Time to Start Horsing Around

The mane event is back in Japantown San Jose.

Sake San Jose is back for it’s 9th annual fundraising walk through Japantown! After the annual opening cask breaking ceremony (Kagami-wari) and kick-off “Kanpai!”, 26 Jtown businesses will host stations serving many types of sake as crowds hoof through the streets on a perfect pre-summer evening. Come with friends, or bond with new fans as sakes from both the US and Japan are poured throughout the night. 

Early Bird tickets are $40 when purchased by May 18th; $50 after May 18. There is also a VIP ticket for $60 which includes admission, a Horitaka design Year of the Horse T-shirt, and express check-in line at Registration. As usual, we’ll have some local celebrity pourers, including a TV personality, a TV producer, a former San Francisco 49er, and an MMA fighter.

Come join us again, or for the first time!

It’s Time to Snake, Rattle and Roll


Sake San Jose 2013 is just days away and tickets are still eligible with Early Bird pricing, which is available until May 19th. In this 2013 Year of the Snake, come join us as we meander through Japantown as the sake pours like water. This year features 26 pouring stations and 34 sakes for participants to sample, including  old favorites and new ones to crave. New to sake or ready to turn your taste for sake into a passion? This year, the event also features 10-15 minute Sake 101 classes from Jesse Pugach, a sake specialist from Southern Wine and Spirits, so you can shed your sake-novice skin. These sessions have limited seating, but are open to all participants on a first-come seating basis.

Opening ceremonies will officially kick-off the event featuring a traditional cask breaking ceremony.  Kagamiwari (cask breaking ceremony) is a Japanese tradition in which the circular lid of a sake cask is broken with a wooden mallet to celebrate an important event. San Jose Taiko will be providing a special performance at the opening ceremonies, and there will be some special pourers at this event, including television personalities Rick Quan and Robert Handa.

Once again, State of Grace’s renowned tattoo artist, Horitaka has graciously contributed his talents for the event’s logo design.  This unique design can be found on 2013 Sake San Jose merchandise which will be available for purchase online and on the day of the event.

The Event with the Dragon Tattoo

Rabbits, and Tigers, now Dragons, oh my. Horitaka’s design for this year’s 7th Annual Sake San Jose event is subtly vibrant, with an extended claw reminiscent of hands reaching for the sake from regions all over Japan. The Year of the Dragon hints at progression, perseverance, and good fortune. Its strongest element is Water, an apt image for sake flowing to promote Yu-Ai Kai Senior Service and San Jose’s Japantown. T-shirts with the dragon design will be available for purchase, or you can order a VIP ticket now, which includes admission, express check-in, and a Year of the Dragon tee. Time to get fired up for sake!

Clear Skies and Pouring Rai…Sake

For sake’s heaven….a great weather forecast for the event tomorrow night. While it may be on the chilly side, there is little chance of showers, so only sake will be pouring. A clear sky, light breeze, the sound of a taiko drum beating in the distance and the gurgle of flowing sake. It sounds like a wonderful night in beautiful Japantown. Come and raise a glass to Yu-Ai Kai with us!!

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Let’s Be Taste Buds

A participant two years ago mentioned that one great thing about Sake San Jose is the mix of people from different generations and walks of life. It was mentioned that seeing old friends and making new ones was always something to look forward to.

While this will inevitably continue this year for some, you could also extend that concept to the sakes we’re literally bringing to the table. In addition to adding new sakes for this year’s event (E.g. TY KU, etc.), Sake San Jose also welcomes back participant favorites, such as Hakutsuru, Joto Sake, Sake One, Takara, Ozeki and Gekkeikan. All the sakes have uniqueness and nuances that draw people to discern their favorite profiles and also illuminate how diverse and (sometimes minutely) distinctive the world of sake can be. Whether you’re a die-hard sake fan (ichi…ni…san…!!) or spiritedly curious, we’re sure you’ll find your palate’s niche.

There will be 25 pouring stations and 40 sakes flowing down Jackson Avenue, from Western Contract Furniture up near 6th Street, to the James Akiyama Wellness Center south of 4th street. As with last year, Jackson Avenue will become a Raffle Road for all participants, where completing tastings leads to a raffle drawing for a mixed box of sake. So come on down!! We can’t wait to see you.

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The Nu Kid on the Block

Sake San Jose is pleased to welcome a new sake to the line-up for our 6th annual event on May 26th.  TY KU sake is the mastermind behind an award-winning collection of sakes with a twist. Featuring natural ingredients, dynamic flavor profiles, and sleek presentation, TY KU sakes invite drinkers to immerse in sensation with every sip. TY KU also aims to inspire taking sake tasting to a new level, with fresh sake cocktail ideas and sake education.

