi Arabashiri…

Urban Sake on NBC

The upcoming "Sake and the City" event on February 12th in NYC is going to be an amazing evening of enjoying Nihonshu. As part of the promotion for this event, I was invited to appear on NBC as part of their live (LIVE!!) 7pm local NYC newscast…
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2012 Golden Masu Awards

2012 zipped by in a flash. Where has the time gone!? I can only stare into the bottom of my empty sake cup and wonder. For me, this year was a whirlwind of great sakes, old and new. It's also been a year of learning and teaching. I'm discovering…

Exploring Sake in Glorious Gifu

I recently visited Gifu Prefecture for the first time. I was lucky enough to be invited to tag along on Sake Discoveries' tour of Gifu guided by JETRO this past October. Over just a few days, we crisscrossed the Prefecture, visiting many sake…

Koyoido Sake "Toy Box" Ceramics Exhibition in Kyoto

When I was a small child, our dentist would (if we navigated the appointment without too many tears) let us pick out a toy from this giant toy chest in his office. I remembered those fun moments of rummaging through Dr Woods' toy chest when…

Visiting Tomita Shuzo - Shiga's Shichihonyari

I first saw Tomita Shuzo in Japan's Shiga Prefecture on a visit I took there in 2008. It's interesting to note that it seems both a lot and nothing has changed. The brewery is still making small batches by hand with a small staff and achieving…

Visiting Shata Shuzo - Ishikawa's Tengumai

One of the most well known sakes in Ishikawa Prefecture is Shata Shuzo's Tengumai. I recently had the opportunity for return trip to Ishikawa and didn't want to miss another chance to see the latest goings on at Tengumai. We were lucky enough…

Visiting Miyasaka Brewery - Nagano's Masumi

Miyasaka Shuzo's Masumi is a well known and well loved brand of sake in the U.S. and one that was among the very first sakes I ever tried. It was therefore a long, long overdue visit, when the stars aligned and I got a chance to visit Nagano…

Sake Discoveries & Kaburaki Kutani Ware at BoConcept

Last night was a night of beautiful sake and Kutani Porcelain at the elegant BoConcept store in Chelsea. Organized by our friend Chizuko of Sake Discoveries, the event featured a range of top end sakes and a display of gorgeous porcelain made…

Akita Fall Sake Tasting 2012

The genius behind the Akita Sake Club's bi-annual tasting event is that, contrary to the name, they don't limit their sakes to Akita sakes only. About half are from Akita, but it's a wonderful chance to taste sakes from all over Japan with…

Fukuju Night at Sakagura

Last night, I enjoyed another fun night of sake at Sakagura. Fukuju brand, made by Hoygo's Kobe Shushinkan Brewery was celebrated and they offered a tasting set for all the guests. Visiting directly from the brewery was Mr. Kubota. Each…

Hiyaoroshi Hijinks: Nov. 2012 Urban Sake Tasting Club!

Last night was the second Urban Sake Tasting Club Event! We held our event at Sakagura and focused this time on Hiyaoroshi Sakes, which are also known as "Fall Namas". We started the meeting with a fun "kagami biraki" which is a ceremonial…

Fukuju Sake Tasting at Sakaya

Hyogo's own Kobe Shushinkan Brewery recently made their debut of their "Fukuju" brand at New York's most famous sake store Sakaya. Mr. Kubota came directly from the Brewery to introduce his sakes here in New York. On this night, he was…

Kyoto Brewery Visit: Kinoshita Shuzo - Tamagawa

Earlier this year, Mr. Philip Harper, master sake brewer at Kyoto's Kinoshita Sake Brewery came to NYC to promote his outstanding Tamagawa brand of sake. I used the opportunity to snag not only an interview with Philip, but also finagled an…

Kyoto Brewery Visit: Masuda Tokubee Shoten: Tsukinokastura

Masuda Tokubee Shoten, makers of Tsukinokatsura brand sake are famous in Japan and throughout the world. They sell their sakes from Kyoto to New York, Paris, Berlin and beyond. I received an invitation to visit the brewery and got to see what…

Sake Samurai Ceremony 2012

This month, I had the wonderful the opportunity to travel to Kyoto, Japan to celebrate with three friends who were each awarded the title of Sake Samurai 2012! I had the good fortune to be awarded Sake Samurai in 2007, and I'm over the…

Our First Urban Sake Tasting Club!

