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The long-awaited Shizuoka Prefecture Sake Festival (official title) was held this year by the Shizuoka Sake Brewers Association in Hamamatsu City this as the rotation came to the West of our Prefecture (it will be held in Numazu City next year).
Like last last year in Shizuoka City I made a point to come early to be able to greet the many Master Brewers and owners I know and make personal acquaintance with the few I haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet.
Before entering the Main Hall, I had a good look at some sake specialists blind-tasting brews as part of a national competition. For all my love of sake and probably because of it, I never felt becoming a recognized taster. I am more interested in the people who work so hard to produce those great nectars. In any case I vey much doubt I would have been able to come out sober at the end of the evening if I did any serious tasting before the actual event!
Although Grand Hotel Hamamatsu is a venerable institution, its main function hall is pretty big as it easily managed to cater for than 400 guests and all the Brewers’ stands.
I did enter it long before the actual event to say hello and talk shop with the Brewers. A bit pert, I reckon, but I did work hard to make myself accepted in a very closed traditional world and this is one of the rare times when you can talk frankly in good humour with all and one!
I also took the opportunity to take pictures of new labels from Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura, Aointenka and Doi Breweries I soon will visit in Kakegawa City.
The actual event lasted two hours while all guests either stayed at the tables and enjoyed the meal and sake selection already served on each table seating eight diners, or like myself went around the whole room tasting sake at the Brewers’ stands and came back now and then for drink of water and some food served as soon as they were seated. A very practical system for the guests but extremely trying for the staff!
Alright, I did not go into many details but I will be glad to answer requests for explanations! At least that should give a good idea of what to expect at such functions in Japan!