On Friday, March 11, a massive earthquake, one of the largest in recorded history, struck northern Japan, triggering a devastatingtsunami that has affected millions of people. Over 3,000 people have lost their lives and thousands more have remained unaccounted. The destruction has been so extensive that millions of families have been displaced in search of water, food and shelter far from damaged nuclear reactors. Obviously, this has been a terrible tragedy, pulling at every one of our heartstrings with the innate desire to help, to give something that might make their lives easier. The people of Japan need humanitarian assistance – they need our assistance – to help overcome the devastation. This is why Gabriella andRyan Opaz of Catavino and I came up of the idea of hosting an event to support Japan, using Wine Blogging Wednesday as ur perfect vehicle. Lenn, the originator of WBW, was quick to support the idea, allowing us to pitch Wine Blog Wednesday #72: Helping Japan. As we want to Help Japan, then the theme for WBW #72 should be Japan-related and that is what will be done. The theme gives you two options, hopefully making it flexible enough that we will garner plenty of participation. First, you can drink and review a Sake, Japan’s iconic beverage. You will earn bonus points if you review multiple Sakés of different styles or types. You will also earn bonus points for pairing Saké with food. I would love to see lots of bloggers try some sake, to expand their palates, but I know that it can be difficult for some to obtain sake. Thus, the second option is that you can drink a wine that pairs well with Japanese cuisine. Japanese cuisine is very diverse, from sushi to sukiyaki, so there are many wines which will pair well with different dishes. Sparkling, white, red, rose and dessert wines will all pair with some Japanese dish. You’ll earn bonus points if you actuallly drink the wine with Japanese food. Saké, also known as nihonshu, is a beverage that I believe in taste, style and food compatibility most resembles wine. It is an incredibly diverse beverage with a wide range of styles and flavor profiles. You can find everything from Sparkling Saké to Koshu, aged Saké. Almost everyone should be able to find some type of Saké that will appeal to them. The traditional Saké toast is “Kanpai“, a rough equivalent to “cheers” though with a deeper meaning. This Japanese term literally translates as “empty or dry cup” though it really means “Let us drain our cups in friendship.” Saké is very much a social drink.
Where can you find Saké? First, there are four all-Saké stores in the U.S. where you can shop or order online. These include True Saké in San Francisco, Sakaya in New York City, Saké Nomi in Seattle, and The Sake Shop in Hawaii. Plus, your own local wine store may carry some Saké. If you want more information about Saké, then check out myPassionate Sake site. For those of you in Europe, the Opaz’ suggest contacting the Sake Education Council who is willing to help you source sake’s internationally. They also have a Facebook and Twitter page. I’ll note too that there is a new sake brewery in Norway, called Nøgne Ø, the first and only sake brewery in Europe. Plus, there is a British Sake Associationwhere you may be able to get some assistance. You have until Wednesday, April 6, 2011 to post your review. Please email me a link to your post at email@example.com. If you don’t have your own blog, put up your review as a comment on this blog, or email it to me and I will post it for you. Now, to help raise money for the people of Japan, you also need to place this link to the American Red Cross at the bottom of your WBW #72 post. That will allow your readers to donate directly to the Red Cross for this worthy cause. As you can see from the link, there is a specific way to donate to support the disaster relief in Japan. Please feel free to make your WBW post earlier than April 6 if it is ready, giving your readers more time to contribute. You could also post about this theme on your blog, alerting your readers to the upcoming charitable donation so that they can save their money until it is posted. Please help the people of Japan overcome the effects of this terrible tragedy.