Page 1

Japanese Inspired Food and Lifestyle Magazine

Saké Discovering

Saké 101 Food-pairing suggestions Recipes for your saké party Sake-pairing event

Japan on the Big Screen Japanese movie reviews


Exclusive artist interview!

Travel: Hokkaido

May & June 2010 Vol. 05 Seattle / Bellevue / Portland


IBUKI magazine presents

Venue Issian Japanese Stonegrill 1618 N 45th St Seattle, WA 98103

Saké & Food Pairing Event



Saturday July 10th, 2-4pm $32 per person limited seating, by reservation only To register, visit or call 425-440-9939 Event Content Lectures • Saké 101: how to chose and enjoy saké • Saké with non-Japanese cuisine Food pairing • Sashimi • Vegetarian dish • Yakitori (skewed teriyaki chicken) • Setsuko’s desserts (rare cheese cake and daifuku)

Guest Speaker Brian Clark, saké specialist of Uwajimaya Inc. Brian Clark lived in Kobe, Japan, where he discovered the essence of saké. At Bellevue Uwajimaya, he educates customers and helps them select the right saké for any meal or occasion. Special guest Setsuko Agata, owner of Setsuko pastry

All attendees will receive

Uwajimaya 10% discount coupon and a saké-carrying bag

Your Quest for Saké begins here



Discovering Saké


Japan on the Big Screen

The Next Big Thing from Japan just might be saké. As more restaurants serve it and pair different brands with their cuisine, foodies are discovering the complexities and pleasures of saké. Movies reviews from Japan. Everything from ninja romances to slapstick comedies.


Recipes - for your saké party

16 19

Restaurant Directory Dine Out

Teriyaki chicken Manila clam steamed with saké Cucumber with miso dip Saké pound cake


Where can you wet your whistle with a little saké or shochu? We’ll show you the best spots in town to enjoy a kanpai with your friends.

LIFESTYLE 15 20 22

i fart rainbow Store & School Directory


Music: MIYAVI (exclusive interview!)


Local News and Events


Travel — Hokkaido Japan’s northernmost island is the perfect island for a road trip.. Car: Itasha Drink: Morimoto Soba Ale Place: Fuurrin-Oka


IBUKI Magazine Vol.05 May & June 2010 Publisher Misa Murohashi English Cartier Editor-in-Chief Bruce Rutledge Editor and Translator Yuko Enomoto Assistant Designer Maria Brown

Contributing Writers & Artists Enfu (Ken Taya) Steve Corless Julian Waters Jessica Sattell Special Thanks Chin Music Press

Published by Axia Media Group, Inc. Bellevue, WA 98005 Comments and general inquiries Advertising Info 3


Sake and more

Discovering Saké By Bruce Rutledge


very few decades since the early Meiji Era, Americans have embraced some aspect of Japanese culture. Around the turn of the century, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and others fell in love with Japan’s woodblock prints. After World War II, Zen dazzled the American intelligentsia ( Japan scholar Donald Keene relates that a children’s ABC book in the 50s ended with “Z is for zen”). In the 1990s, anime and manga grabbed the fascination of American youth because of its unique look and complex storylines. Today, in the 2010s, there are signs that the next big thing from Japan is saké, a complex brew that has begun to fascinate American gourmands. The rise in popularity of saké has been steady over the past decade or so, largely thanks to pioneers such as John Gauntner, a saké evangelist who has trained a new breed of saké sommeliers and connoisseurs, and Seattle’s own Johnnie and Taiko Stroud, who opened one of the country’s only saké shops and tasting bars in Pioneer Square, Saké Nomi, several years ago. A sign in the stylish Saké Nomi gives a hint of how far saké has come in the US. It says, “Saké

4 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

is not another name for rocket fuel.” Brian Clark of Uwajimaya’s Bellevue branch used the same phrase — “rocket fuel” — to describe what he thought of saké before he moved to Kobe and started drinking some of the good stuff. Now he gives advice to foodies and oenophiles looking to get into saké. “It’s the next big thing,” he says. In fact, he says he has to remind people not to vilify warm saké. “There’s literally a saké for everyone and every budget.” Today, some of the best saké in the world is finding its way onto American menus. Gourmands know the difference between a daiginjo and a junmai (see the opposite page for an explanation). Adventurous chefs and sommeliers are beginning to pair sakés with non-Japanese fare, including cheese, chocolate and grilled salmon. “Saké is, in truth, incredibly versatile,” Gauntner writes in an email from Japan. “Once you take out the obvious mismatches like excessively spicy, rich or heavy food, there is a plethora of great pairings possible with Western food.” The dedication taken to brew good saké is the stuff of lore. Kiyoaki Kojima of Orcas Distibuting Ltd. recalls visiting a 73-year-old

brewer in Japan who was sleeping next to his brew, waking every two hours to tend to it as it fermented. When Kojima asked him if he used an alarm clock, he replied, “When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you hear it calling you.” Gauntner points out how complex the brewing process is: “Wine-making is chemically a simple fermentation, as there is sugar in the grape juice that the yeast converts to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Saké is brewed like a beer, which means the starch must first be converted to sugar. In saké brewing, that is done using koji mold (aspergillus oryzae) and saké is the only beverage in the world where starch-to-sugar and sugar-to-alcohol take place at the same time in the same tank.This makes it massively complex and a balancing act.” Toshi Kojima, Kiyoaki’s brother, says his company sees great promise for saké in Seattle.”The sales volume is not as big as New York or California, but at the same time the Seattle market is very international and very curious ... There’s a culture of trying something new, making something better, being more open-minded and experimental.”

Sake 101 How Saké is Made John Gauntner writes on his website,, that “five crucial elements are involved in brewing saké — water, rice, technical skill, yeast and land/weather. More than anything else, saké is a result of a brewing process that uses rice and lots of water. In fact, water comprises as much as 80% of the final product, so fine water and fine rice are natural prerequisites if one hopes to brew great saké. But beyond that, the technical skill needed to pull this all off lies with the toji (head brewers), the type of yeast they use and the limitations entailed by local land and weather conditions.”

The Main Grades of Premium Saké The various grades or classifications of saké are related to the ricepolishing ratio, or seimaibuai (pronounced “say-my-boo-eye”). Saké is graded according to how much the rice used in brewing has been milled or polished. Brewers mill saké rice to remove fats and proteins from the outer portion of the grain. These fats and proteins cause “off ” flavors and inhibit fermentation. The seimaibuai is expressed as the percentage of the original rice grain remaining after milling has been completed. Premium saké uses rice that has been milled to 70% or less of its original size. In general, the more the rice is polished, the lighter and more refined the saké’s flavor profile is. (Quoted from “Your Guide to Premium Saké” by Johnnie Stroud from Saké Nomi in Ibuki’s first issue.)

How to Store It To prevent spoilage, it is best to keep saké refrigerated in a cool or dark room. Th refrigerator is the best place to store saké at home. Once a bottle is opened, it is best consumed in a few hours to enjoy the flavor. If finishing a bottle in one sitting is too much, try to consume it in about a week at most.

Sake tempreture There are many terms to explain the temperature of the saké being served. In summer, chilled saké, called reishu, may be preferred. Many saké experts think hitohada (body temperature) is the best way to enjoy the fine flavor of premium saké. On a cold winter day, try drinking gently warmed saké, or nurukan. To warm saké, pour it in a flask, or tokkuri, and sit it in hot water. Whatever you do, don’t overheat!


Rice Milled

Some added Alcohol

No added Alcohol

50% or less


Junmai Diginjyo

60% or less


Junmai Ginjyo

70% or less



The term junmai denotes that no “brewer’s alcohol” has been added during the brewing process. As much as 88% of all saké produced contains distilled brewer’s alcohol, and saké containing brewer’s alcohol is still considered “premium” grade if its rice has been milled to the levels outlined above.

Where to Buy It The Uwajimaya supermarket chain in Washington and Oregon offers extensive saké selections at each of its stores. If you’re in Bellevue, ask for Brian Clark, the saké guide, who can figure out which saké will match your taste or your menu. Clark has been stocking more small bottles (300ml) in the Bellevue store because, he says, “saké-tasting parties are an up-andcoming thing.” He’ll help you set up a tasting party to go with everything from sushi to ham sandwiches. In Seattle, just a short ride from the Uwajimaya store in the International District is the ultimate saké stop, Johnnie and Taiko Stroud’s Saké Nomi, one of the few saké shops and tasting bars in the country, let alone the Pacific Northwest. Here you can sample saké before you buy and get advice from the Strouds. Taiko comes from a saké-brewing family in Japan and Johnnie is one of the most knowledgeable saké aficionados in the country. 5

Saké & Sushi Saké naturally goes with sushi, but what type of saké? Just like with wine, there are an overwhelming array of choices for the newcomer to choose from. Here’s a simple guide to some common brands that go well with sushi and other similar fare. Most of the saké on this page have a light, crisp taste. Brian Clark of the Bellevue Uwajimaya says he often starts newcomers with sakés of this sort. However, he adds, if you’re a scotch drinker who wants to try saké, turn to the next page.

