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We haven’t had a pun for a while, have we. Here it comes.

The Asahi Digital news site reports on a contest held in Saga Prefecture where participants test their palates by tasting seven types of sake at one table, then identifying them at another. And the name of the event? The Shummelier Contest (or Shummeliercon for short).

It’s another slurred-syllable pun, this time replacing the “so” of sommelier with “shu” (酒, the character for sake/alcohol) to produce a somewhat inebriated-sounding title.

The Saga Prefecture brewers’ association held the 38th edition of the contest on 26 August 2018, and 88 participants tested their palates by tasting seven types (honjōzō, junmai ginjō, etc.) of sake from the prefecture at one table, then identifying those types again at another table. They poured a small quantity of sake into a glass, checked the colour, then smelled and tasted to identify the sake and write down their answer before time ran out.

Some used their own comparison tables, some just took notes, some stood at the second table muttering “I don’t know…” and shaking their heads while tasting again and again. Yūichi Nakao (53) from Saga city, taking part for the third time, said he tried evaluating the sake based on the flavours he likes, but this time was particularly difficult.

The top two competitors go on to a national competition in Tokyo in October.