One of my big sake goals for this year was to start a tasting club in New York City. My idea was to create a monthly meeting where folks can come together and learn a little something about sake, taste something delicious and, of course, have…

NY Mutual Trading Show 2012

Mutual Trading Company has a wonderful trade show each year showcasing their food and sake products. It's not open to the general public, but for industry folks, it's something to look forward to each year. Somehow, this year again, I managed…

Sake Day Adventure at Sakagura

Santa Claus has Christmas, Leprechauns have St. Patrick's Day and I've got Sake Day. Designated as the official start day each year to the fall sake brewing season, it's also a darn good reason to get out there and taste some sake. Sakagura…

Joy to the World: The 2012 New York Joy of Sake Tasting

The Annual Joy of Sake Event is the largest sake tasting outside of Japan, featuring over 350 sakes to taste, study and enjoy in an action packed 3 hours. This year's Joy of Sake was a fun whirlwind as usual with table, upon table, upon table…

JFC Sake Expo 2012

JFC is one of the premier importing companies that bring sakes into the U.S. and as such they have a yearly trade show which I was lucky enough to attend this year. JFC has some wonderful sake brands in their portfolio and this year, I…

Getting to Know Asabiraki at Sakagura

I didn't know much about Asabiraki Sake Brewery in Iwate, but Sakagura gave me a chance to fix all that. They invited Brewery President Mr. Yoshitaka Murai to introduce his sakes at a special tasting event last week. First things first.…

Sake Night at Family Recipe

It's always fun to try a new restaurant, but it's especially fun to try a new restaurant when they are having a big sake party! This was my recent experience with Family Recipe, a Japanese home style cooking place open since 2011 down on Eldridge…

Joy of Sake Kick Off Party at Blue Ribbon Izakaya

Sake Season is upon us! Things seemed to really get cooking with a recent event at Blue Ribbon izakaya. It was a lovely evening at the event was hosted out on the "kanpai garden" terrace - a really beautiful setting... with the backdrop of…

Tatenokawa Times Two!

Who doesn't love a twofer?! You know, a good old fashioned two-for-one deal? I recently enjoyed two times the fun in one night exploring consecutive sake events both dedicated to Yamagata's fantastic Tatenokawa Brewery. The evening started…

Holy Cow: Tedorigawa Sake at Takashi Yakiniku

As a frequent traveler to Japan, when it comes to "challenging" food items I've come across (think fish eye collagen, fermented squid intestine, slimy natto soybeans) I own up to my limits and know when to wave the white flag and admit defeat.…

Ten-Qoo Tuna and Sawanotsuru at Inakaya

Thanks to my friend Chiz over at Sake Discoveries, I was recently able to get a front row seat to something unusual - a bluefin tuna butchering at Inakaya Restaurant. Now, I know the mere mention of bluefin tuna sets off all kinds of eco alarm…

Ice, Ice Baby: Enjoying Shichihonyari On the Rocks

The good folks at Sakagura have put on another fun and exciting sake brewer event! This time it was Mr. Yasunobu Tomita, executive director of Tomita Shuzo from Shiga. I visited this brewery waaaay back in 2008. Tomita-san arrived with a…

Tenryo Night at Sakagura

Last night was another fun sake tasting event at Sakagura! This time, we were enjoying the sakes from Tenryo Sake Brewery. On hand to introduce the sakes was Mr. Matasuke Uenoda, marketing director of Tenryo Brewery. Tenryo is in Gifu Prefecture…
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New Video Series: Sake Q&A Tuesday!

Do you have questions about Japanese Sake?! Well I'm serving up sake answers! Today we're launching a new sake web video series called "Sake Q&A Tuesday!" You can send me your sake questions and each Tuesday I'll answer one reader's question…

Tedorigawa Glitters at Sakagura

The event packed schedule at Sakagura rolls on! Last night's event centered around a beautiful Tedorigawa sake tasting set featuring three standout Tedorigawa Sakes. Each set was presented by Yasuyuki Yoshida, the 6th Genergation Kuramoto…

Kitaya Night at Sakagura

Fukuoka Prefecture may not be the most famous for sake, but it could be the most fun. Fukuoka's own Kitaya Sake Brewery, recently had a tasting at sake mecca Sakagura Restaurant and proved they know how to have a good time. In addition to…