Yoizuru - Dancing Crane

Tsukinowa - Moon Ring

Delivers a solid, fullbodied flavor with distinct moromi (fermenting mash) aroma; mild dryness with a hint of spicy sweetness in the background. Pairs well with the variety of flavors present in sushi.

Made with the delicate touch of a woman toji, or saké master, which is very rare, this tokubetsu junmai is made from rice milled down to the ginjo grade. This saké has a body meant to be paired with food. The initial sweetness from the rice mash spreads across your palate and elegantly rests there to complement the perfect bite of sushi. It is very smooth and refreshing.

Brewery: Ishioka Type: Junmai

Brewery: Tsukinowa Type: Junmai

Karatanba - Dry Wave Brewery: Ozeki Type: Honjozo

HORIN - Phoenix and Pegasus Brewery: Gekkeikan Type: Junmai Daiginjo

Horin is a top-grade saké made by one of Japan’s leading breweries, Gekkeikan. Horin has won the prestigious grand gold medal in the spirits and liqueurs division of the Monde Selection from 2006 to 2011 (held in 2010) in Belgium. The name “horin” refers to the phoenix (ho) and Pegasus (rin) of Asian mythology. Gekkeikan uses this name for its top-ranked saké — the name has been used since the Meiji Era (18681912) for the highest-grade saké sent from Kyoto (Gekkeikan’s home base) to Tokyo. Using select rice polished to 50% of its original size, this ultrapremium junmai daiginjo saké is slowly fermented at low temperatures to give it a refreshing fruitlike aroma and mild flavor. It makes a good starter saké for those who’ve never tried the drink. It often surprises tasters who expect saké to be very dry. Light and crisp and ideal for sushi or picnics. 6 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

This dry saké is produced in the Tamba region, surrounded by mountains and clean mountain air. The brewer uses rice grown in this area. Tamba is well known for some of Japan’s best saké brewers, who take to saké brewing in the winter. The unique-looking bottles used by these brewers are designed in the Tachikui-yaki style of pottery the region is known for A light, dry and crisp saké, Karatanba is robust while still being easy to drink. A nice sake to pair with sushi for those who like drier libations.

Yumeakari -Dream and Light Brewery: Asabiraki Type: Junmai Ginjyo The name means “dream” and “light,” which is a nice way to describe this smooth saké. Brewed by an award-winning brewery in Iwate Prefecture, which uses a local high-grade rice called hitomebore. Floral and hinting of melon and citrus, it complements many of the flavors in sushi. This saké has received Monde Selection’s gold medal for six straight years.

Kanpai with a


Sushi regulars will be familiar with Japanese beer brands such as Sapporo, Asahi and Kirin. The lighter, smooth brews go well with sushi. Some who prefer a simple, clean flavor to their beer like Japanese beers with all sorts of cuisine because they don’t overpower the food. Japanese beer is brewed with the idea that the drink will be paired with food. Watch a beer commercial in Japan, and there’s always food present. Not so in American beer commercials.


# 1 Japanese Beer in the USA Making Friends since 1876


Saké & Teriyaki Perhaps because of its color, saké is often paired with foods that also go with white wine. But many sakés are perfect to pair with grilled meats, teriyaki dishes and even patés. These are the sakés that appeal to fans of scoth and IPA microbrews. They tend to have more bite and are able to stand up to stronger tasting food. Here are a few recommendations to get you started.

Hyorei - Ice and Cold Brewery: Ozeki Type: Junmai This rich and smooth saké from Hyogo Prefecture has a spicy aroma and bold flavor that stands up to teriyaki dishes, enhancing the meal. The saké, brewed by leading saké maker Ozeki, uses pure rice, meaning no water is added prior to bottling. The alcohol content is a bit higher than most, and the saké is rich and flavorful.

Suijin - God of Water Brewery: Asabiraki Type: Junmai A hint of sweetness followed by a rich, complex aftertaste. This saké has depth and reminds one of a freshly steamed bowl of rice. It pairs nicely with grilled meats and teriyaki dishes. Suijin has proven popular with saké connoisseurs in New York (70% of Manhattan businesspeople eat sushi at least once a week, according to one survey). The allure of this saké may come from the fact that the rice is polished as much as 70%, producing a drink with a richer rice flavor that pairs well with food. Try it with grilled local salmon, rockfish or cod.

8 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

Toryu - Rising Dragon Brewery: Hakuyou Type: Junmai Toryu means “rising dragon.” This saké gives off an immediate scent of wild and flourishing sweet mash with a hint of dryness. Soft and mild initial taste is followed by a flare of spicy sweetness taking over the palate. This saké has a bit higher alcohol content than most. The full-bodied richness pairs well with teriyaki and other meat dishes.

Rokumaru Junmai - Six Circles

Brewery: Nakagawa Type: Junmai This junmai saké uses a unique strain of saké rice, gouriki (enormous strength), grown in Tottori Prefecture and only used by two local breweries. True to the name of the rice used and the influence of the harsh weather off the Japan Sea, this saké gives off an immediate aroma of earthiness. The twistiness of the flavor settles nicely in your mouth, leaving a long lingering aftertaste. A perfect pairing for a flavorful dish like teriyaki.

a b r i d g e f ro m we st to e a st

Wine For Sushi The first California wines blended specifically to compliment sushi and bold Asian flavors. Ask for it at your favorite sushi restaurant or Asian market. Distributed in Washington by Distributed in Oregon by Hashi Wines

Learn more about Hashi at or call Greg at 503.756.8988 or email

The 3 Elements of Ozeki Sake. The Essence of Great Taste. WATER

from the Sierra Nevada, harmonious balance of essential mineral and mellow taste


selected short grain rice, nurtured and grown exclusively for Ozeki in the rice Sacramento Valley


Wines Made for

centuries of sake brewing, a lifelong commitment to 1excellence and the harmony of tradition and technology

Japanese Cuisine

Sitting in a Japanese restaurant one day, two friends started a conversation about whether a wine could be made to pair with the distinct flavors and highlights of Japanese cuisine. That discussion led to the creation of Hashi Wines, a line of reds and whites made to go with sushi, sashimi, yakitori and other Japanese dishes. Hashi Wines President Greg Kuhns explains that the company allied itself with California wine producers to come up with a crisp white wine just right for the ocean flavors of sushi and a supple red that could complement a tonkatsu dinner or some skewers of grilled meat. The wines are being served in Japanese restaurants across the country. Just as saké is finding new pairings with grilled salmon and oysters, Hashi Wines is proving that Japanese cuisine pairs perfectly with a white or a red wine as long as the vineyard has the distinct flavors and balance of that cuisine in mind. 9

Saké Pairings Break out of the Box


Northwest Cuisine

How about a saké to go with gorgonzola? Try Housui Yamahai Tokubetsu Junmai from Tokushima Prefecture. Its full rich flavor starts with a taste of the sour mash and ends with a hint of sweetness, making it perfect to pair with cheeses. Or Kura Daiginjo from Nagano Prefecture, which has a smokiness to it that complements cheese and peppered deli meats.

More restaurants in the Pacific Northwest are pairing saké with local cuisine. At Canliss, which looks out toward the Cascades from its perch on Queen Anne hill in Seattle, the wine list is as big as a phonebook, but it includes several premium sakés. “The Canliss family believes its list should include every sort of ‘wine,’” says an employee. Another local delicacy that goes well with saké is oysters. The popular Japanese manga Oishinbo wrote that the sake Horin paired better with oysters than a nice Chablis (see page 4 for more on Horin).

Aperitifs and Digestives Saketinis have made their way onto many a bar menu because of their complex flavors and lower alcoholic and caloric content than their gin and vermouth counterparts. Mix an ounce of lime, an ounce or two of coconut syrup, a dash of milk or half-and-half , two ounces of saké, shake it up, and you have yourself one of many varieties of saketini. Another good way to enjoy saké is to try the cloudy nigori saké, which tends to be sweet and have a fruity nose and mild flavor. It is great as a digestive or dessert wine and can complement spicy food. Nigori saké is unfiltered, which gives it its cloudiness. Finally, try a sparkling saké like ZIPANG and Hana-awaka, smooth-drinking naturally carbonated sakés that make an exotic substitute for champagne.

