Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I moved to Santa Fe to steward the sake program for Izanami—a remarkable izakaya located at 10,000 Waves—a unique Japanese-inspired mountain resort/spa/onsen. I am elated!!
The term "izakaya" is new to many. It's an informal restaurant (I liken it to a tavern) designed to encourage the sharing of food and drink; celebrating life; and enjoying camaraderie with friends or even strangers.
As you can imagine, sake plays a vital role in izakaya-life! Training, educating, prostyletizing colleagues and customers on the history, mystery, nuances, and abundant virtues of premium sake from Japan is my great gift; my most rewarding passion; and no less than my 生き甲斐 ("ikigai"). I am humbled to work at Izanami.
"Ikigai" is a Japanese term that refers to one's raison d'être or one's reason for being; the discovery of which brings satisfaction and meaning to life. Everyone has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. I regard such a search as being very important, since the discovery of one's ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life. Living out one's ikigai is one of the reasons the people of Japan have the longest lifespans of any nation in the world.
Much of what makes working at Izanami so rewarding goes beyond my role. I hold the leadership team; whom I met in 2012 through the fateful intercession of Yoramu-san, a sake bar owner based in Kyoto; in very high regard. I am respected and received with uncommon kindness. I share their vision for Izanami and how sake should be appreciated.
In addition, in the winter I will return to Wakatakeya Shuzo to continue my work as a humble kurabito, while being allowed to return to Izanami with my job intact. Oscillating between Japan and New Mexico in this way, between brewery and izakaya, is wonderful. I'm grateful Izanami will allow this to happen.
Farmers, kurabito, tojis, kuramotos bring sake to life. Importers, wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants bring it to the public. May consumers everywhere come to appreciate premium sake, the greatest bounty of Japan, and one of the great wonders of the world. I am thrilled to play my part, in Fukuoka, and now in Santa Fe.