Dassai Lecture at The Brooklyn Kitchen

Last night I spoke at a fun and unique Dassai Sake Brewery Tasting. The event was held at The Brooklyn Kitchen and featured four kinds of Dassai Sake, food cooked to prefection with Dassai Sake Lees by Chef Mori of Kyoya and outrageously awesome…

Tasting Tenryo at Sakaya

I found myself in the east Village this past weekend and made it in time to stop by Sakaya for a nice tasting! This day, Rick and Hiroko were featuring a sake from the Tenryo Sake Brewery in Gifu, Japan. Mr. Matasuke Uenoda, Marketing Director…

Shichida Sake Night at Kirakuya

Sing it with me: "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and Shichida Sake are a few of my favorite things!" Well... that being the case, I would never miss a Shichida Sake Brewery tasting! Brewery President Shichida was in town and a…

Kagatobi Night at Shinbashi Restaurant

Another Night, Another Kagatobi! The good folks from Fukumitsuya Brewery have been in town and hosting events all over the city. Last Thursday was a special night with Kagatobi sake flowing freely, all poured by Mr. Yageta vising all the way…

Nishimoto Premium Sake Event 2012

Nishimoto Sake Importers hosted it's annual big sake blowout on June 3rd at the Astor Center in NYC. The tasting this year was a big deal because the event marked the 100th anniversary of Nishimoto in the U.S. This Nishimoto event was…

Sake Tasting at the Brooklyn Kitchen

This past Saturday, the Brooklyn Kitchen hosted a sake tasting. The 3 hour tasting cost a mere $25 and was sincerely an amazing opportunity to meet some sake brewers live and in person and immerse yourself the intoxicating world of Nihonshu.…

Kagatobi Night at Sakagura

I recently attended a fun evening at Sakagura Restaurant featuring Kagatobi sakes. Kagatobi is one of the flagship brands of the Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery. Visiting all the way from the Fukumitsuya Brewery were Mr. Fukumitsu and Mr. Yageta…

Akita Sake Club Spring 2012 Tasting

Another spring, another Akita Sake Club tasting! And let me tell you, those Akita folks know how to enjoy their sake! This event is always a lot of fun and recently, has graciously included sake from other prefectures as well. All the…

Joy of Sake Aftertaste with Philip Harper at EN

New York's biggest nihonshu blowout, The Joy of Sake 2012, is heading our way soon. As a run up to the big day, there are some fun events taking place. The first of these was an evening of sake sipping and a little bit of sake learning…

Tamagawa's Philip Harper at Sakagura

In Japan, a master sake brewer is known as a Toji. They train for years and it's their job to manage the day to day operations of sake production. And it's not everyday that a Toji superstar blows into town, so I wasn't about to miss my chance…

Deeply Madly Truly Dassai... Yopparai Style

Sake Bar Yopparai kicked off May with a fun evening of yummy-sake-drinking and good-food-eating by partnering with Dassai Brewery for an event called "Deeply Dassai, Yopparai Style". The event focused on a 5 course set menu, all paired with…

L. Rice Grand Feast 2012

There's one event each year you can rely on to provide some exotic food and sake, a dash of glamour and some killer views of the Park. We're talking about the Lucky Rice Grand Feast. Held annually and benefiting City Harvest, the Grand Feast…

Tatenokawa Launch Party at Kirakuya

Tatenokawa Sake Brewery is one of those rare outfits that focuses exclusively on producing super-premium grade sake. That's right, nothing but Junmai Daiginjo will do for the folks at this brewery. If you're a fan of Junmai Daiginjo like I…
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Sake In the News

In Japan, sake has long been known as "The Drink of the Gods"...but coming soon, sake will also be designated as the "National Alcoholic Beverage" by the Japanese Government. My initial reaction to this news was, HUH? Sake isn't already officially…

Kibō Cookbook Event with Elizabeth Andoh

I was recently honored to help support an event called "Kibō: A Taste of the Tohoku" here in New York featuring well known Japanese cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh. Living full time in Japan since 1967, Andoh-sensei is famed for teaching…

Get Yopparai at Yopparai

I recently discovered a new sake bar gem on the lower east side called Yopparai. In English, "yopparai" means 'drunkard', or 'I'm drunk'. This hidden away sake sanctuary has a large selection of premium sakes by the carafe and an even larger…

Masumi Night at Sakagura

April 4th was a special night at Sakagura Restaurant celebrating the annual Springtime U.S. launch of Masumi Masumi Arabashiri Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu sake from Miyasaka Shuzo. The tasting set on this night consisted of Miyasaka Yawaraka…

Masumi Hits the Big Apple!