10 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010


Made in America SakeOne, an American saké brewery in Forest Grove, Oregon, set up in the Pacific Northwest for one main reason: the water. The only American-owned and operated saké brewery needed the finest water source it could find, and Forest Grove had it. The brewery has ridden the wave of enthusiasm in the US for high-grade saké while also fighting the naysayers who argue that good saké can’t be brewed here. “We are like the early people who planted pinot noir in the Willamette Valley,” says Dewey Weddington of SakeOne. Just like the pinot pioneers, he explains, SakeOne is often left out of the conversation because the conversation about saké centers on Japanese brands. But as chefs and restaurateurs begin to experiment with saké and Northwest cuisine, Weddington sees opportunity ahead for American-made saké. SakeOne has a strong working relationship with Momokawa Brewing of Aomori Prefecture, Japan, assuring that the only American-owned and made saké brewery is steeped in the centuries-old brewing traditions of Japan.

Dessert Saké and dessert? That’s right. The combination can work quite well, say some adventurous pastry chefs and saké enthusiasts. “Surprisingly, cheesecake goes really good with most saké,” says Seattle area Patisserie Chef Sestuko Agata. “Chocolate cake goes as good with sake as most libations too.” In collaboration with Setsuko and Orcas Distributing, IBUKI will introduce two fantastic saké and dessert pairings at our food pairing event on July 10th at Issian. Come try the novel and delicious pairings with us!

Mochikko is a good saké to pair with desserts — it is made with 100% mochi rice, something that only five breweries in Japan have attempted because it is such hard work. The saké has a subtle sweetness that matches well with Setsuko’s daifuku, a small round ball of mochi stuffed with sweet bean paste. Another saké that can pair with a dessert is Yoinotsuki Daiginjo from Tsukinowa brewery. It is smooth and rich with a hint of sweet melon — just the sort of elegant saké that pairs well with Setsuko’s delicate cheesecake.

IBUKI magazine presents

Saké & Food Pairing Event Saturday July 10th, 2-4pm at Issian, Wallingford

$32 per person limited seating, by reservation only To register, visit or call 425-440-9939

Come and taste the saké featured in this article 11

Quick and easy dishes for your saké party

Teriyaki Chicken Here is a simple, traditional recipe for teriyaki chicken. You do not need to marinate chicken or use teriyaki sauce. Enjoy the sweet and rich teriyaki flavor at home.

Ingredients (4 servings) Chicken thigh ...........................................................1.5 lb Saké............................................................................ 3 tbs Soy sauce..................................................................... 3 tbs Rice vinegar................................................................. 3 tbs Sugar........................................................................... 3 tbs

Directions 1. Cut chicken thigh into bite-size pieces. In a small bowl, add saké, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar, and mix well. 2. Heat saucepan, place chicken in pan and cook both sides until golden grown. 3. Wipe off excess oil with a paper towel. 4. Add sugar, rice vinegar, saké and soy sauce. Cook until liquid is mostly gone. 5. Remove chicken from saucepan and place on plate. 6. Cook the sauce in the saucepan for a few more minutes until it thickens. Coat chicken with sauce.

Cucumber with Miso Dip Cucumber with miso dip is typical izakaya bar food in Japan. It is a healthy snack that goes well with saké.

Ingredients (4 servings) Cucumbers (sliced)............................................................1 Saké............................................................................ 1 tbs Miso............................................................................ 3 tbs Rice vinegar................................................................. 1 tbs Sugar........................................................................... 1 tbs

Directions 1. In a small bowl, mix saké, miso, rice vinegar and sugar to make miso dip. 2. Serve sliced cucumber with miso dip.

12 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010


Manila Clams Steamed with Saké This quick recipe makes a fantastic appetizer that goes great with chilled saké. Make sure you don't overcook it so that you can enjoy the soft and flavorful Pacific Northwest clams. Scooping and sipping the saké sauce with the clam shell is a secret joy of this dish.

Ingredients (2 servings) Manila clams .............................................................1.5 lb Green onion........................................................... 1 bunch Garlic (minced).................................................................1 Saké............................................................................ 3 tbs Soy sauce..................................................................... 1 tsp Oil........................................................................... 1/4 tbs

Directions 1. In midsize pan, heat 1/4 tablespoon oil and add minced garlic. Add Manila clams and saké. 2. Close lid and steam until all clams are opened. 3. Add soy sauce just before serving. Top with green onion.

Check out more recipes online

Saké for cooking? As you can imagine, you do not have to use expensive premium saké for cooking. If you tour Uwajimaya, you will find several types of table sak´ priced a very reasonable $10 or so for a large size. They are good for cooking as well as drinking. Saké is used often when cooking Japanese dishes. Now grab your favorite table saké and get started cooking Japanese food!

Finest Green Tea (425) 260-7899 13

Special Recipe by Setsko Pastry

Saké Pound Cake Local Japanese pâtissier Setsuko created this unique recipe for IBUKI magazine’s special saké issue. Setsuko specializes in custommade cakes using her own recipes with a Japanese twist. Creating desserts using saké is one of her recent ventures. Enjoy this moist pound cake with rich saké fragrance and flavor.

Ingredients (Makes two 6x3 inch loaves) Egg .................................................. 2 (room temperature) All-purpose flour........................................................ 1 cup Sugar . ....................................................................1/2 cup Baking powder............................................................ 1 tsp Saké..................................................................1 tbs +1 tsp Unsalted butter......................................... 1/2 cup (1 stick) (For syrup) Sugar........................................................................... 2 tbs Water.......................................................................... 3 tbs Saké........................................................................1/2 cup

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sit eggs aside so they warm to room temperature. Melt butter. Sift the baking soda and flour together. 2. In a bowl, beat eggs and add sugar. Mix them with electronic mixer for about 10 minutes. Professional's Tip !

Setsuko Pastry Setsuko’s creations are all made from scratch with a low sugar content, no artificial flavors and no preservatives. Setsuko specializes in custom orders and creates recipes for vegan, low sugar, flour-free, egg-less and other special diets. Her cakes are also available at Issian Stone Grill (1618 North 45th St, Seattle), Kozue Japanese Restaurant (1608 N45th St, Seattle), Root Table Restaurant (2213 NW Market St, Seattle) , Shun Restaurant (5105 25th Avenue NE, #11, Seattle) and Panama Tea House (607 S Main Street, Seattle). Check out her monthly special cakes on her blog. Setsuko Pastry (206) 816- 0348 /

While mixing beaten eggs and sugar, warm them to body temperature by using double boiler. That way, eggs become frothier and make the cake soft and fluffy. 3. Add saké to the bowl and mix for a minute. 4. Gradually add the dry ingredients (shifted flour and baking powder) and mix until blended. 5. Add melted butter and gently mix together. 6. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 7. Remove the pan from the oven. Professional's Tip!

Drop the cake out of the pan into a plate from about 5 inches high. This will prevent cake from shrinking unevenly.

Green tea rolls

14 息吹 ibuki • May / June 2010

Strawberry mousse

8. In a small pan, add sugar and water and heat until sugar is melted. Remove the pan from heat and add saké. Stir into syrup. Brush the cake with the sake syrup. 15

Restaurant Directory SEATTLE Greater Seattle Mashiko Japanese Restaurant (206) 935-4339 4725 California Ave SW, Seattle Check out You’ll like it.


(206) 448-2488 2319 2nd Ave, Seattle

Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant (206) 443-9844 2401 2nd Ave, Seattle

Boom Noodle, Capitol Hill (206) 701-9130 1121 E Pike St, Seattle

Maekawa Bar

(206) 622-0634 601 S King St # 206,Seattle

Fort St. George

(206) 382-0662 601 S King St # 202, Seattle Aoki Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar (206) 324-3633 621 Broadway E, Seattle Blue C Sushi - University Village (206) 525-4601 4601 26th Ave NE, Seattle

Blue C Sushi - Fremont (206) 633-3411 3411 Fremont Ave N, Seattle Blue C Sushi - 7th avenue (206) 467-4022 1510 7th Ave, Seattle Bush Garden Restaurant (206)682-6830 614 Maynard Avenue S., Seattle Cutting Board (206) 767-8075 5503 Airport Way S, Seattle Fuji Sushi (206) 624-1201 520 S Main St, Seattle Genki Sushi (206) 453-3881 500 Mercer St. Unit C-2, 2B, Seattle Hana Restaurant (206) 328-1187 219 Broadway E, Seattle Hiroshi’s Restaurant (206) 726-4966 2501 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle Ichiban Restaurant 206-623-8868 601 S Main St, Seattle I Love Sushi - Lake Union 206-625-9604 1001 Fairview Ave N, Seattle Imo Asian Bistro (206) 264-9570 704 1st Ave, Seattle Issian (206) 632-7010 1618 N 45th St, Seattle J Sushi (206) 287-9000 674 S Weller St, Seattle Kaname Izakaya Shochu Bar (206) 682-1828 610 S Jackson St, Seattle