Welcome to Sake San Jose, TY KU. Pour. Sip. Elevate.

http://www.trytyku.com/ | @TeamTYKUcontact@trytyku.com


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Let’s Talk Shop

Whether you’re looking for clothing to feed your Sol or make you go Cuku, or even if you’re just having a “ruff” day, 3 new businesses will be hosting a pouring station for the event on the Thursday, May 26. Island Sol Company is a retail shop with a selection of Hawaiian clothing, jewelery, footwear, and even snacks. Have need for some Hawaiian fabric, decals or CDs? They have these too. Aloha, ISCo and welcome to Sake San Jose!!

As a shop self-proclaimed to be “rooted from a melting pot of chicanos, south pacific islanders, tattooers and graff heads,” Cukui Clothing Company boasts a collection of eclectic neo-urban art and streetwear at their location on Jackson Street. This is a perfect flavor to add to the blend of Japantown.

Rounding out this trio at the tail end is Biscuits, a retail pet store that does more than throwing your dog a bone. For the dog or cat in your life, this pet boutique showcases products that are both natural and organic, and also offers services like teeth cleaning and nail clipping, and promotes the adoption of puppies in need a of a good home. “We are very excited to partake in Sake San Jose this year. Biscuits has been a part of Japantown San Jose since July of 2010, and we are very proud and excited to be a new addition to the community. We take pride in being able to provide healthy alternatives for local dog/cat owners and continue to build genuine relationships with our customers. Please stop by and visit us at 223 Jackson St, San Jose, CA. Also don’t forget to check us out at www.shopbiscuits.com for more information.”

Thanks to all participating Japantown businesses!! Sake San Jose raises a plastic sake sample cup to you!!

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Premium sake? Yes, please, Tengu

As Sake San Jose 2011 nears (!!May 26th!!), tickets for this year’s Akiyama Premium Sake Tasting are selling quickly. At this premiere event hosted at the new James Akiyama Wellness Center, premium sakes will be showcased in tastings led by sake and industry experts, along with a “Fusion Feast” prepared by Chef Derik from Tengu Sushi & Catering. (Hungry? Think tuna yuke w/ sesame sauce and salmon sashimi drizzled w/ yuzu ponzu and hot sesame oil, to start).

The tickets for this premium event are $80, which include both the private tasting event and the public event on Jackson St. As with the regular event tickets, 100% of the proceeds directly benefit Yu-Ai Kai Senior Services, a nonprofit senior center, in Japantown. We hope to see you there!!

Update (5/17/2011)!! Ever heard of “legs for days?” Not quite the same,but close: recently found that Chuka Iidako (tender baby octopus, sweet shoyu dressing) & Tako Wasabi (octopus salad with wasabi) are on the menu too. Kanpai Hachi-soku!

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Something More is Brewing

À la Sake San Jose 2010, Roy’s Station on 5th and Jackson will be offering a free cup of drip coffee to all participants of Sake San Jose. Stop by after the event up until 9PM and show them your wristband, and finish off the night with a different kind of brew. (Black?? With cream? Sugar?) Thanks, Roy’s!

Roy’s Station Coffee and Teas is built on the historic site of a gas station run by Roy Murotsune and his brothers, from post WWII to 1990. The closing of the gas station left the spot mostly vacant, after years of being a Japantown landmark. The coffee shop has emerged to breathe new life into the location and is run by Carole Rast, daughter of Murotsune, and some of her family. They continue the spot’s tradition of fueling customers, this time with with a different source of energy, which includes coffee from Barefoot Coffee Roasters, tea from Teance, assorted pastries, and Japanese snacks from Tengu Sushi. Roy’s Station is open daily, and on May 26th will be serving customers until 9PM.

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Put on Some Hip Hop: Presenting Horitaka’s SSJ Year of the Rabbit Shirt

Internationally recognized and sought-after tattoo artist, Horitaka, has once again donated his time and artistry to Yu-Ai Kai’s Sake San Jose.  For 2011, Horitaka, of Japantown’s State of Grace tattoo studio, has created a clever design in celebration of the Year of the Rabbit.  Do you know someone who was born in the Year of the Rabbit?  Are you looking for a unique birthday gift for a friend or colleague?  Treat yourself and don this year’s shirt at Yu-Ai Kai’s most anticipated fundraiser of the year on Thursday, May 26!

Pre-sale orders for this exclusive Sake San Jose 2011 tshirt are now being accepted.  Please visit www.sakesanjose.com to order yours today!