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Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria

A 1.8 liter bottle of Tanigawadake Kokoro sake and several large containers of sake sangria

Sake isn't commonly associated with sangria, the fruity alcoholic beverage from the Iberian Peninsula, and my curiosity was piqued when I heard about this Sake Sangria event. Organised by the students of the Sasaki Seminar around Professor Sasaki Shigeru from the Takasaki City University of Economics, the event was aimed at making sake more attractive to women. The seminar was held in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, about one hour north of Tokyo by shinkansen.

The Nagai Brewery, a local sake maker from Kawaba Village in Gunma Prefecture, collaborated with the university students by providing the sake for the sangria. The staff from the brewery brought three different types of sake to the event: a sparkling Mizubasho, a junmai daiginjo sake called Mizubasho Sui, and Tanigawadake Kokoro, the sake used for the sangria. Bottles of shikomi-mizu, water used for making sake, were also available for tasting.

Arriving at the venue, a wine bar not far from Takasaki Station, I had the sparkling Mizubasho as a welcome drink. It was very pleasant, akin to drinking champagne to start things off. With that in hand, I found my seat and was ready to learn more about sake sangria. Decanters of what looked like white wine were on the tables, and I learned soon after that they were the sake sangria.

The wine bar in Takasaki where the event was held
Sparkling Mizubasho sake as a welcome drink
Jars of sake sangria sitting on the bar counter
Inside the venue

Glasses of sake sangria were distributed, and I was excited to finally taste the main course. I found that the sangria was sweet and very smooth, and that there was little or no alcoholic taste in the beverage. Definitely something I can see myself drinking in the summer or as a dessert drink. The drink was also favourably received amongst the other female participants at the event, and I think it should be considered a goal accomplished for making sake appealing to women.

Having a toast at the neighboring table
Staff from Nagai Brewery introducing the sake they brought
Mizubasho Sui on the left and a bottle of shikomi-mizu water on the right
One of the university students posing with a large container of sake sangria

The hour-long seminar included a short talk by sake expert and proprietress at a nearby izakaya, Negishi-san, who covered the benefits of sake. I learnt that sake, like red wine, has high levels of polyphenol - nutrients that have beneficial health properties for our bodies - and amino acids that are also important for our health. Other advantages include improving blood circulation and brightening properties. And for those who may be allergic to alcohol, adding a cup or two of sake into your bathwater and soaking in it gives your skin a little boost too!

Negishi-san talking about the benefits of sake
A glass of water on the left, sparkling Mizubasho in the middle and sake sangria on the right
Professor Sasaki (leftmost) and Nagai Brewery President Nagai Noriyoshi (rightmost) with event participants

Towards the end of the hour, we were introduced to the sake sangria recipe formulated by the university students. Sake sangria was made with four different types of fruit: oranges, peaches, pineapples and dried persimmons; and topped up with Tanigawadake Kokoro sake. The sake sangria mix should be tightly covered and left to steep for at least a week before consumption, quite unlike the typical sangria which can be drunk on the same day. It was easy enough that I'm considering to make it my to-go drink this coming summer.

One liter of sake sangria contains 150g of pineapple, 200g of peach, 100g of dried persimmon and 120g of orange
Filling the container up to the brim with Tanigawadake Kokoro sake
Got to try the sake steeped fruit
Deep in conversation with the boss of Nagai Brewery
My last view of the jars of sake sangria, too big to fit into my bag

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List of Posts:
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report