Kisaku (206) 545-9050 2101 N. 55th St. #100, Seattle Kozue Japanese Restaurant (206) 547-2008 1608 N 45th St, Seattle Maneki (206) 622-2631 304 6th Ave S, Seattle Marinepolis Sushi Land -Queen Anne Hill (206) 267-7621 803 5th Ave N, Seattle Moshi Moshi Sushi (206) 971-7424 5324 Ballard Avenue, Seattle Nishino (206) 322-5800 3130 E Madison St # 106, Seattle Nijo (206) 340-8880 89 Spring St, Seattle Ototo Sushi (206) 691-3838 7 Boston St, Seattle Red Fin Sushi Restaurant (206) 441-4340 612 Stewart St, Seattle Samurai Noodle -International District (206) 624-9321 606 5th Ave St, Seattle Samurai Noodle - University District (206) 547-1774 4138 University Way NE, Seattle Shiki Japanese Restaurant (206) 281-1352 4W Roy St, Seattle Shun Japanese Cuisine (206) 522-2200 5101 NE 25th Ave #11, Seattle Tsukushinbo (206) 467-4004 515 S Main St, Seattle 1618 N. 45th street, Seattle Wallingford (206) 632-7010

Dinner Mon-Thu 4:30-10:00pm Fri & Sat 4:30-11:30pm Sun 4:30-9:00pm

16 息吹 ibuki • May / June 2010

Lunch Sat & Sun 12-2:30pm Happy Hour Everyday 4:30-6:30pm


Toyoda Sushi (206) 367-7972 12543 Lake City Way, Seattle Wabi-Sabi Sushi Bar & Restaurant (206) 721-0212 4909 Rainier Ave S, Seattle Wasabi Bistro (206) 441-6044 2311 2nd Ave, Seattle Wann Japanese Izakaya (206) 441-5637 2020 2nd Ave, Seattle

North End Cafe Soleil (425) 493-1847 9999 Harbour Place # 105, Mukilteo Bluefin Sushi & Seafood Buffet (206) 367-0115 401 NE Northgate Way # 463, Seattle Blue C Sushi - the Village at Alderwood Mall (425) 329-3596 3000 184th St SW, Lynnwood Cherry Blossom Sushi Bar & Grill (425) 315-8022 10809 Mukilteo Speedway, Mukilteo Edina Sushi (425) 776-8068 19720 44th Ave W, Lynnwood Marinepolis Sushi Land -Lynnwood (425) 275-9022 18500 33rd Ave NW, Lynnwood Matsu Sushi (425) 771-3368 19505 44th Ave W #K, Lynnwood Sakuma Japanese Restaurant (425) 347-3063 10924 Mukilteo Speedway # G, Mukilteo Setsuna Japanese Restaurant and Bar (206) 417-3175 11204 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle

Taka Sushi (425) 778-1689 18904 Hwy 99 Suite A, Lynnwood Warabi Japanese Restaurant & Bar (206) 361-2620 13754 Aurora Ave N, Seattle

South End Miyabi Restaurant

(206) 575-6815 16820 Southcenter Parkway, Tukwila Blue C Sushi - Westfield Southcenter (206) 277-8744 468 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila Blossom Asian Bistro (425) 430-1610 305 Burnett Avenue South, Renton Genki Sushi -Renton (425) 277-1050 365 S. Grady Way Ste. B & C, Renton Marinepolis Sushi Land -Southcenter Mall (206) 816-3280 100 Andover Park West 160, Tukwila New Zen Japanese Restaurant (425) 254-1599 10720 SE Carr Rd, Renton Bistro Satsuma (253) 858-5151 5315 Point Fosdick Dr NW #A, Gig Harbor

Eastside Blue C Sushi, Bellevue Square (425) 454-8288 503 Bellevue Square, Bellevue Blue Ginger Korean Grill & Sushi (425) 746-1222 14045 NE 20th St, Bellevue

Dozo Cafe

(425) 644-8899 3720 Factoria Blvd SE Try authentic Ramen. No MSG.

Sushi Joa

(206) 230-4120 2717 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island www.

Boom Noodle, Bellevue Square (425) 453-6094 504 Bellevue Square, Bellevue

Flo Japanese Sushi Restaurant (425) 453-4005 1188 106th Ave NE, Bellevue Ginza Japanese Restaurant (425) 709-7072 103 102nd Ave SE, Bellevue I Love Sushi -One Lake Bellevue (425) 455-9090 23 Lake Bellevue Dr, Bellevue I Love Sushi -Bellevue Main (425) 454-5706 11818 NE 8th St, Bellevue Izakaya Sushi - at The Landing (425) 228-2800 829 N 10th St. Suite G, Renton Izumi Japanese Restaurant with Sushi-Bar (425) 821-1959 12539 116th Ave N.E., Kirkland Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu & Tao Sushi Bar (425) 451-3888 850 110th Ave NE, Bellevue Kikuya Restaurant (425) 881-8771 8105 161st Ave NE, Redmond 17

Restaurant Directory Kiku Sushi (425) 644-2358 15555 NE 24th St, Bellevue Rikki Rikki Authentic Japanese Restaurant (425) 828-0707 442 Parkplace Center, Kirkland Marinepolis Sushi Land -Bellevue (425) 455-2793 138 107th Ave. NE, Bellevue Marinepolis Sushi Land -Redmond (425) 284-2587 8910 161st Ave NE, Redmond Sushi Maru (425) 453-0100 205 105th Ave, Bellevue Sushi Me (425) 644-9800 1299 156th Ave NE #145, Bellevue Momoya Restaurant (425) 889-9020 12100 NE 85th St, Kirkland Tokyo Japanese Restaurent (425) 641-5691 3500 Factoria Blvd SE, Bellevue Zen Asian Bistro, Japanese & Thai (425) 453-2999 989 112th Ave NE #105, Bellevue 2AM (425) 643-1888 14603 NE 20th St #4, Bellevue

PORTLAND Portland Bamboo Sushi (503) 232-5255 310 SE 28th Ave, Portland Biwa Restaurant (503) 239-8830 215 SE 9th Avenue, Portland

18 息吹 ibuki • May / June 2010

Blue Fin Sushi (503) 274-7922 1988 SW Broadway, Portland Bush Garden (503) 226-7181 900 SW Morrison St, Portland Crescendo noodle house & bar (503) 226-7181 16055 SW Regatta Lane, Beaverton Hiroshi Restaurant (503) 619-0559 926 NW 10th Ave, Portland Koji Osakaya -Downtown Portland (503) 294-1169 606 SW Broadway, Portland Koji Osakaya - Lloyd Place (503) 280-0992 1502 NE Weidler, Portland Marinepolis Sushi Land -Lloyd (503) 280-0300 1409 NE Weidler St, Portland Marinepolis Sushi Land -Pearl (503) 546-9933 138 NW 10th Ave, Portland Mika Sushi (503) 222-0699 1425 SW 2nd Avenue, Portland Saburo’s Sushi House Restaurant (503) 236-4237 1667 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland Yuki Sushi & Sake Bar (503) 525-8807 930 NW 23rd Ave, Portland

Beaverton / Hillsboro Hakatamon (503) 641-4613 10500 SW Bvtn-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton Hanabi’s Izakaya Bistro & Bar (503) 646-1986 10053 SW Nimbus Ave, Beaverton

Ikenohana (503) 646-1267 14308 SW Allen Blvd, Beaverton Izakaya Kaiten Sushi (503) 643-2578 14605 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton I love Sushi (503) 644-5252 3486 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton Koji Osakaya -Hillsboro (503) 629-1815 2215 NW Allie Ave, Hillsboro Marinepolis Sushi Land -Beaverton (503) 520-0257 4021 SW 117th Ave, Beaverton Syun Izakaya (503) 640-3131 209 NE Lincoln St, Hillsboro Sambi Japanese Restaurant (503) 296-0045 9230 SW Bvtn-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton Sushi & Maki (503) 648-4366 2401 NE Cornell Rd No. X, Hillsboro Yuzu Japanese Restaurant (503) 350-1801 4130 SW 117th Avenue #H, Beaverton Yuki Sushi & Sake Bar (503) 430-5275 1335 NE Orenco Station Pkwy, Hillsboro

Vancouver WA Marinepolis Sushi Land -Vancouver (360) 883-3881 1401 SE 164th Ave, Vancouver


