Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter: Bizen Yaki/Bizen Pottery

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(Wakimoto Hiroyuki )

Greetings from Mishima,

Just coming back from California last week I once again realized how important the seasons play out in Japanese culture. Talking with my friends in San Diego most had no idea about how the
Japanese take the seasons to a poetic height, for instance changing vessels to match the seasons. Here autumn is in full swing and thus autumnal delicacies and fitting pottery are to be
seen everywhere. I can argue that no other Japanese pottery style fits autumn better than Bizen.

A month or so ago I did visit Bizen and selected works by Harada Shuroku, Wakimoto Hiroyuki and Kakurezaki Ryuichi.

Works by Wakimoto

and Harada are mostly listed in the gallery–some preview photos for Wakimoto–and after my return from California I started listing Kakurezaki’s works. All three are major figures, yet

Kakurezaki is surely *the* Bizen ceramic artist representing the *now* for Bizen. Four of his larger not yet listed works can be viewed here:
1, 2, 3, 4.

Today I’ll be listing a katakuchi pouring vessel as well as a smaller vase. All are museum quality works and please do view them when you have a moment, if for nothing else then to refresh
the senses in these surreal days.

Also, Ajiki Hiro’s son Jun is also now showing some of his fine chawan with us; they are very much in his father’s artistic realm. Quite a few potters here are now copying the Ajiki style, especially their checkered Basara style, blatant copying really.
I won’t name names, yet one is a very celebrated–shameless–potter here.

In May our gallery was featured on a NHK special on Bizen and since then a small book was published by NHK with additional photos and copy. All in Japanese though, if anyone is interested
in seeing a copy please email me.

Also, if you happen to be in Tokyo on Oct. 25th, John Gauntner and I will be hosting a Sake-Pottery Lecture Dinner; please email me for further details or see John’s web site noted above, the events page.

In any event, thank you for your interest in our gallery and wishing you all a pleasant autumn.


Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (33)

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Today the Missus made good use of yesterday’s leftovers and home-preserved vegetables.

There are always two or three boiled eggs in the fridge, so one of them found its way in today’s lunch. The Missus had kept aside some of the edamame served last night for my evening drink, took them out of their pods and also kept them overnight in the fridge.
Yesterday my Monday’s lunch consisted of deep-fried pork/tonkatsu muffin sandwiches. She seasoned the pork leftovers with home-made sweet pickled ginger and ponzu vinegar. The vegetables accompanying the meat in its little box are okura and aubergines/egg plants she had first fried, cooled down and then marinated overnight. The little tomato had been pickled/marinated separately.
The white-green thing in its foil paper is “wasabi zuke/wasabi stems and leaves pickled in sake white lees”, a very Japanese condiment. Most of the total national production is made in Shizuoka Prefecture!
As for the rice, she steamed it with fresh mushrooms, soy sauce and I don’t know what (she wouldn’t tell me…). All I can is that I loved it!

For once she did not omit dessert as mini apple slices were included in the salad!

21st Shizuoka Prefecture Sake Brewers Festival

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I usually keep all Shizuoka Sake postings for Shizuoka Sake Blog, but I thought for once it might be of some interest to show what can one expect at a hotel fuction dinner in Japan and Shizuoka Prefecture.
The Festival which is held every year by the Shizuoka Sake Brewers Association took place in Hamamatsu City this year as the rotation came to the West of our Prefecture (it will be held in Numazu City next year).

I came 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.

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).

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!

Set of three appetizers

Set of three sashimi

Set of fried vegetables

Cooked seafood plate

Chicken confit and mushrooms as meat plate

Seabream (snapper) rice, pickles and soup

Dessert: hot “Amazake”, made from sake white lees (non-alcoholic)

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!

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #21

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Germany is a great Mecca of beer culture in the world. Oktoberfest is an annual celebration of German beer culture held in Munich around this time. This year, Baird Brewing will be participating in that
celebration by hosting our own Oktoberfest event at the Nakameguro Taproom beginning Friday, October 3 and running through Monday, October 13.

