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!

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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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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We’ve Got Your Ticket to ‘Bibe

Sake San Jose 2011 Tickets Now on Sale!

Sake San Jose is back to celebrate, Year of the Rabbit style. Join us for one of the most anticipated fundraisers of the year, as once again we take to the streets of San Jose to sample over 25 sakes and get a taste of the prolific food, flavor and culture of one of the three remaining Japantowns in the United States.

Sakes made in Japan and the US, such as daiginjo, ginjo and junmai grades will be available for tasting at over 25 Japantown businesses, providing a great opportunity for connoisseurs and novices alike to sample and learn about a variety of sakes. The sixth annual SSJ will also debut an Akiyama Premium Sake Tasting, where industry experts will guide more ardent tasters through a special collection of premium sakes and accompanying “small plates” in the James Akiyama Wellness Center’s Sakura Room. These limited-quantity tickets include participation to the regular SSJ event as well.

Thank you for your continued support of Yu-Ai Kai and its healthy aging programs. For more information, please visit www.yuaikai.org or www.sakesanjose.com.


Follow the White Rabbit

Since relocating to Japantown San Jose in 2009, the State of Grace tattoo studio and its internationally renowned artists have quickly become an integral part of our tight-knit community.

Last year, State of Grace founder, Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura, graciously accepted a request to help create an exclusive design for our Sake San Jose tshirts.This year, in keeping with the zodiac theme that he introduced in 2010, Horitaka has created an eye-catching, spunky design for the Year of the Rabbit. We are very excited to promote this design on our 2011 tshirt, which will be available to purchase soon.

Also for this year’s event, Horitaka has enlisted one of his artists, Kenji “Horiken” Hori, to contribute an original watercolor painting to Sake San Jose. Horiken is an artist skilled in hand tattooing with over 15 years experience, who immigrated to the United States to practice traditional hand tattooing here. A stunning watercolor painting was hand-delivered to Yu-Ai Kai and will be featured in this year’s event poster.

State of Grace was founded in 2002 by Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura as a shop specializing in traditional Japanese tattooing in the United States. In an effort to further share tattoo culture, State of Grace is involved in book publishing, as well as lecture presentations.

State of Grace │ 221 Jackson Street, SJ 95112 │ 408.441.0770   www.stateofgracetattoo.com

It’s just…a little Crush…

By Linda Ueda

Meet Lonnie Ferguson of ORANGE CRUSH STUDIOS

Browse Yelp’s comments about Lonnie at Orange Crush Studios and it will not take long to appreciate the 5-star reviews written enthusiastically by his growing and loyal clientele. Not only has Lonnie worked behind the chair as a successful stylist, he is also an educator for Paul Mitchell and Redken, and currently works as a hair and makeup artist for The San Francisco Opera/Ballet and Opera San Jose. His resume also includes time spent as an editorial stylist, runway stylist and theater stylist! Lonnie has trained with industry greats and continues to share his passion for hairdressing with hundreds of students throughout Northern California. We are thrilled that Lonnie will be opening the door of his studio to Sake San Jose 2010!

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Meet Lonnie Ferguson of ORANGE CRUSH STUDIOS

Rice and Beans: Free coffee after Sake San Jose event

By James Bailon

Fun times and sake won’t be the only things brewing in Japantown for this year’s event. Roy’s Station on 5th and Jackson has announced that they are offering a free cup of drip coffee to all participants of Sake San Jose. Simply stop by after the event until 9PM and show them your wristband, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee before hitting the road or continuing your night in Japantown. Many thanks to Roy’s Station for adding a perfect finish to a night of sake tasting.

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 27th will be serving customers until 9PM.

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New Businesses on the Sake San Jose Walk

By Linda Ueda

If you’re a return “sake sipper” to Sake San Jose, you will be introduced to new businesses during this year’s 2010 event.  Among those that we welcome this year are Aristocrats and Shaburi Shabu Shabu Restaurant

Aristocrats is a modern retail store for those that seek to carve out a unique identity.  Kaizen, continuous improvement, moves this fine retailer in the constant pursuit of refined perfection.  Visit www.artisocratsboutique.com to learn more. Better yet, visit their shop during Sake San Jose 2010!

Shaburi — Shabu Shabu Restaurant serves the finest ingredients, along with Kobe Style Beef, for a most delicious Shabu Shabu experience.  On this year’s route, Shaburi is a tasty new business to visit.  See www.shaburirestaurant.com for more information.

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