Restaurant Roundup: Where to Find Sake, Shochu By Bruce Rutledge Japanese libations are following Japanese cuisine into the mainstream of American food culture. More restaurants are stocking impressive collections of sake and offering advice to curious customers. Here’s a quick guide to some fine greater Seattle establishments with some impressive sake and shochu lists. Umi Saké House (2230 1st Ave. Seattle) has one of the most impressive saké collections of any restaurant in the US. Proprietor Cody Burns says the restaurant stocks 60 to 65 types of saké at any time. He created a detailed saké menu for guests and is eager to offer advice on pairings with sushi or other dishes. Burns says the goal of Umi Saké House is to get people to at least try the drink. If you want to sample several over a meal, head here. Just around the corner from Umi Saké House is Kushibar (2319 2nd Ave.), a restaurant dedicated to Japanese street food on skewers. In keeping with that theme, Kushibar stocks an extensive collection of shochu, a distilled beverage similar to vodka although with fewer calories and a lower alcohol content. Kushibar typically carries 10 kinds of shochu, including some made from sweet potato, barley and rice. The drink, which is about 50 proof, is often served mixed with juice or soda like a cocktail (called a chuhai) or with a dash of hot water. It is meant to be paired with food. In West Seattle, Mashiko (4725 California Ave. SW) serves 35 different brands of saké to go with its extensive menu of sustainable sushi (the restaurant doesn’t serve anything that is being overfished or is in danger of extinc-

tion). Chef Hajime Sato and his staff are happy to offer suggestions for sake to pair with the more unusual, creative dishes they serve. Miyabi (16820 Southcenter Pkwy., Tukwila) makes a point of having hard-to-find saké to match each season. Chef Masa was born in Tokushima Prefecture, so the restaurant has a soft spot for Tokushima saké such as Housui, a saké Edo Era warlords drank as they sat along the river and wrote haiku. Another find is Tsukuba tokubetsu junmai from Ibaraki Prefecture. This saké gives off a flowery, candylike aroma accompanied by a sweet mash dryness. Miyabi also has an extensive selection of shochu made from potato, rice, barley and soba buckwheat. In the heart of the International District, Maekawa Bar (601 S. King St.) serves up about 10 kinds of sake and 11 types of shochu. Rub elbows with the many young Japanese who frequent Maekawa. Their drink of choice? Chuhai cocktails mixing shochu with everything from fruit-flavored sodas to oolong tea. Shiro Kashiba, the grandaddy of Seattle sushi (he opened the city’s first sushi bar in 1966), says the sake he’s been recommending to diners this spring is Hatsumago, or “First Grandchild.” It goes with the flavorful spring delicacies of the Pacific Northwest such as ocean smelt, halibut and sweet shrimp. For those who want to try sake but are on a budget, try Sushi Joa (2717 78th Ave. SE, Mercer Island) when they feature half-price sake days on Monday and Tuesday. In Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, Issian

Umi Saké House’s wall of saké labels. (1618 N. 45th St.) offers inexpensive deals at happy hour, such as half-price bottle sake. The stone grill has a list of about 10 types of sake to sample. Nishino (3130 E. Madison St, Seattle) offers sake and food pairing events every month. Sake Specialist Yuichi Saito presents a sake and the chef Tatsu Nishino cooks a full-course dinner to go with it. The event is up to 8 guests at $100 each. The next events are on May 26 and June 21. Both events run from 6:30 to 8:30. Now more than ever, the Pacific Northwest is a great place to learn about and taste a wide range of sake. If you find a favorite restaurant with an interesting collection of sake or shochu, be sure to let us know about it so we can spread the word.

Come Experience Japanese street food


2319 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 | (202) 448-2488 | Hours: Weekdays 11:30 am – 1am, Weekends 4 pm – 1am 19

Business Directory Art & Furniture Kobo

Kobo at Higo (206) 381-3000 604 S Jackson St, Seattle Kobo Capitol Hill (206) 726-0704 814 E Roy, Seattle Shop & gallery featuring art, craft and design from Japan and the Northwest

Ming’s Asian Gallery

Seattle (206) 748-7889 519 6th Ave S, Seattle Bellevue (425) 462-4008 10217 Main St, Bellevue Fine antique and contemporary Asian furniture Azuma Gallery (206) 622-5599 530 1st Ave S, Seattle

Takumi Company (206) 622-2804 Carolyn Staley Fine Prints (206) 621-1888 2003 Western Ave #107, Seattle Chidori Asian Antiques (206) 343-7736 108 So.Jackson St, Seattle Glenn Richards - Asian Furnishings & Antiques (206) 287-1877 964 Denny Way, Seattle Kagedo (206) 467-9077 520 1st Ave S, Seattle The Cullom Gallery (206) 919-8278 313 Occidental Ave S, Seattle Shogun’s Gallery (503) 224-0328 1111 NW 23rd Ave, Portland

Kinokuniya Book Store - Beaverton (503) 641-6240 10500 SW Bvtn-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton Pink Gorilla - International District (206) 264-2434 601 S King St, Seattle Pink Gorilla - University District (206) 547-5790 4341 University Ave NE, Seattle Tokyo Lifestyle (206) 241-0219 633 Westfield, Southcenter Mall, Tukwila

Bakery and Cafe

Anzen Hiroshi’s (503) 233-5111 736 NE MLK Blvd, Portland Daiso Alderwood Mall (425) 673-1825 3000 184th St SW, # 398, Lynnwood Daiso West Lake Center (206) 625-0076 400 Pine St. #1005, Seattle Daiso International District 76 S Washington St, Seattle

Setsuko Pastry

(206) 816 0348 1618 N 45th St, Seattle A Healthy Alternative pastry with a Japanese spin Fuji Bakery (425) 641-4050 1502 145the PL SE, Bellevue Fumie’s Gold (425) 223-5893 10045 Northeast 1st Street, Bellevue Hiroki Desserts (206) 547-4128 2224 N 56th St, Seattle Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House (206) 515-4000 607 S Main St, Seattle Unicorn Crepes (206) 652-0637 421 6th Avenue South, Seattle

Books, Games & Anime Anime Asylum (503) 284-6626 1009 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR Anime Raku (425) 454-0112 10627 NE 8th St, Bellevue Kinokuniya Book Store - Seattle (206) 587-2477 525 S Weller St, Seattle 20 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

Fashion Momo (206) 329-4736 600 S Jackson St, Seattle Totokaelo (206) 623.3582 913 Western Ave, Seattle

General Store

Health and Beauty Hen Sen Herbs (206) 328-2828 13256 NE 20th St. Suite 3A, Bellevue Acupuncture Associates -Eastgate (425) 289-0188 15100 SE 38th St #305B, Bellevue Acupuncture Associates -Redmond (425) 882-0112 16761 NE 79th, Redmond Central Chiropractic Clinic (206) 362-3520 15027 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline WellnessOne of Eastgate (425) 289-0092 15100 SE 38th St., Ste. 305B, Bellevue

Japanese Confectionery Blue Camellia (425) 889-2735 Tokara Confectionery (206) 784-0226

Sake Saké Nomi (206) 467-7253 76 S Washington St, Seattle

Schools Music School of Taiko (425) 785-8316 Cooking Blue Camellia - a Japanese Confectionery (425) 889-2735 11229 NE 106th Pl, Kirkland, WA Hiroko Sugiyama Culinary Atelier (425) 836-4635 22207 NE 31st St, Sammamish NuCulinary (206) 932-3855 6523 California Ave SW, Seattle Satsuma Cooking School (206) 244-5151 17105 Ambaum Blvd S, Seattle Japanese Calligraphy Akashi USA Co - Redmond (425) 869-0994 6611 147th Ct NE, Redmond

Japanese Floral Design Ikebana by Megumi (425) 744-9751 Ikenobo Lake Washington Chapter (425) 803-3268 11832 NE 73rd St, Kirkland The Little Flower Station (425) 770-5888 Yushoryu Ikenobo (206) 723-4994 5548 Beason Ave. S.,Seattle Language Seattle Japanese Language School (206) 323-0250 1414 S Weller St, Seattle Washington Academy of Languages (206) 682-4463 2 Nickerson St, # 201, Seattle Martial Arts Aikido Eastside (425) 802-3125 13410 SE 32nd St, Bellevue Seattle Kendo Kai (206) 721-1416 1610 S King St, Seattle

Seattle Judo Dojo (206) 324-7080 1510 S Washington St, Seattle Seattle School of Aikido (206) 525-1955 3422 NE 55th St, Seattle Koei-Kan Karate-Do Bellevue (425) 747-9411 1910 132nd Ave NE, #11, Bellevue Obukan Kendo Club (503) 443-2281 4130 SW 117th Ave. Suite 246, Beaverton Portland Aikikai (503) 274-2606 1623 NW Marshall, Portland Tea Ceremony Urasenke Foundation Seattle Branch (206) 324-1483 2360 43rd Ave East, #113, Seattle Other Japanese Abacus Math School (503) 520-1063 15188 NW Central Drive #219, Portland

Bring global diversity into your everyday cooking


ave you ever gotten lost at Uwajimaya wondering what to buy, staring at unfamiliar seasonings and funny shaped vegetables? For those people who want to begin cooking Asian dishes but don’t know how to get started, NuCulinary offers great practical cooking classes at the Bellevue and Renton Uwajimaya stores and NVC Memorial Hall. NuCulinary President Naomi Kakiuchi was born and grew up in Seattle with her big Asian family. After graduating Washington State University with a degree in nutrition and dietetics, she worked in the food sales business where she realized that she wanted to teach others the joys of cooking. “I feel that by building understanding of other peoples through culinary experiences, we contribute to the tolerance of others and hopefully a more peaceful world,” Naomi said. “Food is a bridge to peace.” NuCulinary has two more main instructors: Toby Kim and Hajime Sato. Toby is sous chef with Jerry Traunfeld at both Poppy on Seattle’s Capitol Hill and The Herbfarm. Hajime is owner/chef of Mashiko Japanese Restaurant in West Seattle, where he serves sustainable sushi. NuCulinary’s current focus is Asian cuisine such as Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. However, Naomi wants to expand to Africa and South/Central America in the future. Their classes are very practical. Most classes at Uwajimaya include a chef ’s tour of the store so that students can find and understand the ingredients. Their Everyday Asian Series classes at Renton Uwajimaya provide a one-pot dinner from a specific cuisine (i.e. Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian) and a bag of pantry staples for students to take home. Each student receives a 10% discount coupon for purchases at any of three Uwajimaya stores. So why not try their classes and bring global diversity into your everyday cooking?