This 10-day celebration will feature a special line-up of German-style beers which include:

*Old World Kolsch
*New World Alt
*Smoke Dark Lager
*Braumeister’s Bock
*Imperial Pils
*Export Lager

Also, the Nakameguro Taproom kitchen will be offering a special selection of German-inspired Beer cuisine designed to further enhance the German-style beer experience. Please plan on stopping in the Nakameguro Taproom and joining us for the revelry.

Today, the Baird Brewery is releasing for general sale three new fall seasonals: Old World Kolsch, New World Alt and Bull Run Ale.

(1) Old World Kolsch (ABV: 5.2%):

In the annals of German beer history, Kolsch actually is a relatively “new world” style at a mere two centuries old. It is a pale, dry, assertively hopped golden ale know as the “beer of Cologne.” A fruity-winy bouquet is one of its hallmarks. Baird Old World Kolsch is brewed with German Pilsner and Wheat malts, as well as English Maris Otter, and hopped with American Magnum and Sterling varieties. The appearance is highlighted by a gorgeously full head of long-lasting white foam and a slightly hazy white-gold color. The aroma is zesty and lemon-like. The flavor is dry and quenching with a hint of bitter hop fruit.

(2) New World Alt (ABV 5.2%):

“Alt” in German means “old” and when used in connection with beer the implication is that the beer is of a type that pre-dates the pale, bottom-fermented styles most commonly found in Germany today. “Alt” as a beer style in and of itself generally refers to amber-colored top-fermented ales associated with the city of Dusseldorf and its environs. A typical Altbier is light to medium in body and sports lots of hop character. Baird New World Alt is brewed with German Pils and Vienna base malts while deriving its copper color and body from additions of both Caramunich and Caraaroma malts. 40 BUs of Horizon, Perle and Vanguard hops punctuate the flavor experience from start to finish.

These most definitely are not the typical Alt and Kolsch versions available at other breweries in Japan. We believe the German beer gods are smiling contentedly at the Baird interpretation. What say you?

Both beers will be pouring from the taps of the Fishmarket and Nakameguro Taprooms, as well as at other Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants throughout Japan, beginning Friday, October 3. Bottle-conditioned versions (360 ml bottles) also are available for sale direct from the brewery via our online estore and through our fine network of Baird Beer retailing liquor shops in Japan.

(3) Bull Run Ale (ABV 5.5%):

This is a fantastically smooth, balanced but hearty American-style Red Ale. The rich malt character and lovely red hue make this a perfect autumn season libation. The snappy hop character (Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, Ahtanum), though, makes it a very satisfying thirst quencher too.

Bull Run Ale is available on draught only at the Nakameguro Taproom. A limited supply of 633 ml bottles also are available for purchase from the brewery and through Baird Beer retailing liquor store in Japan.


Bryan Baird
Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

Le Cafe-Labo: Classic Cakes (8)

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We are in the middle of the fig season!
As Shizuoka is a mjor grower of this great fruit, one can expect all kinds of preparations!
Did you know that figs are great as vegetables starters, chilled, peeled and cut in thick slices with plenty of “goma tare/sesame sauce”? my new vegan friends, Miss V’s and Julie would love to try them!

So Le Cafe-Labo in Shizuoka City put this new creation, “Tarte aux Figues/Fig Tart” in its display cases yesterday. I did not hesitate as my private students have this very sweet tooth that helps me so much with my postings!

The basic pastry is “pate sablee” layered with a mixture of pate sablee and green pistachio paste (directly imported from France). Home-made fig jam has been spread over the pistachio pastry to preserve its identity. Quartered figs (with their skins!) were then assembled over the tart and subsequently lightly “brulees”.

The balance is perfect and the tart does make quite a bite to enjoy. Even a big eater like Foodhoe should feel satisfied!

424-0886 Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Kusanagi, 46
Tel.: 054-3441661
Also available at Isetan Dept. Store, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-Cho

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (32)

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Yesterday’s bento was a quick fix, but I must admit it was pretty satisfying!
She just boiled an assortment of pasta, cooled them under cold water, drain them and mixed them with smoked salmon, mayonnaise, capers and some spices.
She added the usual plum tomatoes, cress, bits of processed cheese, French cornichons and lettuce.
She topped the whole with some very soft-boiled egg halves.
Actually, most of the yolk of the upper half flowed into the pasta salad contributed for more taste!

But she forgt the dessert again!