Recently I tasted several premium sake at the new sake bar at Yaya in East Point City, including Sake N by Hidetoshi Nakata and Juyondai etc. My interest of sake was rising, which attracted me to watch a sake documentary called “Kampai! For the Love of Sake”. The film tells me how the producer attentively explain the sake culture. In fact the number of young Japanese people who loves sake is getting less. If sake is not being strongly publicized, it might fade into extinction soon!
The movie shows the sake culture with the perception of three people with totally different backgrounds. The American John Gauntner came to Japan when he was young, he was influenced greatly under the Japanese food culture and fell in love to sake. He aspired to be the renowned non-Japanese sake professional, and eventually has brought the sake culture to Western countries. The English Philip Harper has a more legendary story. After university graduation, Philip participated Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) and taught English in Osaka, in order to experience the livelihood at oversea. At the beginning Philip was upset because of miscommunication with local people. He found that drinking alcoholic beverages can remove the obstacles between human, without any use of language. Later the English man became an apprentice at a sake distillery, and eventually revived a distillery from bankruptcy. Now he is the director of that sake distillery. The last person is a Japanese, Kosuke Kuji from NanbuBijin, who has inherited the company from his father. Kuji believed the reformation is the only way to leave the pessimistic situation of the declining trend of sake. Even his father and older generation members want to stop Kuji’s action, the film records how this ambitious Japanese used his ability and effort to overcome all the obstacles and won a grand award at oversea. Kuji has proven himself a successful man!
Sadly, our local news always mentioned the old and famous restaurants could not afford the high rent and was forced to close their business. Each closed store represents an end of one culture.
While drinking sake at the sake bar, I was memorizing the plot of the great movie and admiring Japanese how they strive as much as possible to keep their tradition. Kampai!
日前去了一田在東港城新店內的 Sake Bar，試了幾款超級清酒，包括中田英壽的 Sake N，十四代的龍之落子等，也吸引了我去看這部關於清酒的紀錄片「乾杯！日本清酒最高」，看製作人如何用心把清酒文化傳承，皆因在日本喜歡飲清酒的年青人愈來愈少，如果再不用力推廣，連清酒都有可能在不久將來湮滅！
電影透過三個背景不同的人來看清酒文化：John Gauntner是美國人，年青時來日本闖蕩，受到日本飲食文化熏陶而愛上清酒，著書立說成為知名非日藉清酒專家，成功將清酒文化帶到歐美各地；英國人Philip Harper更傳奇，大學畢業後，抱着去海外體驗生活的心態，參與日本政府的國際活動JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme)，來大阪教英語，初時因言語不通而懊惱，後來跟本地人去飲酒場合，發現飲酒後可消除人與人之間隔膜，跟本無需語言，之後入清酒廠潛心學藝，後來更將一家瀕臨倒閉的酒廠復興，現在是這家木下酒造的釀酒總監；最後一個是日本人，「南部美人」的久慈浩介，繼承父輩傳下來的基業，心知日本清酒逐漸息微的趨勢，堅持創新改革是唯一出路，但受到父親及老一輩員工的阻隢，電影紀錄他事事親力親為，排除萬難，最終在海外贏得大獎，吐氣揚眉！
在一田 Sake Bar一面飲清酒，一面回味電影中飄來的陣陣酒香，一面佩服日本人如何落力地保留傳統文化，乾杯！