NuCulinary | (206) 932-3855 6523 |

Many of the students love to eat Asian dishes and want to learn to make them at home. 21


Hokkaido by Steve Corless © Furano /© JNTO


apan is well known as a relatively small and very densely populated country. This is true; most of the 127 million people live in the coastal regions in an area roughly the size of California. About 75% of the country is forested and mountainous, limiting the land available for residential and other uses. But the archipelago stretches some 1,800 miles from Hokkaido in the north to the southernmost subtropical islands. A visit to Hokkaido reminds one of the geographical and historic diversity of the country. I like to describe Hokkaido as Japan’s Alaska. It has only been recently settled, boasts wide-open spaces and has plentiful seafood resources. Also, the people are hearty and embrace the weather and the outdoor activities the region offers. And yes, you can see Russia from Hokkaido — the Russian occupied (and claimed by Japan) Kuril Islands are visible from the eastern town of Nemuro. First-time visitors to Hokkaido are struck by the landscape and differences in scale compared to the rest of Japan. Sapporo Snow festival Small rice fields are rare in Hokkaido — traveling from the airport to SapPhoto ©Yasufumi Nishi/© JNTO poro, you will spot large farms and pastures, American-sized farm machinery and perhaps even a grain silo reminiscent of the American Midwest. Upon arrival in Sapporo, Hokkaido’s largest city, something else seems different — streets and

22 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

city blocks are laid out in a pattern similar to American towns. These similarities are not coincidental — Japan hired a number of Americans to assist with the agricultural and technical development of Hokkaido in the 19th Century, and the influences can still be seen. In fact, here you will find what is probably Japan’s only statue honoring an American — William Smith Clark. Clark established what would become Hokkaido University in the 1870s. Today his visage overlooks Sapporo from several locations Sapporo is Hokkaido’s capital and largest city. It is a new city, settled and developed following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Almost a polar opposite to a city such as Kyoto, Sapporo is young and its history is recent. It is known as the host of the 1972 Winter Olympics and the annual Snow Festival, which attracts 2 million visitors a year. Parks and open space in the city King Clab are plentiful, and in the winter the skiing is just minutes away. The cool climate is good for the appetite, and Sapporo is a great place to eat. Restaurants specializing in fresh crab from the cold northern waters are ubiquitous in Sapporo’s Susukino restaurant and entertainment district. This is where miso ramen was Sapporo Ramen

born, and ramen fans from around the country visit just to slurp the noodles at the Ramen Yokocho, a collection of ramen stands claiming to have the town’s most authentic Sapporo ramen. But my favorite Sapporo food experience is the “Genghis Khan” lamb barbeque at the 1,000seat Sapporo Brewery beerhall. Forty dollars buys you 100 minutes of all the grill-ityourself lamb and fresh beer you can handle. The historic port town of Otaru, a short drive or train ride from Sapporo, is an excellent day trip out of the city. Otaru Sapporo Beer Garden is an old fishing and trading Photo ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO village with well preserved architecture and the picturesque canals and restored brick warehouses used by seafood traders during Otaru’s herring fishing boom years. Otaru is well known as having some of the freshest sushi in the country, a reputation that is well deserved. Prior to the settlement of Hokkaido by ethnic Japanese from the main islands, Hokkaido and parts of northern Honshu were populated by the Ainu people, a culturally and racially distinct indigenous ethnic

group. Although today the Ainu population is small, there are places in Hokkaido where one can visit to learn more about the history, culture and art of the Ainu. The Shiraoi Ainu Museum near Noboribetsu south of Sapporo has an excellent museum that includes a reproduction of a traditional Ainu village. As in the rest of Japan, the train system in Hokkaido is excellent. But Hokkaido is best seen by car — the expressways and roads are the best in the country thanks to government-funded publicworks programs and a relatively small population compared to the rest of Japan. Before you go, pick up an international driver’s license, and once you get behind the wheel, just remember to drive on the wrong side of the road.

Photo ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO

Monkeys enjoy the hot springs in Hakodate Tropical Garden.

Steve Corless is an independent travel consultant

based in Seattle. Steve spent 15 years in Japan working in sales and marketing and as a US foreign service officer in Tokyo and Osaka. He lives in Lynnwood with his wife and daughter.

© Kanazawa City / JNTO 23

Japan on the Big Screen By Jessica Sattell hen you think of Japanese cinema, what kind of films spring to mind? Dramatic samurai stories and cuttingedge animation are embedded in the American popular consciousness, but recent releases show that movie-making in Japan can still be a bold, genre-busting experience. If a sci-fi action thriller or a dark romantic comedy sounds like something to get your inner movie


buff glued to the screen, these films are for you. It used to be a real challenge to find great Japanese flicks. These days, however, you don’t have to trek to a niche import video store to find great new films from Japan. Thanks to film distributors such as Viz Pictures, FUNimation and Shochiku Films, a wide variety of entertaining and award-winning movies from Japan are now widely available and winning vast numbers of

English-speaking fans. The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), which runs from late May through mid June, is featuring several films from Japan in its 2010 lineup. We picked the best of the best in the recent Japanese films that have been released in the US. There’s something for everyone in these eight films, from heartwarming hula dancers to stone cold scientific thrills and everything in between.

Sci-fi action 20th Century Boys I: Beginning of the End

© 1999, 2006, Naoki Urasawa, Studio Nuts / Shogakukan © 2008 “20th Century Boys” Film Partners

In an alternate reality of late 20th Century Japan, a group of elementary-school friends meet at a reunion and reminisce about their boyhood summers spent building forts and creating their own secret society. Eerily, the details of their memories of a prophetic picture book they wrote seem unnaturally close to recent world events and the workings of a suspicious religious cult led by a figure known as “Friend.”

Kenji (Toshiaki Karasawa) suspects that there’s a connection between his childhood games, his missing older sister’s work as a scientist and the alarming news that Friend is currying favor with the Japanese government. He sets out with friends Otcho (Etsushi Toyokawa) and Yukiji (Takako Tokiwa) to seek answers, but what they find goes deeper than any kind of childhood game.

20th Century Boys stays very faithful to its origins as a blockbuster manga in its dramatic camera angles and aggressive aesthetics. True to its name, the film weaves in characteristics of 20th Century Japanese cultural history, including drastic political shifts, bubble consumerism and the destruction of nuclear war. This psychological thriller will stay with you days after you watch the finishing credits.

20th Century Boys II: The Last Hope In 2015, 15 years after the conclusion of the first part of 20th Century Boys, Friend is still at large and more dangerously influential than ever. Kenji’s niece, Kanna (Airi Taira), is determined to continue her beloved uncle’s revolution against the cult leader’s brainwashing of the masses. Spunky teenage Kanna refuses to accept that the allies of Friend are unrelated to the increasingly gruesome string of murders in her own neighborhood and enlists the help of a © 1999, 2006, Naoki Urasawa, Studio Nuts/Shogakukan © 2009 “20th Century Boys” Film Partners

24 息吹 ibuki • may / june Winter 20092010

skeptical cop and her friends in the Tokyo underworld to bring justice to the victims of a corrupt government. Otcho (Etsushi Toyokawa) and Yukiji (Takako Tokiwa) reappear to lend a hand. This middle chapter of the three-part 20th Century Boys series gives the viewer even more essential clues to this puzzle of a narrative. The surprising conclusion to this heart-pounding series is set to arrive on US shores soon!

