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    Food, Unsolicited Advice

    Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Sake

    Guys, I’m obsessed with Japan (if you didn’t know that you can read about it here and here) so, WSET (Wine & Spirit Educational Trust) invited me to do their Sake level 1 course, but I’m an idiot and got the day mixed up. I’m so upset. I was so excited to learn about this (gluten free bitches!) Japanese Rice Wine.

    When I went to Japan, you could get sake in a can like you can get beer in London. It was so so incredible. While I wasn’t able to do that actual course, WSET was kind enough to show me the course materials and I learned soooooo much in such a short time:

    1. Sake is impossible to make without a special mold called Koji. They let the mold coat a portion of steamed white rice and then add the mold to water and yeast. The mold turns starch to sugar and the yeast eats the sugar and farts out co2. Then boom! Alcohol! Yeast is the answer to all alcohol. Without it, wine, beer, and other wobbly pops would just be different varieties of rotten food.
    2. Koji is a science. Do not try and grow your own on some old take away and brew your own sake. It will probably kill you.
    3. There are different kinds of premium Sake. The variations have to do with how much the rice is polished before it’s steamed and that is regulated by Japanese law. The best is 50% or less polishing ratio and called junmai daiginjo.

    Sake should be consumed young. YOLO peeps, drink the dranks while they’re fresh. A special occasion is that you woke up today literate enough to read this blog and have enough money to own a device you can read it on. That’s better off than most of the planet. Celebrate!

    But, if you have adult responsibilities (Sake is typically 15-17% alcohol) and can’t down a whole bottle on a whim, Sake will keep in your fridge for about a week. For reference, drinking bottle after bottle of sake in Tokyo will cause you to have a phone full of pictures like this in the morning:


    Store it upright and away from light (side note: olive oil is also damaged by light and should be optimally stored in cans).

    So, if you’re serious about sake, you can take the next WSET course in March (which I will hopefully get my shit together and go to) or if you want to fancy yourself a connoisseur of any other tipple, check out their course offerings:

    Two places I recommend in London to have some sake and sushi:


    Sexy Fish


    The Basic Girl’s Guide To: Tokyo Fun

    Tokyo is THE BEST. It’s like Alice in Wonderland all the time but with sushi! I highly recommend going during cherry blossom season (or Sakura in Japanese) because the streets are lined with pink flower trees and the cherry blossom theme is carried through restaurants, shops, hotels and transport. There is so much to cover (and I was actually only in Tokyo for 2 days), so enjoy part one of my Tokyo recommendations: the fun!

    Animal Cafes

    Ok, so I wanted to go to ALL of these. They have cat cafes, dog cafes, lizard and bird cafes… pretty much any animal you can think of. I’ve been to the cat café in London, and honestly, it’s kind of a let down. Cats are assholes so most of the time they avoid you and you just leave the café feeing rejected.

    Tokyo has a few bunny cafes and, since it was Easter Sunday, I went wearing rabbit ears. Nobody looked twice. I recommend going to Ms. Bunny in Roppongi, their bunnies are adorable and the focus is on them (not the tea, music etc). I had to wait about 10 minutes to get in, so try to book ahead to avoid disappointment. Also, a bonus with choosing Ms Bunny is that there’s a hedgehog café right underneath, so if you have a patient travelling partner you can hit them both up.

    It costs around 1300 yen (£8) to go without any extra snacks. Make sure you go with someone who also wants to hold the bunny because you’ll be charged for as many people as you bring, even if only one of you holds it. It’s also extra to hold the babies, but very much worth it. I bought the treats as well for 300 yen, but the first bunny I held wanted nothing to do with them. The second one ate a few, but I’m pretty sure these guys are fed all day, so the treats don’t really make a difference.



    This was actually a little disappointing for me. Everyone was dressed normally both times I went. Apparently the dress up day is Sunday, so if you’re going to go, plan for that. Otherwise, it’s a great spot for shopping, I’d compare it to Knightsbridge in London or 5th Avenue in New York.



    The Japanese pastime! I am a terrible singer and was wary of going to a karaoke bar because I didn’t want to offend the locals with my voice, as it’s often been described as a cat giving birth. But, it couldn’t have been more fun! At V2, we had our own little room but once we were done singing, moved to the larger room, which was essentially a nightclub. They had a bear taking pictures with everyone and this is the place I got the rabbit ears I proceeded to wear for the next three days. I went right down the rabbit hole on this one had had the absolute time of my life. If you’re in Japan and only do one super Japanese thing, this needs to be it.



    So, Shibuya, not just an integral part of the roll call song, but also Tokyo’s ‘Time Square’.  Generally I hate when people say that because it’s definitely not like Times Square.  Honestly, we just drove through Shibuya.  You see the big crossing.  I get it, it’s a busy street.  If you have limited time in Tokyo, I’d just go through it on your way to the Park Hyatt which is the Lost In Translation bar (we didn’t go because we went to the Grand Hyatt by accident, it was a whole thing), you’ll get the picture you want and are unlikely to get hit by a car.

    Robot Bar

    This is the greatest show I have ever seen. Robot Bar is essentially humans either dressed as robots or riding them while acting out a story in a relatively small room. We had front row seats and I nearly got nailed in the head by some kind of wing. It was amazing. Their sense of theatrics is second to none. Book your tickets ahead of time and get there early because there is a pretty big line. Don’t worry, there’s a robot band and drinks to keep you entertained while you wait for the show to start. Also, tell them it’s your birthday when you get the tickets (if it is) and they’ll give you a special surprise during the show!

    Finally, here are a few surprising things I found when I arrived:

    • The base temp for a room/taxi is around 26 degrees Celsius. Even the heated toilet seats are scorching (and yes, the toilets are as amazing as legend suggests). I was too hot. All. The. Time.
    • The taxi’s doors spring open automatically and close that way, so don’t continually try to slam them as I did. They also have lace seat covers. Uber exists, but there are hardly any drivers.
    • The way to say Happy Birthday is tanjobi. I repeatedly said that and pointed at myself for the whole weekend (it was actually my birthday) and I made best friends with everyone. Kawaii is cute which also made me a lot of friends. And of course, Arigato.
    • Hardly anyone wears leopard print.
    • Their convenience stores are AMAZING. It was how I imagine Pixar would make future 7/11s  like.