HItachino Beer vs Kiuchi Sake food matching battle at Kumo Izakaya in Brunswick, VIC.
with my good buddy, Sake Samurai Andre Bishop san!
Horse Racing in Japan
Horse racing is not only the most popular of Japan’s official forms of gambling, it also has a very international history. After US Commodore Matthew Perry opened Japan to the world in the 19th century, horse racing was introduced by the Europeans who came to live in Yokohama – which explains why Japan favours European-style turf courses over American-style dirt tracks.
Horse racing (keiba) is immensely popular in Japan and the racehorses here are some of the strongest in the world. There are about 20,000 active racehorses, with many races held every Saturday and Sunday even on major holidays. The big-ticket races, known as “G1” races, hand out prize money comparable to the Kentucky derby in the US (about $1.3 million USD) for the winner, but instead of one or two such races in a year there are almost two dozen.
It’ll only cost you about ¥100 or ¥200 to get in, and purchasing bets is made easy with the automatic vending machines. Even first-timers and non-Japanese speakers can do it, as the machines have an English option and guides to betting. Collecting winnings is equally easy; just insert your winning ticket into one of the automated payout machines and wait for your money!
Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)
The Tokyo Yushun, also called as the Japanese Derby is a Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old thoroughbred horses run over a distance of 2,400 metres (approximately 1 mile 4 furlongs) at the Tokyo Racecourse, Fuchu, Tokyo in late May or early June. This year Tokyo Yushun is set to take place on May 26.
Tokyo Yushun 2018 Winner : Wagnerian
Tokyo Racecourse is a nice place to spend a day at because it can offer much more than just horse races. It has a sprawling theme park-esque venue that hosts top-notch events, how-to seminars on betting for beginners, kid-friendly play areas, a wide range of restaurants, and seasonal events. The most common drink served at racecourse is of course beer!
If you visit Japan, we recommend spending a day at Tokyo Racecourse and experiencing keiba. However, for those who like to enjoy watching horse racing on the screen, we recommend doing it with a glass of refreshing Echigo Koshihikari Beer!
Echigo Koshihikari Beer is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice style lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any dish.
Yamanashi Prefecture is the Home of Japanese Wine
Grapes were first brought to Japan 1,300 years ago by Buddhist monks via China and the Silk Road. These fruits originated in what is today’s Georgia in the Caucasus region, however, due to the humidity and other factors, winemaking did not progress in the island nation. It was only at the end of the Sakoku (isolation) period and with the beginning of the Meiji era that the government started sending people to Europe to learn winemaking. Bringing back what they learned in Europe (tweaked to Japanese conditions) as well as fermentation facilities, Yamanashi Prefecture became home to the first wineries in Japan.
Koshu (甲州 kōshū) is a white wine grape variety that has been grown primarily in Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan. Though long thought to be of exclusively European origin, it is now known to be a hybrid (probably naturally occurring) of Europe’s Vitis vinifera and one or more Asian Vitis species. They are thick-skinned making them fairly resistant to disease. The aromatics are delicate, with notes of Japanese citrus and savoury, minerally flavours. The name “Koshu” is a former name for Yamanashi.
Koshu Wine Characteristics
The unique, delicate, almost demure-like qualities of Koshu wines from Japan are quietly, but surely, building up a fan base amongst wine professionals and Michelin star chefs.
Koshu has fresh but rounded acidity, and several aromatic compounds in common with Sauvignon Blanc. The most familiar Koshu style is an ultra-delicate, subtle dry white with a sleek texture.
Koshu wine is made pink coloured grape, grown in the foothills of Mount Fuji, and its subtle, nuanced, fresh flavours pair with a whole range of dishes, not only the Japanese food but Western cuisine as well.
The recommended wine is Chanmoris Koshu Wine Shiro Yamanashikensan uses 100% of grapes from Yamanashi prefecture in Japan. It is a slightly dry white wine characterized by a refreshing smell and clean taste. Celebrate International Wine on May 25th with unique Koshu Wine!
How does Japan Celebrate Mother’s Day?
It is commonly believed that the first Mother’s Day celebration in Japan occurred on 6th March, the birthday of Empress Kojun, who was the mother of Akihito (Heisei era emperor). The celebration later became fully established alongside the organization of the Imperial Women’s Union in 1931. During the Second World War, the Japanese were prohibited from celebrating Western customs and Mother’s Day was brought to an abrupt end. In 1949, when the War was over, and Mother’s Day saw brought back again. The date was changed to the second Sunday of May, and it continues to be celebrated to this day.
Since its revival, Mother’s Day has been celebrated widely across Japan. Nowadays, many festivities are undertaken in celebration and it has become one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants and shopping malls.
On this day, roses are symbolically gifted to show love, honour, faith, devotion and beauty. Alternatively, carnations can be presented – most popularly the red or pink variety; as they symbolize purity, sweetness and endurance. The act of giving flowers is a very popular thing to do to celebrate.
As is common in the West, a variety of delicacies are prepared by the children, for their mother. In Japan, simple but flavorful dishes like sushi, miso and tamagoyaki are a common feature on menus on Mother’s Day. Other common activities include personalized arts and crafts as well as calligraphy gifts.
Recommended sake gift for Mother’s Day
You’s Time Light is a sensational super refreshing Yuzu citrus liquor made by 14 years running Gold Medal awarded premium sake brewery Saito Shuzo in Kyoto, Japan. Using premium quality Yuzu fruits (a cross between Japanese mandarin & lime) only grown in Japan infused in the award-winning premium ginjo grade sake with a secret golden ration, You’s Time Light is sweet and tangy, low in alcohol, easy to drink sake based liquor can be enjoyed as aperitif, palette cleanser or dessert. Drink chilled or on ice.
We invite you to surprise your beloved mother with their favorite dish and toast a glass of You’s Time Light on Mother’s Day!