Lighthearted drama Hula Girls Nineteen sixty-five. A time of transition, revolution and change. The elders of a sleepy mining town in northern Japan see no other way of life than toiling in the coal mines, the main source of prosperity for their sleepy lives. The younger generation is itching for what’s beyond the dirt and dust, especially with the news of massive layoffs at the mines. The only hope to save the town is to attract tourists through a gimmicky upstart Hawaiian cultural center and resort, despite the overwhelming skepticism toward the idea of building a tropical paradise in the middle of snowy mountains. Tensions ensue as the traditionalist miners are convinced that a tourist center would steal jobs, not create them. Enter Madoka Hirayama (Yasuko Matsuyuki), a down-and-out big city dancer with a penchant for hula, who reluctantly accepts the task of training the daughters of the local miners as the center’s main attraction. High school students Kimiko (Yu Aoi) and Sanae (Eri Tokunaga) energetically volunteer and quickly excel in the art of hula despite the fact that they must keep their dancing a secret from their strict, mine-supporting parents. As the amateur hula troupe attracts more members and the two strong-willed girls excel, will they be able to save the town and the livelihoods of those they love? Hula Girls is based on the true story of the Joban Coal Mine community and the birth of the Joban Hawaiian Center (now known as Spa Resort Hawaiians). This heartwarming, engaging story is a great family flick. It’s no wonder this movie won the Japan Film Award (the Japanese equivalent of the Academy Awards) for Best Picture!

© Cine Qua Non 2006, in association with HAPPINET and S·D·P Music courtesy of Sony Music Publishing

Maiko Haaaan!!! Kimihiko Onizuka (Sadao Abe) is your typical, albeit eccentric, office drone. The one thing that sets him apart is his all-consuming obsession with geisha and maiko (geisha apprentices). His girlfriend, Fujiko (Kou Shibasaki), is madly in love with him, but her affection is one-sided; as soon as Kimihiko accepts a transfer to a dream job in Kyoto, he mercilessly dumps her and sets his sights on a glamorous new life spent relaxing with saké while viewing geisha performances. Kimihiko’s eager plans to cavort with those of the floating world come to a screeching halt because he has no one to formally introduce him to the geisha community, as per custom. His last hope, in true salaryman samurai style, is to desperately prove his worth to his company in order to convince the geisha-pro CEO to let him come along on his teahouse visits. Meanwhile, the heartbroken Fujiko stumbles her way to Kyoto and enrolls in a geisha training school in an angry attempt to win Kimihiko back. As she soon debuts as the hottest maiko on the scene, she finds that she may have some competition among her fellow geisha as her former beau is causing many hearts to flutter. This zany, colorful movie will keep you in hysterics between Abe’s Jerry Lewisesque character acting and Shibasaki’s exaggerated physical comedy. The beautiful cinematography adds a dimension of reality to a Japanese subculture that few understand and even fewer see.

© 2007 Maiko Haaaan!!! Film Partners

Slapstick comedy 25

Adventure romance Ichi

Ichi is an updated retelling of the classic Japanese tale Zatoichi The Blind Samurai with the protagonist cast as a beautiful young woman. Ichi (Haruka Ayase), a blind shamisen player, roams the rolling countryside in search of a certain someone. In her travels, she is often threatened but never harmed as she is enchantingly swift with her sword. After saving the life of bumbling samurai Toma Fujihira (Takao Osawa), Ichi finds herself caught in the middle of a turf war between the keepers of a sleepy inn town and a group of outlaw thugs. Toma grows increasingly enthralled with Ichi’s mysterious talent and dedication to her mission, but backs away as she learns that the thug leader may have the secret she has been searching for. Beauty is found at every turn in this bewitching tale. The sword work is wonderfully choreographed and gracefully executed so that even though this is a work of fantasy in storyline, it is quite realistic in action. Ayase steals the screen in her graceful take on a classic Japanese role. © 2008 ICHI Film Partners. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Shinobi: Heart under Blade Star-crossed lovers from rival ninja clans are pitted against each other as Tokugawa Ieyasu decides it’s better to have these magical fighters at each other’s throats than his. But the love of Gennosuke ( Joe Odagiri) and Oboro (Yukie Nakama) is not as easy to manipulate as Romeo and Juliet’s. While the Bard chose a dramatic double-suicide to make his point, Shinobi director Ten Shimoyama opts to have his lovers kick butt and take names. As Gennosuke and Oboro dispatch their enemies one after the other in colorful, well-choreographed displays of martial arts mixed with magical powers, we sense that the two lovers will face off at some point and have to decide whether their love or the fate of their communities will sway their hearts. The ending has some twists that would make the Bard proud. It’s a fantastic story fused with classical tragic elements.

26 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

© 2008 Shinobi: Heart under Blade Film Partners. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Dark romantic comedy Happily Ever After

© 2007 HAPPILY EVER AFTER Film Partners.Film Partners

What does it mean to have a happy life? Oftentimes, one’s happiness is another’s distress. Sachie’s (Miki Nakatani) life is fairly unremarkable. Her mother abandoned her shortly after she was born and her father was arrested for fraud when she was a teenager. Now an adult, her one small source of happiness is her boyfriend Isao (Hiroshi Abe). Much to the chagrin of her friends, Isao gambles away Sachie’s meager savings and

trashes her shoddy apartment at the slightest provocation. He seems like the lover from hell, but for some reason Sachie continues to shower him with homemade meals and her undying affection. After Isao betrays her trust for the seemingly millionth time, Sachie eventually hits a breaking point as he continues his reckless behavior. She gives him an ultimatum: straighten

up or their relationship is over. But before Isao can prove himself, Sachie is put in danger. The couple’s history is relayed against the backdrop of Isao’s panic, and Sachie’s friends finally begin to realize that perhaps he really is good enough for her. This story, based on a best-selling comic loved throughout Japan, tackles the questions of why we love and what we will do for it.


Answer a short 10 question survey and be entered to win Japanese film DVDs! Visit:

A. “Ichi” x 1

B. “Hula Girl” x 2

C. “Maiko Haaaan!!!” x 2

*One entry per household/name/email. To be qualified to enter you must include your name, address and telephone number for winner notification purposes. A name will be drawn at random and will be notified via email. The prizes will be shipped to the winner in July. Please visit our website for detailed information: 27



By Julian Waters

CAR Itasha — Japan’s Otaku Car Fetish When obsessed manga and anime lovers blend with auto enthusiasts, itasha is the result. Itasha (痛車), which literally translates to “pain-mobile,” is the term coined when Japanese auto enthusiasts cover their cars with images, most often characters from anime, manga and video games. Why the name “painmobile?” Itasha fans know this kind of car does not attract girls, but they can not resist the temptation anyway — painful! The trend began a few years ago and is showing no sign of slowing down. The cars are sometimes painted, but most often are covered with high-resolution vinyl decals. A high-quality weatherproof vinyl decal that’s 500 sq. millimeters typically costs $1,2001,500 in Japan. Obayashi Factory of Tokyo, which customizes autos, told us that the trend is steadily growing and has expanded to motorcycles and bicycles. The industry has grown to the point where “mooks” (magazine/books) are being printed showcasing extensively customized vehicles. Some car owners will actually hire professional artists to recreate their favorite character. It seems the itasha fanatics have endless imaginations when © Obayashi Factory it comes to tricking out

DRINK Morimoto Soba Ale Soba is Japanese buckwheat that is usually eaten in noodle form. Rogue Ale, a microbrewery in Ashland, Oregon, produces and distributes an ale brewed from soba: Morimoto Soba Ale. When Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame approached Rogue Ales with the idea of making a beer with buckwheat, or soba, Rogue jumped at the chance. While the initial brew released in 2003 was meant for the Japan market, several years ago, the brewery began distributing it in the US. The soba ale won a gold medal in the 2005 World Beer Championships. The folks at Rogue point out that soba is not a grain, but a © Rogue member of the rhubarb family, which means it’s practically fat free. For more information about this unique beer, visit

MUSIC Japan Nite Japan Nite is the name of the US tour of Japanese indie bands that is held every spring. In 2010, five bands joined the tour and performed in NY, Cambridge, Chicago, San Fransisco, LA ©Japan Nite and Seattle. The Seattle show was performed at the High Drive in Fremont. Missed this year’s concerts? Keep your eyes on their myspace page for next year’s schedule:

PLACE Fuurin-Oka, A touch of Japanese Serenity on Bainbridge Island Founded in 1999, Fuurin-Oka is a Japanese guesthouse built on beautiful Bainbridge Island. The decor and furnishings complete with shoji screens, tatami mats and traditional Japanese soaking tub offer a peaceful atmosphere. Fuurin-Oka was originally built by Bainbridge Island Architect Ron Konzak, who passed away last year, and his wife Mickey Molnaire. Ron and Mickey had a fondness for Japan and decided to build a ryokan guesthouse in their backyard. Current owner Ann Borwick purchased the house in 2004 and after a few modifications, has been running the guesthouse since. Visitors in the summer and fall months can wander around the small orchard and help themselves to quince, figs, pears and champagne grapes. Due to the fragile decor and furnishing, Fuurin28 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

© Furin-Oka © Fuurin-Oka

Oka is an adult only guesthouse. The cost is $185, which includes an American-style organic breakfast and all taxes and fees. More information can be found on their website:

MUSIC Tokyo Unleashes Miyavi Exploding on the American scene via Tokyo, Miyavi is the hottest Japanese rock artist to tour the US this year. Looking like an anime character brought to life, Miyavi is as exciting to see as he is to listen to, and that is saying a lot. He is an artist who has an incredible presence both on stage and behind the camera. There is no denying that Miyavi is a phenomenal guitarist, while often displaying the sickest rhythm guitar slapping ever seen. His hit single “Survive” is climbing the Japanese charts and features solid riffs and a tight tempo that yields an amazing track. Filled with raw talent, his unique style and adventurous approach to music make him a must-see in concert, a view which is being echoed repeatedly as his tour sells out all over the world.

