Posts in Category: blog

    2015/10/20
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If you already know the basics about sake, you should know the categories such as daiginjo, ginjo, and junmai-shu. It is well known that daiginjo is the most expensive one. Why? Because the category mentioned above is defined by the percentage of rice polishing, and more than 50% of the rice surface should be polished to make daiginjo. The surface of the rice is polished in order to remove smell of the rice skin. (A piece of rice is approximately 5mm high and 2mm wide; imagine how delicate process it is.)

Daiginjo and ginjo, both composed with a term “ginjo”(吟醸), have fruitful flavor and it is suitable for beginners or white wine lovers. Daiginjo is the sake that only uses more Read More

    2015/10/19
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日本酒を注ぐ

You may have seen in a film that a samurai drinks up sake in a small shot glass. And you may have tried sake and felt it very strong. So drink up every shot of sake within a second? Wait. Sake is totally different from shot -it is more wine than gin or vodka. The proper way of enjoying sake is to enjoy its flavor and marriage with food.

Like wine has various labels from different regions, sake also has variety of labels. I’d give you some tips how to choose sake for sake beginners. Keep in your mind the terms daiginjo-shu, ginjo-shu, and junmai-shu which are type of flavors*. Very roughly saying (yes, this is very rough), daiginjo-shu is most fruitful and often has light sweetness. It is good Read More

    2015/10/18
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When you’ve been to a good Japanese restaurant in your country, you may have tried sake. But was it really good? Maybe yes, it should have been so fantastic. But if you were unlucky, you might have tasted something untasty. Why?

Unlike wine, most of sake (even the ones in foreign markets) do not contain sulfites or any other antioxidant. Which means, Sake is fragile to the change of temperature and air. Unstable temperature and oxygen easily damage the flavor and taste. Sake bottles should be treated very carefully to keep the temperature at the same level. And once the bottle was opened, you have to finish it within a day. However, some restaurants keep big bottles (1800ml bottle is common for Read More

    2015/10/17
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Since the high prestige sword is made-to-order, you have to decide the style of the sword. Style of a sword is composed with many elements such as total length, degree of curve, form of point, design of the blade, etc.. If you do not have specific idea, the best way is to leave the decision to the sword smith. After asking you several questions such as “Gift? Who? Relationship between you and him? He prefers simplicity or gorgeousness?”, he would start making perfect one for you. Or if you have a specific image, tell the details. If you have a photo or paintings of the sword you love, send it to Read More

    2015/10/16
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sword catalog

In Japan, sword is regulated by the Ministry of Culture. It defines that sword only made of special iron ore from certain region can be called “Japanese sword” or katana. Also, the number of sword that each sword smith can make is regulated. Considering the fact that there are less than 80 active sword smiths in Japan and that it takes at least one month to complete one sword, number of available new sword is such limited. Because of the situation mentioned above, sword smiths usually do not hold inventory at their place and they start making a new sword after receiving an order. So, if you decide to possess a sword, find a good sword smith and order a sword Read More

    2015/10/15
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If you are attracted by beauty of the sword, why don’t you purchase it? Sword has been not only the symbol of samurai spirit but also known as gift in special occasions. Japanese people today still regard sword as special gift. Ken Takakura, one of the most popular and famous Japanese cinema actors who played a role of samurai in many films, is known that he sent swords to his close movie director, co-workers and friends. Swords can be either private or corporate gift. Sword as gift perfectly suits the situation such as celebration of opening a new office, memorial of important contraction, or symbol of tight bilateral relationship. Sword is definitely unique and eternal gift that can remain next several generations.

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    2015/5/7
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koi travel, sword smith visit

“I sometimes have to go through the hell to pursue the ultimate sword,” says master sword smith Akihira, one of roughly 10 active sword smiths and the most passionate. Unlike most of the other living sword smiths, he began honing his skills at the age of 25, after graduating from college and working some years as a salesperson.

He was bestowed the name ‘Akihira’ from his master after completing his 5-year apprenticeship. Akihira opened his own smithy immediately after gaining independence, unusual for young sword smiths. Many newly-minted sword smiths stay at their master’s place for some years as it is often difficult to find new clients. Serving as an apprentice is never easy, but through hard work Akihira was able to quickly hone his craft and draw the clients needed to Read More

    2015/5/1
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The last two steps are handed to different masters.

3) Togi / polishing

The sword is passed on to a specialist for polishing. This step of the construction serves a dual purpose: to sharpen the blade and reveal its inner beauty. Polishing is a laborious process made all the more difficult by the careful use of many different grades of polishing stones. Coarse stones are used first to shape the blade. Then, progressively finer stones are used to refine the blade’s surface.

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4) Shiage / fittings

The basic function of a Japanese sword mounting is the protection of the blade. However, mounting styles, koshirae, differ according to era. The preparation of a mounting requires the handiwork of several different skilled craftsmen: the scabbard maker, lacquerer, Read More

    2015/4/28
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Step 2) Sword making

Tanren / tempering

The iron pieces, still piled onto spatula, are then heated in the fire. The iron is repeatedly heated and pounded until the desired degree of steel is obtained. This process determines the quality of iron. pounded with the help of lye  (an alkaline solution, often used for washing or cleansing), the iron becomes purer and stronger, turning to steel.

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Shingane & Hi-zukuri / forming

Two separate pieces of the finished steel are fitted together to form the core and skin of the sword. Repeated pounding molds the steel into a bar which the master then shapes into a rough blade with a special shaver and fields .

 

Tsuchioki & Yaki-ire / shaping

A coating of clay is applied to the blade. Read More

    2015/4/23
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tamahagane

Step 1) Tamahagane / raw material iron making

Today, about 80 Japanese sword smiths exist. These masters of their craft continue to make swords in the traditional way. All masters purchase a special iron of superior quality called tamahagane from the western city of Izumo, in Shimane Prefecture, which is the only place that still produces the raw materials necessary for swords. (Actually Izumo is called “home of gods” where all 8million gods in Japan gather here during October.) Custom does not permit the material in question to be imported. The Ministry of Culture defines as a Japanese sword only thos blades made of this special raw material. The tamahagane is made by smelting sand-iron and charcoal together in a traditional clay Read More