There are a few signs of Spring that are unmistakeable... That first warm day when you step outside and smell that fresh clean air, the blossoming of the nearby trees and of course, the arrival of Masumi Arabashiri! Miyasaka Brewery just…

What is Sake?

Well, what is sake? It depends on who you ask. Take a look at this graphic I put together for facebook. where do you fall?
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Back to the Future: Sake Adventures in Berlin

Not many people know this, but I had a secret life before I got into sake. In 1986, when I was 16 years old, I lived in West Berlin for one year as an exchange student. At that time, the Wall was still up, East Germany was going strong and…
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2011 Golden Masu Awards

The year 2011 is one I can assure you I will never forget. The March 11th Great East Japan Earthquake and it's aftermath with stay with me forever. I was in Japan on that day and now that over 9 months have passed, I can see even more clearly…

Sake Volunteer Project 2011: Urakasumi Brewery

One of the final stops on our tohoku sake volunteer project for 2011 was the well known Urakasumi Brewery. I first visited Urakasumi in 2009 so I did get a chance to see the place before the disaster struck. I was encouraged to see that construction…

Sake Volunteer Project 2011: Suisen Brewery

Our next stop with the volunteer group was to visit Suisen Brewery in Iwate Prefecture. Suisen, located in the coastal town of Rikusentakata was one of the sake breweries that was completely destroyed by the tsunami on March 11th, and it's…

Sake Volunteer Project 2011: Niizawa Brewery

I recently returned from a two week volunteer project to the Tohoku region of Japan. The Sake Volunteer Project was organized by the UK groups the Japan Affairs Forum and Action for Japan UK. The aim of the project was to visit and support…

Minato Harbor Futsushu at Ippudo Ramen

At this point, pretty much everyone in NYC has heard about Ippudo Ramen, or if not, You've heard about the lines at Ippudo Ramen! There is usually a wait and a crowd to be found there, but the good news is the ramen is delicious and very authentic,…

Urakasumi Pairing Dinner at 15 East

Last monday night I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a stellar Sake pairing dinner at 15 East Restaurant. This evening was unique for me at 15 East, as I'm usually there for sushi. While there was plenty of great raw fish and a sashimi plate to die for, the evening's courses focused more on the food from the kitchen as prepared by Chef Shigeru Sugano in a kaiseki style.

September 2011 Sake Volunteer Project

When I first heard about the UK-based Japan Affairs Forum working on organizing a volunteer project focused on helping sake breweries, I knew I had to be involved. I think this will be an amazing opportunity to help Japan while we are there,…

Urakasumi Sake at Sakaya

Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, everyone in Japan, New York and all over the world has wanted to do their part to support the Breweries from the Tohoku Region in Northern Japan. It's common sense that one concrete…

Nishimoto Sake Tasting at EN

Nishimoto Sake Importers recently held their annual sake tasting blowout at EN Japanese Brasserie. I've attended this event several years in a row and it's always very fun - and very delicious. This year, the highlights include some new…

Daishichi Kaiseki Dinner at Hakubai

NYC in May 2011 was chock-a-block full of sake events - just the way I like it! One of the highlights was a special Kaiseki dinner featuring Daishichi sakes held at the Kitano hotel's Hakubai restaurant.. Daishichi Sake Brewery was established…

My Sake Seminar (& Kimono) in Chopsticks Magazine

My next Sake Seminar at the Astor Center was recently mentioned in Chopsticks Magazine. I'll be pouring some Nanbu Bijin Sake in the class and if you pick up this month's Chopsticks, you can see a brief mention about the class and some of the benefits of attending a sake seminar and tasting Nanbu Bijin. It's a great sake and a wonderful example to use in class, too. Chopsticks also shows me in my "Sake Samurai" outfit - head to toe formal men's kimono! You might not see that in class, but the sakes and tasting will be a blast. I hope you'll join me!

Guest Blog Post: Pouring Hakkaisan in Toronto!

Check out my recent guest blog post over at Hakkaisan.com. They asked me to write a report on my visit with Team Hakkaisan to a historic sake tasting and seminar held in Toronto, Canada. This sold out event was a blast and everyone enjoyed…