Miyavi spent a few minutes with IBUKI magazine for an exclusive interview! Interviewed by English Cartier. IBUKI: Where do you call home now? Miyavi

TOKYO the static city of Japan.

IBUKI: When did you realize that making music was your destiny? was there a point in your life when you knew that “this is it”? Miyavi

The moment I touched the guitar for the first time.

IBUKI: When did you buy your first guitar and do you remember the feeling you had at that moment? Miyavi

Yeah, I was like... wow! I can see myself on stage with the spotlight shining on me in front of a huge crowd.

IBUKI: Fans have seen your videos on YouTube such as Selfish Love and others where you slap your guitar like a drummer without missing a beat. Do you play the drums or other instruments? Miyavi

Sometimes I play the drum. but NOT professional. I used to play the SHAMISEN (Japanese traditional guitar) just a lil bit.

IBUKI: I read that your NEO TOKYO SAMURAI BLACK WORLD TOUR is a huge success and the fans are really feeling you. I am sure you will have the same reception here in Seattle and Portland. Are you at all surprised with the love and outstanding support that fans outside of Japan are giving you on your tour? Miyavi

Definitely, its completely amazing indeed you know. When I first started receiving all these responses, I couldn’t even believe that there were already so many fan bases all over the world. and now I feel more responsible as an artist from Japan.

IBUKI: Is this your longest tour so far, in terms of the number of cities you will have played and what will be the count when you are done? Miyavi

Yup, but, sorry I don’t know the exact number. Anyway there is only one thing i can say “I ROCK OUT EVERY CITY!”

IBUKI: You have a very cool style, hair, clothes, makeup — It is something American fans seem to instantly be hooked on even before they hear you tear into your guitar. Having such visual charisma on stage, you would seem to be a natural to acting. I know you have starred in the movie Oresama. Can fans look for you on the big screen any time in the near future? Miyavi

Of course. if there is a big sponsor (kiddin), an opportunity.

IBUKI: If you could name one Japanese artist and one American artist who you think you would enjoy working with in the future, who would that be? Miyavi

YOSHIDA brothers & Fieldy (KORN)

IBUKI: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us! Miyavi

You are totally welcome, looking forward to letting you feel my music out there!

MIYAVI: NEO TOKYO SAMURAI BLACK WORLD TOUR 2010 Seattle, WA Event Date: Friday, June 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm Facility: Showbox at the Market Portland, OR Event Date: Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm Facility: Roseland Theater 29

Local News and Events EVENTS Saké-Food Pairing Event Presented by IBUKI

Fleeting Beauty: Japanese Woodblock Prints

Your quest for saké begins here

On display at Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM)

When: July 10th 2010, 2-4pm Where: Issian Japanese Stonegrill, 1618 N 45th St, Seattle, WA Admission: $32 Includes saké tasting, food and lecture. Call 206-575-6815 or Email to reserve your seats. (Do not contact the restaurant.)

When: Through July 4th 2010 Where: Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) in Volunteer Park

IBUKI presents its Saké-Food Pairing Event at the Japanese izakaya restaurant Issian. Learn the basics of saké with Brian Clark, saké specialist of Uwajimaya, and try up to 15 types of saké paired with Issian’s authentic izakaya dishes. For this event, we will also invite Japanese pâtissier Setsuko. Try her yummy desserts with premium saké. Learn more about saké and experience the wide array of food that saké can be enjoyed with. All attendees will be seated. For more information visit,

MIYAVI — NEO TOKYO SAMURAI BLACK WORLD TOUR 2010 Japanese rock star performs in Seattle and Portland When: June 18th 8pm (Seattle) June 19th 8pm (Portland) Where Showbox at the Market (Seattle) Roseland Theater (Portland) Great news for Visual-kei and J-rock lovers: World famous rock star Miyavi will be performing in Seattle and Portland in June. Don’t miss your chance to see one of Japan’s most popular artists!

NEWS The 4th International MANGA Award

SAAM is now exhibiting an exceptional collection of prints from Japan’s most renowned artists of ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world.” “Fleeting Beauty: Japanese Woodblock Prints” includes evocative works by the artists Harunobu, Utamaro, Hokusai, Hiroshige and more. More than sixty works from the Mary and Allan Kollar collection — many of which are promised gifts to the museum — represent the pulsating urban culture of Edo (Tokyo), Japan. Images of alluring women, dramatic kabuki actors and jewellike landscapes spotlight the stylish, lyrical and, at times, sensational swagger of Edo-period culture.

Business Luncheon with Jim Foster, Director of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Japan Japan relations in the “cloud”: a new partnership in building the Internet economy? When: May 14th, 12pm Where : Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, 201 3rd Ave #2200, Seattle. Admission: $25 for JAS Members, $35 for Non-Members (includes Japanese obento lunch, tea, coffee and water) Join this business luncheon with Jim Foster, director for corporate affairs for Microsoft in Tokyo, Japan, and a vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He recently led a coalition of 20 of the top global ICT companies in developing a white paper offering recommendations on steps Japan should take to realize the full potential of the emerging global Internet economy and calling for an Internet economy dialogue between the US and Japan.

Accepting entries until May 31st, 2010 The International MANGA Award was established to share Japanese pop culture and to help promote understanding of Japan. It was created to honor manga artists who have contributed to the promotion of manga overseas. The Golden Prize of the 4th International MANGA Award will be given to the best manga from all the entries, and three distinguished works will receive the Silver Prize. In addition, the Japan 30 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

Foundation will invite the prize winners to Japan to attend the award ceremony. They will also meet with Japanese manga artists and visit publishing companies in Japan. For more information, visit http:// Applications need to be sent to your local consulate office. In the Seattle and Portland areas, mail them to: Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle Culture and Information Section 601 Union Street, Suite #500, Seattle, WA 98101


Samurai Noodle — University District Popular ramen shop Samurai Noodle, located inside of Uwajimaya Village, has expanded to the University District. The new shop has most menu items from the original shop including their famous tonkotsu ramen. Their new location is much larger and serves cold Sapporo draft beer! Located at 4138 University Way NE, Seattle Tel: (206) 547-1774

Get IBUKI Magazine mailed to your home or office

$24/year (6 issues) Because so many IBUKI readers have requested subscriptions to IBUKI Magazine, subscriptions are now available for $18 per year. Subscribe now and the next issue will be mailed to your home or office. For more information on how to subscribe visit:

Tan-tan men with spicy sesame oil flavor

Dozo Café — Factoria, Bellevue New ramen restaurant near Factoria in Bellevue! Ramen, the Japanese style Chinese noodle that is very popular in Japan, has come to Factoria. Dozo Café is a collaboration of Japanese owner chef Taka and Chinese chef Lin, and together they serve authentic Japanese-style ramen. They make Soy-sauce Ramen is the most their homemade soup broth from typical Japanese style Ramen scratch using vegetables, meat, bones and spices — spending half a day to prepare. This labor results in clean yet flavorful soup. No MSG is used in their dishes. They have variety of ramen. A good dish to start with is their soy-sauce ramen, topped with homemade sliced barbecue pork, soy-sauceflavored egg, Japanese fish cake, spinach, marinated bamboo shoots and sprouts. This is the most common style of Japanese ramen. They also have miso ramen and tonkotsu ramen, which are also orthodox Japanese dishes. If you are in the mood for a spicy dish, give tan-tan men (担担麺) a try. The combination of sesame-oil-flavored soup and the pork topping is quite addictive. Chef Taka says tan-tan men is the most popular among his American patrons. Dozo Café is a must-try place for an Eastsider who wants to explore a mainstay of Japanese cuisine. Located at 3720 Factoria Blvd SE, Bellevue | Tel: (425) 644-8899


NEXT ISSUE ISSUE Look for ourNEXT March/April issue distributed at Sakura-Con andLook the Japan Cultural Festivalissue as well as most fine for our July / August distributed Japanese restaurants, stores stores and schools. at most fine Japanese restaurants, and schools.


32 息吹 ibuki • may / june 2010

IBUKI Magazine Vol.05 May & June 2010  
IBUKI Magazine Vol.05 May & June 2010  

Japaense food & lifestyle magazine - IBUKI Magazine provides a variety of information on Japan, including traditional and modern arts and th...